Tracking Overseas Corporate Registrations

There are a number of resources available to researchers trying to determine if a company has a corporate registration in a foreign country. Companies House is the official company registrar in the UK and has been since 1844.  The Companies House site allows users to search for and download corporate records for companies registered in the UK and offers a set of links to its counterparts in a number of countries, mostly in the EU.  Many of the sites on the list offer electronic search and download functionality.  To access the list, go to the Companies House Links page and scroll down to the section on "Worldwide Registries."

For company registries outside of the sphere of the UK, EU and US registry system, you'll need to locate the registry directly and determine electronic search capability.  One popular site:

  • The General Registry Cayman Islands offers an electronic search to those who register an account and pay the per search fee.  While on the General Registry site, you can also review the benefits of a Cayman registration as advertised by the government of the Cayman Islands.

For additional information on worldwide corporate registries (including a country-by-country appendix [Appendix E] of what information each country requires on corporate documents) and some fascinating case studies on how fraudsters set up international corporations to advance corrupt business enterprises, read The Puppet Masters, How the Corrupt Use Legal Structures to Hide Stolen Assets and What to Do About It. This report continues the long line of substantive research produced by the World Bank.