New proposals from the Government have just announced that all business directors must now verify their identities with Companies House, in a bid to improve corporate transparency. Changes outlined by the Government will seek to address “many weaknesses” which currently leave the UK’s company registration system vulnerable to abuse for financial crime.
Just under 1,000 UK shell companies were discovered in 89 corruption and money laundering cases recently, amounting to around £137 billion globally in potential economic damage.
Cheshire Accountants Afford Bond, reported that: “The new proposals include identity verification checks for all directors, as well as people with significant control and those filing information on behalf of the business. This should already be standard procedure but it’s not.”
Companies House will also require evidence of checks carried out by regulated professional service providers submitting information on behalf of clients as well as giving Companies House the power to investigate false information.
Several regulatory bodies have said that after years of campaigning for major reform to Companies House and greater corporate transparency in the UK, it is heartening to see many of their recommendations taken on board.
It is thought that UK companies have been open to abuse by criminals for far too long for the sole purpose of laundering the proceeds of crime and corruption. These welcome changes are a significant step forward in tackling Britain’s role as a global hub and will act as a major deterent for crime.
If you need help submitting business identities to Companies House, please contact us on Nantwich Accountants T: 01270 623731 or Wilmslow Accountants T: 01625 416380.