Secrecy for Sale

Published — November 27, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Secrecy for sale: Offshore alchemy hides real estate speculators buying up Britain

Anonymous buyers, using tax shelters and hiding behind offshore secrecy, are taking over more and more blocks of luxury housing in the UK, particularly in London. AP


Selective trusts and companies born in the British Virgin Islands have helped anonymous buyers snap up luxury properties in London and other UK locales.

Today we are setting out to demolish the wall of offshore secrecy that hides many UK property transactions.

In our joint investigation with The Guardian, we disclose the identities of some of the people secretly buying up Britain.

Our findings, covering nearly 60 sample premises, demonstrate the way the UK is turning into a property speculators’ haven, thanks to tax loopholes and the secrecy offered by the British Virgin Islands. Anonymous buyers are taking over more and more blocks of luxury housing, particularly in London.

Some purchasers live abroad. Other buyers live in the UK itself while they build up property empires using these artificial structures.

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