This pattern of property ownership is, of course, well-known in such up market areas as Mayfair and Knightsbridge.
More surprisingly, perhaps, the tentacles of the trend are beginning to stretch into Forest Gate.
Using Private Eye's detailed, inter-active map (see here) we have located more than 20 such properties in E7, and provide details of them and their "owners" in the article and photos, below. We would put a conservative estimate of their collective value today of around £20 million.
Readers may be able to offer further details about these properties and the people behind them, about which, we and Private Eye would be delighted to hear.
Below is a list of all local properties registered in overseas tax havens between 2005 and 2014, with, in some cases, details of the purchase price recorded at the time of registration.
The tax advantages gained by foreign registered company ownership include the avoidance of Capital Gains Tax (usually 28%, after allowances) and Stamp Duty (rates varies according to price) on their sale and purchase (though there has been a recent attempt to tighten up on the latter) and the ability to pass the properties on, without incurring Inheritance Tax (40% after allowances), on death.
The sums saved can, of course, be huge, depending on the values of the properties in question.
The fact that the companies owning the properties listed below are registered overseas means that little can be established about their ultimate owners, or beneficiaries. They may be UK citizens who prefer to spend their money on hiring the services of expensive lawyers and accountants to arrange their tax avoidance affairs, than to pay tax, and thus contribute to public services.
They may be genuine foreign nationals, with diverse assets portfolios, or they could be people with dubious records to hide (money launderers, drugs dealers, criminals or kleptocrats).
The British exchequer looses £ billions, annually, by the kind of tax avoidance practiced by many of the foreign companies listed below, and their ilk. It is unlikely that the present government will do too much to curtail the practices for as long as the Conservative party is recipient of donations from many of the beneficiaries of such schemes.
About half the properties listed are simple domestic houses. Given property inflation, tax savings from foreign registration could exceed £30,000 p.a. per property - as shown in a couple of examples.
There are a second set of properties which are, broadly, obviously commercial.
They constitute a mixed bunch, from a fairly prestigious office block, through some industrial property to some rather strange clusters of land, which could, at some stage, be used for a lucrative residential or commercial development.
The final property, to which we draw attention is a former pub, which has been converted into nine flats, with a supermarket attached. According to the "owning" company's declaration, that has probably increased in value by about £2,000,000 since registered - saving the owner (depriving public services) of about £500,000 should it be sold, today.
The fate of that former pub is becoming increasingly common these days, and the money to be saved from tax-haven registration of the developments are considerable.
Iconic office building - City Gate
|City Gate - Romford Road|
The City Gate building (above) on Romford Road (246 - 250) was registered as being owned by BCP City Gate, based in the Isle of Man, on 8 July 2005, with a value of £3,658,840.
These are listed in alphabetical order of the names of their streets.
50 - 50d Avenue Road
|Five separate properties|
registered here - at
50 - 50d Avenue Road
45 Chaucer Road
|45 Chaucer Road|
10 Crosby Road
|10 Crosby Road|
This terraced house was registered as being owned by Balinara, incorporated in Guernsey, with a value of £247,750, in June 2011.
113 Earlham Grove
|113 Earlham Grove|
27 Knighton Road
|27 Knighton Road|
This house was registered as owned by Tarleton Investments, based in the British Virgin Islands in April 2005. No details of the purchase price are logged with the Land Registry.
1 - 12 Sycamore Court - Romford Road
|1 - 12 Sycamore Court, Romford Road|
23b South Esk Road
|23b South Esk Road|
This flat was registered as being owned by Exel Venture in Guernsey in November 2013, with a value of £134,500. It is worth nearer £200,000 today - meaning a potential Capital Gains Tax saving of approximately £25,000.
115 Trumpington Road
|115 Trumpington Road|
133 and 137 Upton Lane
|133 Upton Lane|
|137 Upton Lane|
Commercial and industrial properties
LandThere are three plots of land in and around Romford Road, almost adjacent to the City Gate office block (see above), all owned by a St Vincent and Grenadines company called Loesch.
One is described as "land adjoining 286 Romford Road", and was registered to the company in March 2007.
|Land adjoining |
286 Romford Road
|Land adjoining 8 Nursery Lane|
|10 Nursery Lane|
Restaurant - 99 Green Street
|99 Green Street|
|Two views of Sherrard Works|
The footprint of these two properties is very large and could form the basis, planning permission dependent, of a considerable residential development - with a large value and consequential tax-free capital gain.
The big one: 326 - 330 Katherine Road
|326 - 330 Katherine Road|
It was registered to the ownership of a British Virgin Islands based company in 2013, with a value of £870,000.
The nine flats could now be sold for in the region of £2.5m, and the Tesco's could probably command an annual rent of £30,000.
Not a bad, tax-free, return for those behind the company with its very British sounding name - Irlam Properties Ltd.
The facts relating to the tax-haven ownership of each of the properties highlighted above is indisputable. Some of the speculation about levels of tax-free capital gains and tax avoidance may be challenged by the overseas owners. If so, we would be delighted to hear from them, and would welcome the opportunity to set the record straight.
As it is, in the absence of information about the beneficial owners, it has been difficult to contact them for clarification about their motives and financial benefits.