A recent example of such regulation is the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) 2022 Act which (amongst other things) established a register of overseas entities with the laudable aim of reducing the ease with which foreign criminals can launder money through the purchase of property in this jurisdiction. Steps such as this will almost certainly help in the fight against fraud, but more is required, and further measures are currently being considered. This includes the provisions of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill which is looking to be pushed through the statute books shortly and which contains proposals, for example, to reform the process for setting up new companies (including through the introduction at Companies House of identity verification requirements for all new and existing registered company directors) and to create additional powers to allow the appropriate authorities to seize and recover suspected criminal crypto-assets.
Even then, there are those who believe that these extended regulations will still not go far enough, and an all-party parliamentary group is set this week to propose various amendments to the draft bill, including provisions aimed at toughening up the UK’s corporate governance regime by imposing criminal liability on companies and their directors who fail to put in place adequate measures to prevent the business from being used as a conduit for economic crime (such as fraud, money laundering, sanction evasion and false accounting).
Such proposed measures are not without their detractors, and there will be those that will feel that such regulation will only serve to increase the already significant regulatory burden (and cost) on UK business, and in turn to dampen growth, whilst having a minimal and immeasurable effect in terms of stamping out fraud. Only time will tell.