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London property may be haven for dirty money

At least 122 billion pounds ($206 billion) in property in England and Wales has hard-to-trace ownership via companies in London property may be "haven for dirty money" offshore tax havens, the Financial Times reported in an investigation.

LONDON: At least 122 billion pounds ($206 billion) in property in England and Wales has hard-to-trace ownership via companies in London property may be "haven for dirty money" offshore tax havens, the Financial Times reported in an investigation.

The finding, made through analysis of Land Registry data, "raises concern that London property in particular has become a haven for dirty money from around the world" the newspaper reported. The investigation is likely to further fuel debate on overseas ownership.

Steeply rising house prices - partly fuelled by foreign investors who see British property as a safe place to put their wealth - have fuelled fears of a bubble in recent months. London property prices rose 26 per cent in the last year, mortgage provider Nationwide said in July, while overall prices in the country rose 11.5 per cent.

The government has targeted the international popularity of British property, which has made some streets in London resemble a ghost town, by raising tax on high-end properties owned by non-residents.

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