In a consultation paper published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in March, the government sought feedback on its plan to make foreign firms which hold billions of pounds worth of property in the UK declare who actually owns them.
According to The Times, Cameron is expected to announce the outcome of the consultaiton and the government’s next steps at a global anti-corruption summit in London in May.
The move follows a string of transparency measures unveiled in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal which involved the leak of millions of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, uncovering how the rich and famous around the world use offshore companies to avoid paying tax in their home countries.
Earlier this month, Cameron revealed that all crown dependencies and overseas territories will now provide company ownership data to UK tax and law enforcement authorities.
Furthermore, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain have also signed a deal setting up a beneficial ownership register to automatically share information on the ultimate owners of companies.
“Unexplained wealth order”
Meanwhile Britain’s home secretary, Theresa May, launched a separate consultation on Thursday into its “aggressive” new action plan to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing, which will inlcude a new “unexplained wealth order”.
The order requires those suspected of money laundering to declare their wealth and explain where it came from.
The Home Office action plan follows the first UK national risk assessment on money laundering and terrorist financing published in October last year.
It found “significant intelligence gaps” when it came to high-end money laundering in major frauds and serious corruption cases. The report highlighted how proceeds are often held in bank accounts, property or other investments rather than cash.
Other measures included in the action plan are a new power to allow money held in bank accounts to be swiftly seized and forfeited as well as an “illicit enrichment offence” for use when public officials have a significant and inexplicable increase in their assets.
Money laundering blacklist
The planned new legislation would create administrative powers to blacklist an entity as being “of money laundering concern” and would require banks, legal and accountancy firms to take “special measures” when dealing with them.
In a statement released on Thursday, May said: “This action plan sends a clear message that we will not tolerate this type of activity in our financial institutions.
“We will forge a new partnership with industry to improve suspicious activity reporting, deliver deeper information sharing and take joint action on enforcement. And we will act vigorously against the criminals and terrorists responsible, to protect the security and prosperity of our citizens, and safeguard the integrity of Britain’s financial economy.”
The consultation period closes on June 2, 2016.