Crackdown on abuse of Scottish partnerships for money laundering

The government is to take action on the abuse of Scottish limited partnerships (SLPs) with a package of measures designed to introduce more stringent checks and greater transparency, including closer monitoring by Companies House

The move follows a consultation on SLPS and limited partnerships (LPs) which ran from April to July and looked at ways to strengthen the oversight regime to reduce the ability of criminals to use these as a way of laundering money.

New filing requirements for all LPs will make them more transparent with their information, preventing their abuse while enabling private equity and pensions industry to continue to use them.

The key proposals are that those registering LPs must demonstrate they are registered with an official anti-money laundering supervised agent, such as an accountant or a lawyer, or an overseas equivalent.

The LP must demonstrate an ongoing link to the UK, for example by keeping its principal place of business in the UK.

All LPs must submit a confirmation statement at least every 12 months to Companies House to ensure their information is accurate and up to date.

In addition, Companies House will be given powers to strike off dissolved LPs and LPs which are not carrying on business.

The proposed reforms will apply to all LPs in the UK. In addition to requirements that are in place for Scotland, the reforms will also include new reporting requirements for LPs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This will confirm that the information they have placed on the register is up to date and correct.

Last year, the government introduced laws requiring SLPs to report their beneficial owner and make their ownership structure more transparent, which has seen an 80% reduction in the number registered.

Lord Duncan, UK government minister, said: ‘This latest package will deliver greater transparency and more stringent checks. It builds on measures we’ve already brought in to close loopholes in their use while ensuring legitimate companies can continue to choose SLPs as a way to invest in the UK.’

The announcement comes ahead of a broader package of reforms to Companies House, which the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy says it plans to consult on in the new year.

Consultation outcome Limited partnerships: reform of limited partnership law is here.

Report by Pat Sweet

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