The UK’s Landmark Effort to Stop Dirty Money Flowing Into its Real Estate Sector may be Working

Matthew Collin, David Szakonyi, Florian Hollenbach

Research output: Other contributionNet publication - Internet publicationResearch


Leading up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.K.s real estate sector had built up an unsavory reputation for being a great place to stash your illicit cash. Government risk assessments repeatedly flagged the sector as being a high risk for financial crime, in part due to improper implementation of due diligence checks by estate agents. Investigations by civil society organizations have revealed that a sizable chunk of high-value British real estate is owned by oligarchs, autocrats, and heads of government from around the worldtypically through shell companies set up in tax havens with the explicit purpose of hiding their identity from the public. According to recent research, up to 19 billion may have flowed into U.K. property just to avoid new rules aimed at curbing cross-border tax evasion. Over time, the capital would go on to earn the nickname Londongrad thanks to the sheer number of Russian oligarchs that chose to move their money there, few questions asked.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date21 Mar 2023
Place of PublicationWashington, DC
PublisherThe Brookings Institution
Publication statusPublished - 21 Mar 2023

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