UK government cracks down on abuse of Scottish Limited Partnerships

UK government cracks down on abuse of Scottish Limited Partnerships

The UK government has announced new measures aimed at preventing criminals abusing Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) to launder dirty money.

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said the package of transparency and anti-corruption measures would ensure that Scottish Limited Partnerships “can still be used legitimately to invest by pension funds and investors while preventing abuse”.

The new measures will also affect Limited Partnerships (LPs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which differ from the Scottish structure - only SLPs can enter into contracts, take on debts or own property.

The key proposals are:

  • Those registering Limited Partnerships 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 Limited Partnership must demonstrate an ongoing link to the UK, for example by keeping its principal place of business in the UK;
  • All Limited Partnerships must submit a confirmation statement at least every 12 months to Companies House to ensure their information is accurate and up to date; and
  • Companies House will be given powers to strike off dissolved Limited Partnerships and Limited Partnerships which are not carrying on business.

In addition to requirements that are in place for Scotland, the reforms will also include new reporting requirements for Limited Partnerships in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Last year, the government introduced laws requiring SLPs to report their beneficial owner and make their ownership structure more transparent, leading to an 80 per cent reduction in the number registered.

Lord Duncan, parliamentary under secretary of state in the Scotland Office, said: “The UK Government continues to take the abuse of Scottish Limited Partnerships very seriously and will do everything necessary to crack down on crime lords exploiting them to launder dirty money.

“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 interest and protection of citizens is of the upmost importance to the UK Government and these reforms will ensure Scotland and the rest of the UK remains a great place to work and invest in.”

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