On 12 May 2016, Kate McMahon appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire programme to discuss the Global Anti-Corruption Summit 2016. Due to Kate’s vast experience in combating fraud, she was invited to speak alongside William Patey, the former British Ambassador to Afghanistan and Robert Barrington from Transparency International. She discussed how many large scale international frauds have an element that occurs in the UK.
The summit, hosted by David Cameron in London, aimed to step up global action to expose, punish and drive out corruption. The summit seeks to galvanise a global response to tackle corruption as well as agreeing a package of actions to tackle corruption across the board – including a global plan to help recover stolen assets. It was the first summit of its kind, bringing together world leaders, business and civil society to agree a package of practical steps to expose corruption, punish the perpetrators and drive out the culture of corruption wherever it exists.
One of the actions announced by David Cameron was that for the first time, foreign companies that already hold or want to buy property in the UK will have to reveal who really owns it. 40 jurisdictions will automatically share this beneficial ownership information and 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.
The UK is a very attractive country to invest money in. It is considered safe and with excellent rules and regulations so people feel their money will be safe here. British property purchases worth more than £180 million were investigated in 2015 as the likely proceeds of corruption and almost all bought through offshore companies. Two-thirds of the purchases were made by companies registered in British Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies such as Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and the British Virgin Islands. Considering current London property prices, the effect of this on the average Londoner is not insignificant. Kate discusses how we make those people more accountable and identifiable.