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Welsh National Assembly Property sold to Dodgy offshore landlord by KnightFrank investment partner















The National Assembly doesn't know who its landlord is as the site was bought last year for £40.5m by firm in British Virgin Islands tax haven.


 Royal Opening - Welsh National Assembly - June 2011
The National Assembly’s landlord is a shadowy company based in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands – and AMs have no idea who is benefitting from the annual rent of more than £2m it pays to the owners.


Private Eye magazine has launched a section of its website – www.private-eye.co.uk/registry – with an interactive map that gives details of landholdings owned by overseas interests.

It shows that Ty Hywel, the office block linked to the Senedd building that houses AMs’ offices, is owned by a firm called Broader Company Limited that bought it in March 2014 for £40.5m. The building was part of Aviva’s Insurance - Cardiff Waterside estate.At the time the property was being jointly marketed by Knight Frank investment partners Rob Jones, based at the firm’s Cardiff office and London-based Shaun Roy










The Ty Hyel building has six floors and 200 car parking spaces. It is linked to the Senedd at two levels by glass walkways.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI), one of the UK’s last remaining colonies, is used by individuals and corporate entities wishing to reduce their tax bill as well as avoid the degree of public disclosure required in Britain.

It is not possible to establish from publicly available records the identity of directors or shareholders of a BVI-registered company.



Ty Hywel

A spokesman for the Assembly Commission said: “The National Assembly for Wales is not in a position to comment on or influence the ownership by Broader Company Limited.

“An opportunity to acquire the freehold of Ty Hywel was available during 2009 and again in 2013 when the lease was offered for sale.

“On both occasions public funds were not available to enable the Assembly Commission to make the purchase.”



The Ty Hywel office block in Cardiff BayThe Ty Hywel office block in Cardiff Bay


In 2013, when Ty Hywel was on the market, the Assembly was said to be paying a rent of £2.3m a year – representing £18.26p per sq ft.

The Assembly entered into a 25-year lease, without any break clause, in 2007.

At the time Knight Frank investment partner Shaun Roy said: “Ty Hywel presents a unique investment opportunity with the Assembly having an absolute need to occupy the building which is linked to the Senedd debating chamber.

“We expect this to draw interest from all sectors of the market and from around the globe.”




typical promo advert for KnightFrank luxury properties Glenburn Hall - The Borders’ Best Kept Secret [Extended Version]

Should Larger Corporate Estate Agents who handle these large property deals ,be reporting offshore company activities to HMRC  ?

Image result for private eye logo
The government acknowledges that “property can provide a convenient vehicle for hiding the proceeds of crime” and that “high values of property in London in particular, presents [sic] an opportunity for criminals to launder considerable sums of money in one transaction”. So it also proposes to make transparency a condition of property ownership in the UK, as suggested by the Private Eye and others, “requiring foreign companies to provide information on their beneficial ownership before they are able to buy land/property in England or Wales”.
Even if the government does push ahead with its new proposals, they are unlikely to solve the problem entirely. Given the UK’s near total absence of enforcement against corporate law-breaking, proposed criminal sanctions for false information will probably not trouble the world’s major money launderers unduly; hidden behind further offshore layers, proving falsity is hard to do without extensive investigation and international cooperation.
What action there has been against offshore corporate ownership to date has achieved little if anything.
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