Charles Delingpole: “Companies House overhaul is crucial to fighting money laundering the UK”

by Charles Delingpole, CEO of anti-money laundering platform ComplyAdvantage

The UK is set to modify its official corporate register in 170 years following mounting press that criminals around the world are using the registrar of companies to money launder through shell companies. Companies House will gain more power to check information and the identities of people setting up businesses, as well as the individuals who oversee them.

The action is a response to relentless criticism about the dangerous limitations of Companies House. As it currently stands, the UK’s registry of more than 4m companies does not have any means to verify even basic details of the companies on the register. This makes it susceptible to abuse by criminals, scammers and kleptocrats by given them the ability to set up UK businesses without any rigorous due diligence and to use them to launder their ill gotten gains.

Without a doubt the provision of resources to Companies House to help verify and validate information is essential to make it a productive part of the UK’s infrastructure to combat financial crime.

Having a corporate register which regulated institutions and law enforcement can rely on for factual data on ownership and control of businesses is a core part of meaningful due diligence, and at present Companies House is not fulfilling that role. Perhaps more dangerously, many assume that it is currently entirely trustworthy.

If the appropriate resources are allocated and used effectively it could move the needle on the statistics in this country. The UK has the infamous reputation of being the world’s biggest money laundering hub, a problem that must be addressed. We lead the world in RegTech -which means we’ve got the technological capability to hold criminals to account. By overhauling Companies House , we will also gain the necessary reinforcements to fight the long standing battle against money laundering on our shores – and to so with greater success.

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