Disqualified directors, terrorists and drugs traffickers are all listed as
company directors at Companies House, a trawl through the body’s archive has
Nearly 4,000 high-risk individuals have been found to be listed as company
directors in the UK’s register of company directors and secretaries.
Datanomic, a data protection software company, came up with the list after
checking the names of 750,000 high-risk individuals – from the high-risk
database firm, Worldcheck – against the 6.8m directors listed at
A final analysis of the results also threw up matches for 1,504 disqualified
directors running current UK companies despite the existence of the Register of
Disqualified Directors. Some of the disqualified directors are also operating
companies from prison.
The results also revealed 154 directors involved in financial crime, 13 who
are either wanted by Interpol for terrorism or associated with terrorist groups
and activities, 37 narcotics traffickers and almost 1,000 domestic and foreign
politically exposed persons and hundreds from other high risk categories.
Worldcheck CEO David Leppan said the problem is that Companies House is not
required to screen applicants, leaving the door open for terrorists money
launderers, narcotics traffickers and many others to actively participate in the
UK economy without any checks or balances.
‘These results serve as a grim reminder as to the dangers of complacency. It
is clearly time for the UK government to broaden the qualifications for
registering companies and directorships as a first defense against a range of
criminal and terrorist activities,’ said Leppan.
Datanomic’s CEO Jonathan Pell, said it was ridiculous that Companies House
did not screen its customer base for known criminals, terrorists, as is required
by other regulated companies.
‘It seems absurd that Companies House, which is an executive agency for the
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform isn’t required to do
so. If the UK government is serious about prevention of criminal and terrorist
activities, it should take a closer look at how directorships in UK companies
are being used,’ said Pell.
Among those hiding in the register at Companies House are:
– A director of a UK company who is allegedly a representative of Hizb
ut-Tahrir in the UK .
– Another individual, wanted by Interpol for terrorism and forgery, is listed
in the register as director of 12 UK companies.
– Two individuals, both suspects in foiled UK terror plots, are listed by
Companies House to be Directors of several UK companies.
– A convicted fraudster, who served a five-year jail sentence for selling
false insurance, is listed as director of two companies.
– Convicted criminals including a money-launderer and a fraudster sentenced
to 2 years in jail for tax fraud.
– An individual accused of violating the US state securities law by
defrauding investors of approximately US$34million.
– A narcotics trafficker who appears on the USA Treasury OFAC list, and is
the director of three companies in the UK .
– An individual who was sentenced to 16 months in jail following the seizure
of narcotics is currently secretary of a UK company.
– A director of a UK-based company wanted by Interpol on fraud charges in
– An Eastern European General who is facing United Nations war crimes charges
is registered as the director of one active UK registered company.
– It was also found that the following five foreign countries had the most
PEPs operating companies in the UK , and hence posed the highest PEP risk: the
Russian Federation (14), Germany (13) South Africa (12), Italy (10), and India
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