The Treasury Select Committee of MPs has announced an inquiry into ‘economic crime’ - including the possibility that overseas-owned UK homes could be used as shields for money laundering.
Committee chair Nicky Morgan MP says anti-money laundering and sanctions will form one strand of her committee’s investigations.
“It has been claimed that the UK, particularly the London property market, is becoming a destination of choice to launder the proceeds of overseas crime and corruption – so-called ‘dirty money’” explains Morgan.
She says one estimate suggests that up to £4.4 billion worth of UK properties may have been bought with what she calls “suspicious wealth.”
In addition, the committee will look at economic crime at the consumer level, including fraud and scams; the Office for National Statistics has estimated that there were 3.2m consumer fraud incidents for the year ending September 2017.
Morgan’s committee will soon set out a timetable for its deliberations, which will include hearing oral evidence from industry figures.
Select committees of this type usually investigate issues ahead of formal legislation being put to Parliament by government; this was the case, for example, with the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee which last week gave its views on measures that it would like to see in the forthcoming Tenants’ Fees Bill covering letting agents’ charges to tenants, and the size of private rental deposits.