Press release

PM hosts major summit as part of global drive to expose, punish and drive out corruption

Prime Minister David Cameron to announce that foreign companies that own property in the UK will be forced to make public who really owns them.

  • for the first time, foreign companies that already hold or want to buy property in the UK will be forced to reveal who really owns them
  • 40 jurisdictions, including a number of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies with major financial centres will automatically share beneficial ownership information
  • the UK will host the first ever International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre in London to strengthen cross-border investigations

The PM will announce today (19 May 2016) that any foreign company that wants to buy UK property or bid for central government contracts here will have to join a new public register of beneficial ownership information before they can do so. This will be the first register of its kind anywhere in the world.

Crucially, it will include companies who already own property in the UK, not just those wishing to buy. Foreign companies own around 100,000 properties in England and Wales. Over 44,000 of these are in London.

The new register for foreign companies will mean corrupt individuals and countries will no longer be able to move, launder and hide illicit funds through London’s property market, and will not benefit from our public funds.

The summit will also see Nigeria, Afghanistan, Italy, Jordan and Argentina commit to taking the initial step towards similar action.

Speaking on the day of the summit, the Prime Minister said:

The evil of corruption reaches into every corner of the world. It lies at the heart of the most urgent problems we face – from economic uncertainty, to endemic poverty, to the ever-present threat of radicalisation and extremism.

A global problem needs a truly global solution. It needs an unprecedented, courageous commitment from world leaders to stand united, to speak into the silence, and to demand change.

That is why I am hosting this summit. Today is just the start of a more co-ordinated, ambitious global effort to defeat corruption.

In other significant milestones announced today:

  • France, the Netherlands, Nigeria and Afghanistan will follow the UK’s lead and commit to launch their own public registers of true company ownership, while Australia, New Zealand, Jordan, Indonesia, Ireland and Georgia will agree to take the initial steps towards making similar arrangements. The UK will launch its own fully public register next month – the first G20 country to do so.
  • 40 jurisdictions, including a number of Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies with major financial centres have signed up to a ground-breaking international deal to automatically share their beneficial ownership registers with other countries. For the first time, police and law enforcement will be able to see exactly who really owns and controls every company incorporated in these jurisdictions.
  • The UK will create the world’s first ever International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre, hosted in London, in partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland and Interpol. Experts, including from the National Crime Agency, will provide international co-ordination and support to help law enforcement agencies and prosecutors work together across borders to investigate and punish corrupt elites and recover stolen assets.

A collection of essays on the fight against corruption will be published on the day of the Summit. This includes a foreword from the Prime Minister and essays from international experts, academics, authors, and former and current world leaders.

Further information

The Anti-Corruption Summit brings together a unique coalition of governments, businesses, civil society, law enforcement, sports committees and international organisations to step up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption wherever it exists.

The first ever global declaration against corruption will be published, committing all countries at the summit to work together to tackle it. A communique and a series of individual national statements will set out a significant number of concrete steps that countries have pledged to take to tackle corruption and make it a genuine global priority.

Published 12 May 2016