Take a look at some of the main stories from the week and an insight into The Ferret's work.
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Hi ,

Who owns the buildings in your street? Who owns the land near your house? Who owns the vast country estates that cover much of Scotland's countryside?

In many cases the answer lies overseas in secretive tax havens owned through complex company structures.

The Ferret's new series - Scotland's Secret Owners - in partnership with The Herald, reveals the people whose ownership of property was hidden through these opaque domains.

Our exclusive analysis of a new register naming the properties owned by companies based outside of the UK, has unmasked the Tory donors, Wall Street investors, foreign states, and royal associates, who have bought Scotland's land through tax havens.

Keep reading to see our full investigation.
Story of the week
An in-depth look at a Ferret investigation
Major financial backers of the Conservative Party – including personal donors to Boris Johnson – own lucrative properties across Scotland through secretive companies registered in tax havens.

Their ownership of Scottish property has been revealed by an exclusive Ferret analysis of a new British register introduced after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It has forced many companies based in tax havens, and which own UK property, to reveal their true, “beneficial”, owners for the first time.

Scottish properties owned by six Tory donors – who have together given the party millions of pounds – include shooting estates, the site of a major wind farm, office blocks and a city centre car park.
What did we dig up this week?
A round up of our investigations in the last seven days
Churches lobbied to avoid reveal of property owners before transparency law
The churches lobbied both Nicola Sturgeon and Màiri McAllan in attempts to avoid having to comply with the new land register due to the “administrative burden”.
Hundreds of foreign property owners stay secret despite new rules
A “loophole” in new legislation means more than half of the offshore entities which own hundreds of Scottish properties are allowed to remain secret.
Does the new foreign ownership law go far enough?
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a new UK register of overseas entities was launched, forcing some property-owning companies to name their owners.
Revealed: The billionaire Wall Street investor behind a Borders shooting estate
A Wall Street investor is the beneficial owner of a Borders sporting estate which had its licence to kill birds revoked by Scotland’s wildlife protection agency.
Unmasked: The foreign states who bought up Scots property worth millions
The governments of China, Qatar, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have extensive property portfolios in Scotland collectively worth nearly £250m.
‘Rotten to the core’: £300m of student housing linked to tax havens
Student accommodation buildings in Scottish cities collectively worth over £300m are directly owned by firms registered in offshore tax havens.
Pippa Middleton’s family owns Highland estate via offshore tax shelters
The millionaire family of Kate Middleton’s sister owns the 10,000-acre Glen Affric estate in the Highlands.
How we revealed Scotland’s Secret Owners
In 2020, The Ferret calculated that nearly £2.8bn worth of Scottish property was owned by companies based in tax havens.
It's Criminal
A storytelling project by The Ferret

Come and join us for a journey into the world of crime and the media.

Who chooses the headlines? Who chooses the stories? Is there a tsunami of crime or does the news make things feel worse than they really are? Who gets named and shamed in the press and what does this mean for them? Who gets stereotyped as thugs and thieves? And who is rich, powerful or hidden enough to escape justice and the news pages?

It’s Criminal so it is.

Could we, just could we, imagine a better way of doing things?

It's Criminal is a collaboration between The Ferret, Greater Govanhill Magazine and Contemporary Narratives Lab, with support from City University of London.

Our theatre show takes place on 22 June at the Tron in Edinburgh. Tickets are free and available here.

Question of the Week
Do you think land ownership in Scotland
is transparent?
We now have a platform exclusive for Ferret Underground subscribers where you can share ideas about future investigations, answer polls and more!

Create an account here to get access.
Best of the rest
Investigations we've enjoyed from around the world
The Light: Inside the UK’s conspiracy theory newspaper that shares violence and hate
A UK conspiracy theory newspaper has links with the British far-right and a German publication connected to a failed coup attempt. (BBC News)
Judges may gain new powers to stop SLAPPs. Are they enough?
British judges are to receive new powers to strike out bogus lawsuits designed to silence reporting on economic crime, under new proposals. (The Bureau)
What happens when a QAnon cult leader moves into town
After being chased off an island in eastern Canada, the so-called "QAnon Queen" hunkered down for winter in rural Nova Scotia with her followers. (Vice)
Any comments? Have you seen something we could include? Email us at

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