SNP calls for action to tackle corporate money laundering

Written by Ailean Beaton on 6 August 2019 in News

Responding to a consultation on transparency, Alison Thewliss said it was time the UK Government took steps to tackle the "scale and extent of criminal activity" that can be enabled by British corporate law

Image credit: Alison Thewliss MP

The SNP has urged the UK Government to take urgent action to crack down on loopholes that can enable money laundering through the UK.

Alison Thewliss, the party’s Treasury Spokesperson, made the call as she submitted a response to an ongoing BEIS consultation on corporate transparency and register reform.

In her submission, the MP for Glasgow Central warns that UK company formation rules can allow illicit businesses to “funnel millions of pounds of dirty money” from all around the world using British companies.

Thewliss pointed to the ease with which individuals can set up companies with false or incomplete information without facing consequences, as well as the abuse of Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs).

Speaking on her submission, she said: “This consultation response is another step forward in the SNP’s campaign to clamp down on money laundering – the UK government must respond to the consultation without delay and set out the steps it will take to create a robust and transparent system of company registration and tackle the abuse of SLPs.”

The UK Government consultation calls for views on the ways that Companies House – the UK’s official registrar of corporate entities – could be improved to avoid exploitation.

She suggested there should be greater scrutiny on the identity of those registering new companies, saying it was “baffling” how little documentation was currently required.

Alongside a call for greater scrutiny within Companies House, Thewliss drew attention to the widespread abuse of SLPs, over the degree of secrecy they provide to owners.

Thewliss said of the companies: “SLPs have been used for years to funnel millions of pounds of dirty money created by illicit business activities – enabled, in no small part, by the lack of proper checks by Companies House”.

Calling on the government to ensure the consultation brings tougher enforcement, Thewliss said: “It is time the Tories sat up and took stock of the scale and extent of criminal activity linked to the lack of proper checks by Companies House and abuse of SLPs.

“Only by doing so can they put forward a practical and effective solution that will adequately tackle the problem”

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