The United Kingdom Monday enacted legislation requiring all overseas entities to disclose their registered and beneficial owners.
The provsion, part of the Economic Crime Act of 2022, requires all overseas businesses to list their owner and financial beneficiaries in a national registry. The act is part of an effort to stop the flow of illicit Russian funds into the UK following Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Officials hope that Russian oligarchs will be unable to use secretive companies to hide their wealth and assets in the UK. In a statement, Business Minister Lord Callanan declared:
We have been clear that the UK is a place for legitimate business only, and to ensure we are free of corrupt elites with suspicious wealth, we need to know who owns what. By getting this first of its kind register up and running at breakneck speed, we are lifting the curtain and cracking down on those criminals attempting to hide their illicitly obtained wealth.
Overseas businesses which already operate or own land in the UK that are within the scope of the register will have six months to comply with the new law by identifying their beneficial owner to the Companies House branch of the government. Overseas businesses which do not participate in the registry could face international sanctions, including fines of 2,500 British pounds (3,043 USD) per day or five years in prison.