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A new Register of Overseas Entities came into force on August 1st to help put a stop to criminals using UK property for money laundering.

Any foreign company wishing to invest in UK property will have to identify its beneficial owner and present verified information to Companies House before being able to buy, sell, transfer or lease land, or create a charge against the land in the UK.

Overseas entities that already own land in the UK have 6 months to register their beneficial owners or managing officers.

The Register applies retrospectively to property bought since January 1999 in England and Wales, and since December 2014 in Scotland. Any foreign companies that refuse to reveal the true owner of their property will face sale restrictions and could receive sanctions including fines of up to £2,500 per day or a prison sentence of up to 5 years.

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