Great article from the Guardian highlighting the absurdity of, and the lack of proactive controls and enforcement on, the UK companies fraud scene…well worth a read.

On 5th July, the Guardian published an article that purports to show how you too can use British shell companies to cleanse your dirty money – in 5 easy steps –

  • Forget what you know, and forget cash and use an anonymous shell company – which are in “a damp-stained office block in an unfashionable London suburb, or a nondescript street in a northern city” and not a tropical island;
  • Set up a company – and use the UK, you don’t need the BVI etc. Setting up a company costs £12 and takes less than 24 hours.  The article points out that the UK is one of the easiest places anywhere to create a company (and probably cheaper too), so you’ll find the process pretty straightforward;
  • Make stuff up! It points out that (at present at least, and despite the PSC requirements) no one checks the accuracy of the information you provide when you register with Companies House – you can say pretty much anything and Companies House will accept it;
  • Lie, but do so cleverly; and
  • Don’t worry – the UK has been facilitating this kind of financial crime for the best part of a decade, and is yet to take any substantive action to stop it. The only person convicted to date of submitting false information (punishable by up to 2 years in prison) is someone who did so to highlight loopholes in the system.

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at



Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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