UK continues to press for beneficial ownership registry

| 01/10/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

British Prime Minister David Cameron

(ukukCNS): The British Prime Minister has stated that not enough is being done to tackle tax evasion by the UK’s overseas territories. Speaking during a trade mission to Jamaica, David Cameron said he is not happy with the way some British overseas territories are resisting financial transparency, signalling a new wave of pressure ahead on Cayman and other offshore financial centres. Cayman has been leading the charge among regional territories to resist a public centralized register but CIG agreed to examine alternative ways of improving access to corporate information about offshore companies via other means.

On a recent trip to Cayman, the acting overseas territories minister, Grant Shapps, had seemed content with the progress Cayman was making but the prime minister has now said not enough progress was being made towards transparency.

UK and Cayman agree on beneficial ownership principle

Speaking to the Jamaica parliament this week he said, “If we’re to beat corruption, we need transparency. I’ve taken the lead by pledging much more transparency over property and company ownership in the UK so that terrorists, tax-avoiders, money launderers and criminals have nowhere to hide their ill-gotten gains. Some of the British crown dependences and overseas territories are making progress in this direction. Others, frankly, are not moving anywhere near fast enough.”

The issue is bound to be on the agenda when the premier leads a delegation to London later this year for the annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) when all of the territories are expected to tell the Foreign and Commonwealth Office what they will be doing to meet the UK’s demands regarding access if they are opting not to establish public registers as the UK has pledged to do.

The premier, the financial services minister and industry representative have warned that a central public register would cause a serious threat to the country’s financial services sector and they believe that Cayman already had far more sophisticated mechanisms to exchange information to the relevant authorities than most onshore jurisdictions, which, unlike this jurisdiction, do not collect the information on beneficial owners.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

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