Foreign companies which own or buy property in the UK will have to disclose their ultimate owners in new rules that attempt to combat money-laundering.
Business Minister Greg Clark announced that a public register will be introduced by early 2021 after the government came under pressure to increase transparency and prevent corruption.
Corrupt foreign ownership is said to keep property prices in Britain artificially high, particularly in London which has seen an influx of foreign property investment in recent years.
The 2016 “Panama Papers” helped to shine a light on firms and individuals using complex structures to base themselves abroad, putting the issue of tax avoidance at the top of the global agenda.
Since 2004, Britain has launched criminal investigations into more than £180 million worth of real estate suspected of being linked to corruption, with over 75% of properties still being looked into using offshore secrecy.