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MP's Commons motion wants action on From Russia With Cash

An MP has tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the Land Registry to require greater transparency for overseas company purchases of property in London. 

Mark Durkan, the Social Democratic and Labour Party MP for Foyle (Derry City), has tabled this motion:

“That this House notes the recent screening of From Russia with Cash on Channel 4; expresses its concern that the proceeds of corruption are being laundered through the London property market via the use of anonymous offshore companies; and recommends that corporate transparency become a Land Registry requirement so that any foreign company intending to hold a property title in the UK is held to the same standards of transparency required of UK registered companies, so preventing London or other locations from becoming a safe haven for the corrupt.”


The motion has the support of a wide range of MPs from many parties, including figures such as Peter Bottomley from the Conservatives, Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, Scottish National Party guru Alex Salmond, and a Labour MP campaigning to become the party’s London mayoral candidate for next year, David Lammy.

Five estate agencies were named in the Channel 4 programme, From Russia With Cash -  Winkworth, Marsh & Parsons, Domus Nova, Chard and Bective Leslie Marsh. 

The show followed a ‘politician’ - supposed to be a Russian government minister - to see how agents reacted to a plan to use millions of pounds of stolen money to purchase high end property in the capital. 

So far the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the National Association of Estate Agents have announced they are to hold separate investigations into the allegations made in the programme.

Early Day Motions are rarely debated on the floor of Parliament, but are used as devices to raise publicity about issues.

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    • 16 July 2015 12:05 PM

    Surely transparency should be of paramount importance anyway, quite shocking that a pretty simple set-up may have fooled some very high-profile estate agencies. Very interested in how this story will develop.

  • Neil Briggs

    Sounds sensible. But, as Tom quite rightly points out, why wasn't this introduced before? It's taken a controversial and revealing programme, besmirching the name of a number of agents, to lead to decisive action being taken. It's the right move, but it should have been done earlier.

  • Tim Gorgulu

    Yes, glad to see action being taken. But I also agree with the consensus that something should have been done much sooner. If this had been done before, we might not have seen the issues raised in the programme coming to fruition.

  • icon

    This story ain't going away any time soon, is it? Wonder if any of the other agents will come out with 'statements' on it.

  • Karl Knipe

    No, John, it looks set to run and run. And so it should. Standards still need to be raised in the industry, so the sort of underhand, greed-fuelled behaviour that was seen in the programme needs to be called out and clamped down on. They need to be made an example of so other agents don't make the same mistake in the future.

    Some of the agents involved might think they're being singled out or criticised too harshly for something only a few individuals took part in. While I have some sympathy for that, that doesn't mean the agents involved should be admonished of all blame. They should be coming down like a ton of bricks on the staff members involved to show they're serious about tackling this sort of thing and keeping standards high.


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