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Apr 25, 2020

Smash and Grab – The UK’s Money Laundering Machine

Posted by in categories: business, economics, government

Download the full report here.

In 2017, Bellingcat and Transparency International UK published their joint report, “Offshore in the UK”, describing the phenomenon of Scottish Limited Partnerships (“SLPs”) and their use as a mechanism in global money laundering scandals and a range of illicit activities. Since then, SLPs have continued to be implicated in further scandals, perhaps most notably the Azerbaijani Laundromat, a scheme where $2.9 billion was laundered through UK companies.

In the same year, SLPs became obliged to register their Person of Significant Control at Companies House, and the boom in registrations ended. The government subsequently ran a public consultation into limited partnerships, and published its conclusions in December 2018. Currently, SLP registrations are at their lowest level since 2010. Nevertheless, a lack of regulation allowed thousands of opaquely owned partnerships, typically with no tangible link to the Uk, to flourish over a seven year period. We do not have the details of the business activities of these SLPs, who controlled them, or who their true beneficial owners are.

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