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Revealed: Which properties in Barking and Dagenham are owned by overseas companies

PUBLISHED: 17:29 13 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:44 14 November 2017

The White Horse pub was sold for £1.2m. Picture credit: Archant

The White Horse pub was sold for £1.2m. Picture credit: Archant

Archant

Offshore firms in tax havens have snapped up at least £1billion worth of property in east London.

Newly-released data from the Land Registry reveal foreign firms bought more than just flats and houses in deals shrouded in secrecy, but swathes of land, airspace and even a Barking pub.

It reveals a property portfolio worth at least £1billion is stashed away in an offshore empire covering Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

But more than half of listings include no sale price, meaning the actual figure is likely far higher.

The data’s release came the week Barking MP Dame Margaret Hodge warned ministers Britain and its territories had become “the place of choice” for those looking to funnel away funds and avoid tax.

Many companies are registered in homegrown tax havens including the Isle of Man, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Jersey.

While foreign companies purchasing property in the UK is completely legal, transparency campaigners argue these firms do not have to reveal their owners and prevent much-needed taxes from reaching public services.

More than 100 properties in Barking and Dagenham, costing £18million, were bought by firms registered offshore over the last two decades, according to the Land Registry data.

Yet The Post revealed last year how offshore companies snapped up £415m in property between 2006 and 2016.

The borough’s properties were rich pickings for firms registered in the BVI, named on 36 sales, followed by Jersey (17 sales) and Guernsey (13).

The biggest purchases in Barking and Dagenham were:

• Land at the rear of Rainham Service Station in Rainham Road South, Dagenham (£5.5m).

• Flats at 243, 245 and 245a High Road, Chadwell Heath (£4.4m).

• The White Horse pub in North Street, Barking (£1.2m).

One BVI company, Apex Investment and Development Ltd, bagged three houses in Campus Avenue, Dagenham, for £885,000, or nearly £300,000 each.

Another, Blue Petal Investments, bought three houses and car park spaces in the Benedicts Wharf building in Highbridge Road, Barking, for £550,000 in 2008.

Plans to privatise the Land Registry were scrapped last year amid outcry the move would hide public data from public scrutiny.

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