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Is there a property near you and can you help shed light on this murky world?

Information produced by HM Land Registry © Crown copyright 2017

From major hotels and office blocks, to flats and single car parking spaces, hundreds of properties in Bristol are owned through companies based overseas. Most of these companies are based in tax havens, marked by secrecy and opportunities for dodging taxes or hiding the origins of their money.

Obviously, finding out information about these companies can be difficult. However, thanks to huge leaks of information, such as the Panama and Paradise Papers, as well as other tools, we can try to dig into this murky world. And you can help!

Examples of what we are looking for include prominent landmarks and connections to individuals and companies in the city. Here’s how to take a look.

  1. Using the map below, identify a property you want to look at.
  2. Remember: The current occupier of the building may not have anything to do with the company that owns the land or building. Please do not approach private residences.
  3. Search the company name in Google to see if you can get any information there.
  4. Search the company name in Investigative Dashboard. This is a website that brings together lots of different databases, such as the UK company registry and the Panama and Paradise Paper leaks. From here you may be able to follow links to connected companies and individuals.

Warning: By the very nature of the subject, research can be very difficult. Don’t get frustrated if you can’t find much!

  1. Remember to note down your research and get in touch if you find anything that could be worth pursuing!
  2. Find some more great resources put together by Who Owns England.
  3. If you want to get away from the screen, take a look at the property itself (the easiest way to see whether it appears to be empty). Please be mindful of privacy and legal issues such as trespass. Please do not approach private residences.
  4. If it’s not obvious exactly where the property is, you can stump up £3 to get the Land Registry documents here. Get in touch if you would like to do this and we may be able to cover the cost.
  5. Before publishing anything, including on social media, be cautious about potential legal issues. Get in touch to discuss!

Contact us by email at adam@thebristolcable.org and/or alon@thebristolcable.org

NOTES:

  1. A leasehold is the ownership of a property for a fixed term. A freehold outright ownership of the property.
  2. The data is from the Land Registry
  3. Some postcodes may be approximate
  4. Access the data in this spreadsheet: Bristol properties owned by overseas companies.
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