A third of Scotland’s notorious limited partnerships or SLPs have shrugged off basic transparency measures imposed last year.

A major new analysis shows 35 per cent of such businesses - which are heavily marketed as secrecy vehicles overseas - have failed to to carry out checks on who are their ultimate owners.

Global Witness, an international anti-corruption campaign, found SLPs were by far the least compliant kind of corporate entity in the UK.

The proportion of normal Scottish companies which have not completed attempts to identify a so-called “person of significant control” is 0.2 per cent.

Of those SLPs which named an individual as a PSC, more than two out of five said they were owned by somebody in the former Soviet Union.

But Global Witness, echoing and updating research carried out for The Herald, also found some good news. Registrations of SLPs have declined to a seven-year low since PSC regulations were imposed last summer.

It said: “SLPs gained notoriety for their association with corruption, organised crime and tax evasion – including as part of the Russian and Azerbaijani Laundromats.

“One of the reasons SLPs appeared to be so attractive to international criminals was their secretive nature .You could set one up without having to declare who really controlled or and benefited from it.”


Table from Global Witness's The Companies We Keep report

The group also found nearly 8,000 UK companies, including SLPs, that were linked to money-laundering suspects. The UK is looking at further reforms.