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Banks put on alert following “rogue” files at Companies House

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Britain’s biggest banks have been put on alert following hundreds of “rogue” filings that appear to have been lodged with Companies House, the UK’s central company registry.

Sky News has obtained a notice issued by UK Finance, the banking industry association, which warned its members that around 800 forms relating to the discharge of financial debts had been submitted to Companies House at the end of last month.

In the notice to banks – marked as ‘Urgent’ when it was issued last week – UK Finance said it had alerted both Companies House and the Department of Trade and Business to the issue.

Industry leaders have highlighted the possibility of an attempted fraud or hack into the Companies House register, although the circumstances remained unclear on Sunday.

UK Finance said in its note that a number of members and law firms had “reported an issue regarding the apparently erroneous satisfaction of warranties (registered charges) to Companies House in relation to a number of actual professional clients”.

In a further update released on Friday, the company said it had been informed that around 800 fraudulent applications relating to 190 companies had been submitted, adding: “Companies House has highlighted that an incorrect entry in the register – saying that a charge has been satisfied – do not invalidate or cancel these charges.

“This remains valid and enforceable.

“However, there will likely be other consequences for lenders that will need to be addressed.”

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Companies House, which is owned by the government, is responsible for incorporating and limiting millions of limited liability companies.

A source described the situation as “deeply alarming” and said it was disappointing that Companies House had also announced plans to increase its fees in May “when it was likely to file dishonest company filings of this way”.

Responding to an inquiry from Sky News, a Companies House spokesperson said: “We are aware of this matter and are looking into it.”

UK Finance declined to comment further.

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