The UK Companies House register of company directors is full of disqualified directors, money launderers and terrorists, according to a new study.
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Data management firm Datanomic embarked on a project to screen the Companies House register on behalf of World-Check, which runs a global database of high-risk individuals and organisations.
The aim of the project was to identify the growing number of high risk individuals registering and operating businesses in the UK.
The project involved screening 6.8 million names of active UK companies and their directors and secretaries using Datanomic's Sanctions & PEP Screening system against World-Check's database of 750,000 high-risk individuals and businesses, including politically exposed persons, money launderers, fraudsters, terrorists, sanctioned entities and 12 other high-risk categories.
The results found 3,994 exact matches of high-risk individuals found to be registered in the UK.
World-Check found 1,504 disqualified directors running current UK companies, despite the existence of the Register of Disqualified Directors.
Many of these disqualified directors are currently operating companies from prison.
The screening also revealed 154 individuals involved in financial crime, 13 individuals who are either wanted by Interpol for terrorism or associated with terrorist groups and activities, 37 narcotics traffickers, nearly 1,000 domestic and foreign politically exposed persons, and hundreds of individuals from many other high-risk categories.
In addition, a further 27,000 near matches was produced from the initial scan, which are currently undergoing further investigation.
World-Check has forwarded its findings to the relevant enforcement authorities.