Deal won’t end push for public owners register

| 11/04/2016 | 32 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin and Financial Services Chief Officer Dax Basdeo at Monday’s press conference

(CNS): A new deal signed between the UK and the Cayman Islands regarding an enhanced regime to disclose the beneficial owners of offshore companies will not bring an end to the push for a public register, Premier Alden McLaughlin said at a press conference Monday. While he was pleased Cayman had managed to get the UK to accept a non-public platform that allows quicker and easier access for authorised parties, he warned that British Prime Minister David Cameron still wanted a central register and the pressure for more public disclosure would not end.

He said the latest agreement with the UK offered Cayman “a greater sense of confidence” that Britain had endorsed Cayman’s proposals for sharing beneficial ownership with UK agencies, but he did not expect an end to the rhetoric.

“This is a train that has never stopped coming,” he said. “We can’t rest on our laurels as we have to constantly bear in mind that standards will evolve and political pressures will continue.”

Announcing the signing of the new deal outlining how Cayman will provide more accurate information to law enforcement and tax authorities in the UK more quickly, the premier stressed that the agreement was an illustration that Cayman was getting things right and the new regime was essentially business as usual for local companies, regardless of the agreements on new protocols and quicker disclosure.

McLaughlin said it had been a long and difficult discussion to agree on a framework and that it had taken the law enforcement and other relevant agencies in the UK some time to understand how the system for beneficial ownership information worked in Cayman. However, eventually they began to realise that Cayman already had the information they would want and the regime, with a little enhancement, would meet the global standard.

Aware that the calls for a public register are not going to go away, McLaughlin said that for the time being, te UK had accepted that Cayman has a robust information exchange regime in place. Cayman would meet international standards, he said, but the government had been clear from the start that it would not agree to implement measures that were not adopted everywhere and risk undermining the financial services industry.

“Whatever the global standard is, Cayman will be there but we will not be placed in a position where we become less competitive. This is a point we have made over and often,” he added.

Even with the fallout from the Panama Papers leak, the increasing pressure and world attention on all offshore jurisdictions, McLaughlin remained confident that Cayman’s offshore sector would weather the storm and the challenges presented by the perceptions people have of this jurisdiction and other offshore financial centres.

“People don’t do business with us because we are nice,” McLaughlin noted, as he pointed to the value added by using the Cayman Islands for international financial transactions. “We are a key cog in global finance and business. If we continue to provide high standards, high quality services, observe global standards and remain on the vanguard of anti-corruption and crime, I have no doubt we will retain the position as a global leader.”

As part of a clampdown on tax avoidance, the UK is preparing to create a new agency and crime fighting regime to deal with institutions helping people to evade tax. Nevertheless, McLaughlin was confident that Cayman would deal with any adverse discoveries.

He said he could not predict what might happen in the future and if the Panama Papers or the new enhanced exchange of information led to the exposure of financial crime here, then it would be dealt with through the proper channels in the usual way.

“We do not want business here which is tainted. We do not want to engage with clients seeking to break laws,” the premier said, adding that Cayman would be happy to see any bad business that is here go elsewhere.

UK-Cayman sign deal on future beneficial ownership exchange

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Comments (32)

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  1. Michael Alberga says:

    Stalin and Hitler would be over joyed. Can you imagine what Isis and hackers will do with this? Lord Blackstone and the forefathers of the United States would be horrified by a system with no due process. Who is going to guarantee when the system is hacked and people’s personal information is taken, accounts stolen, children kidnapped, to compensate the victims, return their family members and solve the complex issues associated with identity theft? Perhaps the UK Government is going to give an unlimited guarantee to all those affected. It is best if this proposal was instituted in New York and London, the world’s biggest offshore financial centers, and then we can follow after we see how it works. This, of course, is subject to the proposals ever being passed into Law and being constitutional. No wonder the United States refuse to have anything with the Common Reporting Standard. Brexit is one thing but an exit from the principles which founded the democratic system based on a rule of law, privacy and due process is astounding particularly when proposed by the United Kingdom.

    • Anonymous says:

      We are no longer foolish democrats. We follow the only the buzzards now. We are the sheep leading the wolves. And we will ensure that this rock will one day be a mountain of bones.

    • Anonymous says:

      Godwin’s Law Supernova! No one has to use tax havens. It is their choice to use the Caymans but they will do it knowing that information will be accessible to government agencies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, no system is ever 100% secure. They could also achieve this with a low tech method: require the persons to physically attend the offices of the service providers with their badge or government identification before allowing them access to information or provide a periodic report to the authorities. The risk seems disproportionately high.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Currently there is no global standard for public ubo registries, and the UK cannot “force” the Cayman Islands, or BVI, or London to unilaterally pull down their pants if nobody else in the world is willing to do the same.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course the UK can force what it wants. The Caymans and the BVI are British territories. All it takes is an Order in Council.

      • Anonymous says:

        “All it takes” is a Royal Perogative or an Order of Parliament (eight phases) where it can be demonstrated that everyone else has this type of transparency? If only it were true, but sadly it’s not.

    • Anonymous says:

      Idiot, of course it can.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Darkness,Sorrow,Tears,Agony,Pain,Torture,Blood,Defeat all in that order. We are coming.

  4. Anonymous says:

    we need to worship mckeeva bush.bow at his feet and beg forgiveness and maybe just he might consider freeing us all from bondage. many wronged him and still he is merciful. he is almight and everlasting.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Meanwhile in Parliament Dodgy Dave of the Panama Papers gets lambasted.

    • Anonymous says:

      By a ridiculous old commie who is an embarrassment to his party and country. Please, if you intend to ridicule a UK figure, have some understanding of the characters and their political motives.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sold out again Alden…Thank God we only have a year to go..

    Alden, if I say jump, will you say, how high too?

  7. cathy Better says:

    So he caved in. Okay, nothing to see here. Move along

    • Anonymous says:

      You wish. The choice between public registers and black listing is inevitable.

    • Anonymous says:

      More caving to come. A public register for companies, partnerships and trusts or global blacklisting that is the choice.

  8. Spot on. says:

    So now confidentiality of financial records will reside in the hands of who?, the Police, the Government who?. All we are hearing is very short on details Mr. premier, meanwhile because of lack of information business is looking elsewhere . Come on guys do you think that your silence on the laws you propose to change is helping to attract new business.get ya heads outta the potti and provide something that gives an indication as to where we are headed , i.e. If you have a clue.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Only a public platform will be effective to end corruption, fraud and tax evasion that these tax havens allow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Explain (if you can) how the Cayman Islands remains a Haven from personal income Tax in 2016, in that it is part of global CRS, early adopter of USA/UK FATCA Model 1 agreement, and with dozens of TIEAs signed. Which Cayman Islands businesses would you accuse of still being engaged in that historical trade (with nearly zero private client business going on in the jurisdiction)? The “secret chests” of offshore money that today’s broke gov’ts seem eager to appropriate should no longer exist. Or are you suggesting that all international corporations (with after-tax revenue sourced outside wherever you live) should have a brick and mortar office building in your town and pay tax twice?

      • Anonymous says:

        Corporation taxes, capital gains taxes, inheritance taxes, capital taxes, deferment of taxes, transfer pricing benefits . . . .And so you would be happy, I take it from your comment about private client business, to abolish all trusts under Cayman law too? After all on your argument it would make “zero” difference.

        • Anonymous says:

          The absence of Cayman-imposed direct taxation does not (and never has) confered immunity from foreign tax obligations, to the extent that they may or may not exist. Cayman is tax neutral, not a haven, and we need to know the difference, or heaven help us.

    • Anonymous says:

      How exactly will a public platform end corruption??

      • Anonymous says:

        It will help show that politicians cousins and children are making millions off lucrative contracts that would not otherwise be publicised. Did you not see what was in the Panama Papers?

    • Anonymous says:

      How so? What exactly did the public glean from the publication of tax information from the UK PM etc? What fraud and corruption and tax evasion (lawful) was divulged? Bit fat nothing! Don’t be so quick to give away you right to privacy, or baby with bath water….

    • Anonymous says:

      Would that be the same public who struggle with evasion and avoidance?

      • Anonymous says:

        Mmm, journalists, investigation agents, lobbying groups. They all know the difference. Those are the ones you are scared of.

        • Anonymous says:

          Seriously, everyone of those you mention have had the Panama papers for a year, their spokesman said most of the transactions were legal so they resorted to a ‘moral’ argument where-by they try to shame people with no recourse available for rebutal. You end up with a farce of having to publish private tax submissions to prove you did nothing wrong. A trial by internet of mob mentality whipped up by percieved injustice, led by those that don’t know the difference. Yep, sign me up, what could possibly go wrong. The UK still issues bearer shares and has no idea who owns accounts and companies, they cancelled the regressive due diligence that was imposed on overseas jurisdictions, because it was too hard and costly. Anyone with an existing account may have no beneficial owner information on record in the UK and no requirement for Banks to ask. It’s a complete joke, all the new requirements have been papered over a very dodgy foundation.

          • Anonymous says:

            What is wrong with a moral argument? Using havens to facilitate morally dodgy deals in the vice most of the onshore world considers needs to end quickly. You seem to be happy to do the immoral as long as it is not illegal. The rest of the world is taking a different view and if the collateral damage is a few dodgy relatives of politicians and some parasitic islands with a tiny population there is little by way of a moral downside.

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to mention London, Delaware etc…in their own mother lands….the hypocritical tyranny continues….

  10. Bigger Whopper says:

    Annddd Checkmate

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