Disqualified directors ‘abusing Companies House data’

Research has identified loopholes at Companies House that enables individuals to register as a director, run businesses and enable fraud and money laundering, even after they have been struck-off from holding company directorships.

Research into Companies House data conducted by HooYu showed that of the 6,700 currently disqualified directors, there are over 800 that still appear to have an active directorship. The analysis also uncovered over 500 so-called ‘chameleon’ directors who have been disqualified as a director, then subsequently made changes to their name or date of birth in order to register a ‘clean’ directorship.

The criminals, have been uncovered using graph theory and data visualisation technology in the HooYu Investigate platform to find disqualified directors who illicitly hold an active directorship. This is despite the fact that these ‘chameleon fraudsters’ obfuscate their new directorships by subtly altering their date of birth, or the spelling of their name, in an attempt to avoid detection.

The current registration processes undertaken by Companies House are enabling criminals to evade detection and contributing to the estimated £96 billion of fraud and money laundering that takes place each year in the UK, according to HooYu.

Richard Osborne, founder of the lobbying group Robust, explained that he formed the group last year to raise awareness of how criminals are abusing Companies House data. “Our YouGov survey revealed that 84 per cent of business leaders would want to see more robust identity checking procedures carried out by Companies House.

“This data analysis reveals the level of abuse of records at Companies House and underlines our call for the government to act,” he added.

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