Concern Anglesey second home hotspot is being used to create ‘shell companies’
A fraud investigator has raised concerns that an Anglesey second home hotspot could be used to create shell companies, which could then be used for fraud and money laundering.
Graham Barrow, a former investigator for HSBC and Deutsche Bank, said that seven Hungarian zoos were registered in Cemaes on the northern coast of the island.
It was an “extraordinary coincidence” that so many Hungarian expats lived on the same street in Anglesey, “all wanting to start companies with interests in zoological gardens at the same time,” he said.
There is no evidence the businesses are being used for any criminal activity. The Daily Mail however said they had contacted the owners of three of the properties who said they had no ideas the businesses were registered at their homes.
Graham Barrow said that incorporating a company in the UK could help a person open a bank account anywhere in the world but there were few checks on those creating the companies.
“Companies House is a register. Not a regulated body,” he wrote on Linkedin. “They have a charter which does not provide them with any ability (or legal framework) to verify, validate or otherwise challenge company registrations.
“If the forms are complete, they go on the register. That’s pretty much it.
“But I would not presume from this that they are unaware of what is going in, it’s just that they are not allowed to do anything about it.”
He said that people’s anger should be saved “for the government who have been so dilatory in enacting this legislation”.
Jim McNamara, 67, and wife Joyce, 70, whose holiday cottage had been used without permission, told the Daily Mail: “It’s disgraceful they are able to do this. It’s frightening us to death because there are so many fraud stories.”
There was also a legitimate firm registered in Cemaes which hoped to open a nature reserve and there was no suggestion of impropriety.
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