UK: Draft Legislation For Public Register Of Beneficial Owners Of Entities Abroad

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The UK government has published draft legislation to initiate a public register of beneficial owners of entities abroad which hold UK property.

Moreover, foreign businesses owning UK properties will be required to reveal their ultimate owners, under the Register of Overseas Entities Bill. Following this, individuals who try to lease or sell property without first publicly declaring its beneficial owner will be liable to an unlimited fine and also a 5-year prison sentence, under the new Bill.

Overall, the new Bill has been mostly welcomed with open arms by people seeking transparency in business. The Bill considers two main methods of constraint – restrictions on the Overseas Entity’s ability to obtain and dispose of property within the UK and criminal liability for breach.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is seeking opinions on the draft Bill and following this, the consultation closes on Monday the 17th of September 2018 at 5pm. According to sources, the government wishes to implement the Register as of 2021.