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Society welcomes economic crime measures

By Michael Cross >>

(15 March 2022)

News that the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act has received Royal Assent was today welcomed by the Law Society. The legislation was introduced to parliament only two weeks ago.

‘We understand the act needed to be brought in quickly, given the recent events in Ukraine,’ Society president I Stephanie Boyce said. ‘During the act’s passage through parliament we highlighted ways to strengthen the legislation and address potential gaps with existing regimes. Further improvements should be possible via implementation of the legislation and related workstreams.’

The act will create a Register of Overseas Entities, requiring beneficial owners of UK property to reveal their identities. Companies House will now begin work to implement the register as quickly as possible, working with the UK’s three land registries, the government said. Any foreign company selling properties between 28 February and the full implementation of the register will also be required to submit their details at the point of sale.

Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the register would be the first of its kind in the world and ‘have an immediate dissuasive effect on oligarchs attempting to hide their ill-gotten gains’.

Other reforms will remove barriers to the use of unexplained wealth orders (UWOs). They include protecting law enforcement agencies from adverse legal costs if they act reasonably in a case that is ultimately unsuccessful.

(Courtesy: Tha Law Society Gazette)