The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill will aim to deliver:
- reforms to Companies House
- reforms to prevent the abuse of limited partnerships
- additional powers to seize and recover suspected criminal cryptoassets
- reforms to give businesses more confidence to share information to tackle money laundering and other economic crime
- new intelligence gathering powers for law enforcement and removal of burdens on business
The bill aims to make Companies House a custodian of more reliable data concerning companies and other UK registered entities such as limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and limited partnerships (LPs).
The bill will broaden the powers of Companies House to make it a more active gatekeeper over company creation. This would include new powers to check, remove or decline information submitted to, or already on, the register.
The register of overseas entities will be amended to maintain consistency with changes to the Companies Act 2006.
New exemptions from the principal money laundering offences will be created to reduce unnecessary reporting by businesses carrying out transactions on behalf of their customers.
Law enforcement would also be given new powers to obtain information to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing.
Businesses in certain sectors would be enabled to share information more effectively to prevent and detect economic crime.
The statutory fining limit for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will be removed, allowing the SRA to set its own limits on financial penalties imposed for economic crime disciplinary matters.
The bill would add a regulatory objective to the Legal Services Act 2007 to affirm the duties of regulators and the regulated communities to uphold the economic crime agenda.
I am pleased the UK government is making progress with introducing a second Economic Crime Bill, with the express provision of stopping money laundering in the UK. It is my hope that the reforms will tackle economic crime, such as exemptions from the principal money laundering offences and will reduce unnecessary reporting by firms.
In addition, the Companies House reforms will aim to improve transparency over UK companies to strengthen our business environment. I fully support changes that will improve the quality of information on the public register.
The bill’s second reading is scheduled for 13 October 2022.