PM warns against cancer of dirty property money
The Prime Minister called for the proper exchanging of tax information across the globe and transparency when it comes to ownership to deal with “this cancer of corruption”.
In the speech the Prime Minister said that properties in the UK – and London in particular – “are being bought by people overseas through anonymous shell companies, some with plundered or laundered cash”.
Cameron is currently leading a trade delegation to Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia this week with the remit of boosting UK trade and investment.
He said: “I want Britain to be the most open country in the world for investment. But I want to ensure that all this money is clean money.
“There is no place for dirty money in Britain. Indeed, there should no place for dirty money anywhere. “
Over 100,000 property titles are registered to overseas companies, while more than 26,000 in London are owned by offshore firms.
In a Q&A with journalists after the speech Cameron added: “Transparency can help us root out this cancer of corruption.
“There is a lot of plundering of countries that takes place; of mineral resources that take place.
“That money is not just a problem for African countries… because our markets and our banking institutions are being used.”
Cameron ruled out raising taxes for foreign buyers across the board however.
He said: “I would like to answer [corruption] with transparency rather than putting up taxes because when you put up taxes that punishes the innocent as well as the guilty.”
He added: “You’ve got to have the proper exchange of tax information and have more openness of ownership.
“For those who say this won’t work until everyone takes part we’ve got to start somewhere.
“A few years ago people thought that overseas territories will never get involved in this agenda.”