Scotland’s notorious anonymous shell firms are failing to comply with new UK transparency rules.

As of early this month 30,000 Scottish limited partnerships (SLPs) had to reveal their main owners or face fines of £500 a day every day.

However, a provisional check suggests very few have met the deadline of declaring if they have a person of significant control or PSC

The Herald has exposed hundreds of SLPs involved in serious criminality over the last two years, including this week two fronting for ships busting sanctions against Russia.

Investigators at Bellingcat have tested to see whether the 5,215 SLPs registered during 2016 have complied.

The found only 938 had filed their PSC statements. Just 236, the group said, were named individuals.

Some firms even cited other SLPs as their PSCs.

The individuals who were named demonstrated where SLPs are being sold off-the-peg. Russia and Ukraine accounted for 66 and 94 named owners in the Bellingcat sample.

The group said: “Although the statistics do not suggest any form of criminal activity on behalf of those who have filed their PSC statements – it does seem curious that the vast majority of SLPs have not felt the need to reveal who their beneficial owners are.”

“Perhaps this stems from the knowledge that despite the fanfare attached to the new legislation, those behind SLPs are aware that the authorities in the UK have no practical means to compel offshore partners to comply with their demands.”