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.