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COMPANIES HOUSE has not been set any targets by the government for cracking down on corruption for the new financial year, Labour said today.
The body, which registers company information and makes the data available to the public, has come under scrutiny over recent years for being a “black hole” of fraudulent business activity.
Companies House is exempt from EU anti-money laundering regulations such as carrying out ID checks for anyone wanting to form a company.
Individuals from anywhere in the world who want to register new companies in Britain can apply to Companies House by only having to state addresses and naming the firms’ owners.
Fraudulent registration of a company, office or individual can be reported to Companies House but it has no investigatory powers.
A total of 766 firms involved in 52 cases of money laundering and corruption amounting to £80 billion from at least 13 countries were identified by Transparency International UK in 2017.
Shadow Treasury minister Anneliese Dodds said it was “astonishing” that no mention of targets for reducing fraud was made by Companies House for 2019-20.
“Despite crooks and criminals using the UK’s company registration system, there is no reflection of this in the priorities set today for Companies House,” she said.
“It appears that only a tiny fraction of company registrations are subject to due diligence by Companies House.
“And the only person to have been prosecuted for registering a fraudulent company actually did so to highlight how open to abuse the current system is.”
Whistleblower Kevin Brewer had registered a company under the name of now Lib Dem leader Vince Cable to show up the loophole.
Last year he was fined £1,602 and ordered to pay more than £10,000 in costs after pleading guilty to providing false information on the company register.
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