BOTs pushed to do more on tax transparency

| 28/11/2017 | 54 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dame Margaret Hodge and Minister Tara Rivers

(CNS): Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the leaders of the British Overseas Territories to Downing Street Monday, after they arrived in London for the annual Joint Ministerial Council meeting this week. While the PM had good news for some territories, as her government has confirmed a new £70 million package of recovery and reconstruction support for the islands hit by the severe hurricanes this season, there was less good news for territories like the Cayman Islands which are dependent on the financial services sector. With the EU blacklist announcement just over a week away, May indicated that more needs to be done on transparency.

Following the ramped up focus on offshore finance, taxation and transparency since the Paradise Papers leak, May recognised that much work had been done following the Panama Papers leak last year, as she thanked the territories for the leadership they have shown and steps taken to implement international standards. But according to a release from her office, she asked for similar leadership to show what more can be done to make further progress on the issue.

A group of a dozen British members of Parliament from various parties recently wrote to the prime minister asking that she set a deadline for the offshore sectors under British control to publish their beneficial owner registers. Although May has expressed her wish for more transparency, she has not endorsed the request for public registers, which was championed by her predecessor, David Cameron. The PM is also believed to be fighting in the BOT’s corner over their potential blacklisting in Europe.

During the meeting with May, Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin stated his appreciation for the work being done by the British government regarding this list and stressed the importance that such help to the territories to continue.

“I pointed out to the prime minister that, given all that the Cayman Islands has done over the decades around transparency and in the fight against financial crime, including tax evasion, that we do not belong on any list of non-cooperative countries,” he said in a release from his office. “In fact, Cayman has not only cooperated but the work we have done has been recognised by entities such as the OECD. This is not something larger countries can say.”

Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers also met with Dame Margaret Hodge (Labour-Barking), who has been a vocal critic of offshore financial centres. Hodge has called on the UK Treasury to compel the overseas territories and crown dependencies to publish public registers showing “who owns what and where”.

During the recent budget debate in the UK she said the British government should outlaw the secrecy that leads to such massive tax injustices. “The Paradise Papers showed us that the problems created by secrecy are much bigger and more complex than we ever thought possible. That’s why we need to legislate for transparency in our tax havens,” she told MPs.

Rivers reportedly discussed her concerns and sought to “assist her in better understanding the work done in Cayman and to show that not only does the Cayman Islands cooperate in regard to tax matters, but that the country provides a benefit to the UK”, according to a release.

Rivers said,“I enjoyed meeting Dame Hodge; and although we expressed our differences of opinion with regards to the financial services business conducted in Cayman, I took the opportunity to strongly present our case based on facts, and I appreciated her willingness to listen.”

London officials indicated that May also updated the BOT leaders on the Brexit talks and asked them to make their views known so they could be properly reflected in the negotiations.

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Category: Politics

Comments (54)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is just anti-competitiveness. No different to taxi drivers trying to increase the regulation on Uber so it can’t compete on price. Increase costs for Cayman so it can’t afford to be low-tax. Just like with Uber, ordinary people will be the losers. Tax competition is a good thing and Cayman and the OTs are doing a great service by keeping the greedy onshore tax authorities honest. Keep it up!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Tax competition is good for the capital wealthy 0.001% of the world. It is terrible for the billions and billions whose quality of life is harmed by the effects.




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      • Unison says:

        You are so wrong. A few wealthy people do not harm “billions and billions” of people! Rather, it is your governments that tax people, interfere with the exchange of good and services, and make laws for a selected wealthy few. Your corrupt governments are the problem!

        And an Offshore Financial Center is a threat to them and their tax regime – and should be! 😐




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  2. Karl Perkins says:

    Wha wha goin ya i thought all this was fix by Aldon da pretender and Wayne wonder!!! Blacklist Blacklist??????wotch you talkin bout willis?????




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  3. Sucka Free Cayman says:

    A Bunch sucka’s Given the opportunity they would all be here slurping up all the likka and white sand. They simply too old and too miserable now to enjoy life so they believe everybody must suffer because they didn’t get opportunities to do so.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Upto our gonads in compliance, more so than the US, UK and most of the EU and they still want more?




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  5. Unison says:

    @ 2:07 a.m.

    BECAUSE OF YOUR LACK OF FAITH IN GOD, YOU HAVE A SCARCE MENTALITY.

    I made a fish pot and catch many fish. I made a fish pot! Get it?! 😐 You made a fishing rod and caught no fish. You MADE a fishing rod! God gave us both a brain and a brawn!

    So now, you realize you are poor and in dire need of fish. You are too prideful to ask me for fish or work for me. And you are too tolerant and liberal with your government interfering and destroying your free market! Yet you go to an EU politician who is crony man and loves taxing your people as well!

    So you go to him and say, there is this rich man that has many fish stored away in the Cayman Islands. We have nothing. He placed them in deep freeze without saying anything to anyone 😐 How selfish, greedy, and evil of him! This is not fair! I have no fish and you want global dominance. Here is what we will do –

    Let us conspire and plan how we can take or steal from this man!  If he should resist, let us put him to shame, blacklisted the entire Cayman Islands, and destroy all his fish pots!

    Now you tell me who is in the wrong? The hospitable Cayman Islands towards those who are honest and successful??? 😐

    Unison




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    • Anonymous says:

      You lost me already from the first sentence.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I think the first sentence evidences what Marx considered the opiate quality of religion.




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      • Unison says:

        In other words, folk who lack faith in their god-potential, are the first ones supporting government handouts or enforcement of a welfare state.

        Thats how I see.




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  6. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry Cayman, Trump soon blow his load at N Korea and they will forget us for a while.




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  7. Unison says:

    Here is where some on the Conservative and righteous side of the UK Parliament would be elated with joy to see our Independence in a responsible way. We have a name, a good banking record, and a huge global clientele, and if the crumbling EU should cause some good clients to leave us, so be it. A blacklist is not our demise. We can always get our clients elsewhere. The EU and UK continues to tax the successful in their jurisdictions to death and then makes us the scapegoat. But stealing and doing bad will catch up on you.

    As well, there will be opposition in the UK Parliament against us – oh yes, most definitely! The leftist’s elite will fight us to the bone for the redistribution of wealth if we so much mentions steps towards a responsible Independence or alliance with another power. And the fear mongering loyalists on our islands will most definitely skylark every reason why the MLAs should put up and shut up. The evil opposition may even go as far as to impose a TCI like British Rule upon us to weaken us and keep us like colonial days. They are very dirty and cunning law-makers that mean us no good. Whether we comply with standards or not, they are in it to destroy our OFC banking industry once and for all. It really looks like it. This will effect our businesses and local people domestically.

    Nevertheless, I think our MLAs need to start acting in unison and not mere political talk. They need to start forming alliances – especially, with economic powerhouses. The old saying comes to mind, “don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

    Unison




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  8. MI6 in Paradise says:

    No matter what Cayman does it will end up on some blacklist with continued threats for further blacklisting.

    It is delusional to think that the U.K. will ever assist or champion the merits and high standards of regulation and compliance with international standards of the Cayman Islands financial services industry. They want Cayman out of the business immediately and will continue to apply even more political pressure while hiding behind the socialist EU agenda and G8 countries.

    The national discussion and time table for independence in 20 years should commence promptly. If Cayman has to chose between becoming like the rest of the Caribbean solely dependent on tourism and agriculture or fighting to remain a key player in the offshore financial services business by controlling its own destiny there is no need for a lengthy debate.

    The U.K. are not and will never come to Cayman’s defense. Therefore Cayman should start preparations for the inevitable and its manifest destiny.




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    • Anonymous says:

      There is no tenable scenario for the Cayman Islands to severe itself from the global economy. We are an isolated island territory with limited natural resources, ledgering unsentimental tax neutral capital that can simply redomicile. Not a penny of those assets are physically custodied here.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Great seamen though. If by “great” you mean cheap, non-unionized and willing to undercut US going rates.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    Public registers are the only way to stop the rich abusing tax havens. Once the world knows what happens in these shady places then the world can take proper steps to protect the poor, young, ill and needy from the greedy of the capital rich. Children needing medical care cannot wait until a billionaire chooses to repatriate income, if he ever chooses to do so.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Show us the public registers in the UK, where bearer share companies were still being advertised up until a year ago. Point us to the public Delaware shareholder registry, where a disposable company can be established online in under 3 minutes. Tell us again how the entire global legal profession is exempt from PCAMLCTF client KYC and FATF directives. Call out the Trillions laundered via nominees, lawyers via poorly regulated real estate transactions around the globe. Better yet, change your 90,000 pages of ineffectual tax code, and wipe out Trillions in Accounting Firm GDP contributions. None of these very real problems have anything to do with the Cayman Islands or its tax neutrality, and you aren’t going to solve any of those problems by having an ability to leaf through a catalog of beneficial owners that are more-likely-than-not adhering to their domestic obligations, however flawed.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Real economies do not have to play by the same rules as the parasitic tax havens. It is much simpler to blacklist and require a public register. No-one is forcing Cayman to offer this business, it is up to the jurisdiction then whether it wants it or not.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Perhaps it’s a fault of neglected PR, or a failure to sue newspaper editors, that the average middle-income socialist is unaware of where the Cayman Islands has stood on the recognition of foreign taxation matters for over a decade. Many do not know that the Cayman Islands were early adopters of the global Common Reporting Standard (CRS), and trailblazers among OFCs on Foreign Account Tax Compliant Act (FATCA) and the creation of the Model One Agreement – or that these, along with >30 bilateral Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) have been signed since 2001, or that the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has an MOU with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. It’s a pity this industry jargon remains beyond the mental horizon of the average NPR/BBC/CBC/ICIJ audience, who understandably, are unlikely to be familiar with the tens of thousands of pages of domestic tax code that legally allow certain forms of tax deferments under specialized circumstances. That is not a “Cayman Islands” problem.

          “The Common Reporting Standard (CRS), developed in response to the G20 request and approved by the OECD Council on 15 July 2014, calls on jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis. It sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions required to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as common due diligence procedures to be followed by financial institutions.”

          http://www.oecd.org/tax/automatic-exchange/common-reporting-standard/




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          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, yes, yes. But everyone who works in the industry knows this is PR tripe. Cayman stops people having to pay tax when they don’t want to pay tax, stops people having to pay money owed to ex-wives and children and allows people to hide cash from creditors.




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            • Anonymous says:

              We double-dare you to attempt to open an account or subscribe to a hedge fund in the Cayman Islands and try all the crap you think people are getting away with. Perhaps then you will become better informed when the onshore authorities take you to task.




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            • Anonymous says:

              You won’t find anyone current in this industry that would characterize CRS, FATCA the MOUs, MLAT, and TIEAs as tripe. Most pros spend hundreds of hours a year reviewing files for internal and external compliance, and have been doing so for years.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Whats parasitic is government confiscating and redistributing property, and worse the parasites that receive these redistributions.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Bearer shares have been illegal in the UK since 2015. The UK (like most EU countries) has public registers for all Companies at Companies House and for all property at the Land Registry (though some land has never been registered as it hasn’t been the subject of a commercial transaction and has only changed ownership by inheritance, since registration started). All public and private limited companies have to maintain registers of share owners as well. The UK has established a Register of Trusts (deadline for registration of existing trusts is next week), though all trusts had to register with the taxman prior to this anyway, since their purpose is to obtain different tax treatment.




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        • Anonymous says:

          While share registers are maintained for Cayman Islands entities, they are not open to public scrutiny. Soon there will be an air-gapped centralized CI Registry with this info available to qualified agencies on request. For as long as privacy remains a fundamental human right, the only characters inconvenienced by this regulatory landscape will be rogue journalists (who deal in stolen data), kidnappers, and extortionists.




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          • Anonymous says:

            That depends on the entity. If it’s a private company, then I agree with you that details of share ownership should normally be private (but freely available within the shareholder group), with access being granted where appropriate to the relevant authorities. If the company is publicly traded, then not only should details of share ownership be public, but explicit notification should be filed when specific holdings exceed a certain size and/or deals of greater than an agreed percentage (1%, perhaps) of the shares are done, this would also apply to directors deals and those of others who might be in a position to influence the value of the company and shares. That is for the protection of other investors.
            Regardless of whether the entity is private or public, there should be an open public register containing the registration and contact details of each company, as well as, for Cayman, the current compliance status with pensions and health insurance payments – to allow potential employees to assess whether they want to work for that company in the first place.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Given the existence of FATCA & CRS, any discussion about “tax havens” in relation to Cayman is simply irrelevant. The rest of your rant is simply the type ignorant horsehit peddled by the “tax justice” industry, who do very well and make handsome livings out of pontificating and hypocrisy.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    If the planet wants to see more effort towards transparency, we should sell public access to a searchable database of Cayman Islands entities, their date of incorporation, whether they are in good standing, and their registered office info. Other OFCs do this and it generates some money from those curious. It won’t give angling “investigators” or kidnappers the UBO info, but will make it easier for them to know if concerns are current, or historical, and where they need to go for more info. Many of the so-called revelations from stolen data are in regards to entities long retired, and it would be useful if everyone, including governments and journalists, could verify that via a simple “pay to play” public interface.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You must be sick in your head




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      • Anonymous says:

        Selling access to the CI Registry is a good idea. Bahamas and BVI do it already. With the name of the company anyone can pay $10-25 online to get:
        “Date of Incorp”, “Current Registry Status”, “Registered Office Info and Contact”. That’s it. CI Registry already publishes a list of struck companies for free. It’s something…and not the private Director/UBO data.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    Don’t hold your breath Alden –




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  12. Soldier Crab says:

    Good for Alden; can you imagine if someone else (naming no names) was representing us at this time?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Do you mean someone like either Moses Kirkonnell or Tara Rivers or Joey Hew or Juliana O’Connor-Connolly or McKeeva Bush as the new leader of ppm and potentially Premier after the 2021 elections?




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  13. Anonymous says:

    What a bunch of BS. We comply with more standards than any developed country in the world. Including the US. Does U.K. US or EU have public beneficial ownership registries. No. Does US comply with CRS. No. I could go on and on but why bother. Guess what. The coming EU “black list” pre-exempts all EU member countries. What a f*ing joke. Not to mention China and Switzerland. And on and on. None will be on the list. UK thanks for nothing.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Can you look up the details of every company registered in the Cayman Islands online? No you can’t and that’s one of the issues. Don’t know about the USA but in the UK by using a company’s name I can find out who the directors are, when they last filed accounts and whole load of other useful info. I can also do the same in most EU countries. As for Margaret Hodge? I’ve met her and had dealings with her when she was chair of the UK’s PAC – that lady won’t take BS from anybody and she’ll see Tara for exactly what she is. And for obvious legal reasons I won’t elaborate on that comment.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Your issue is that you want the convenience of finding this information online for free so that you can write sensational articles about the UBOs.




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        • Anonymous says:

          5:05 I just want the convenience of being able to access it online even if there is a fee involved. You don’t get that in the Cayman Islands.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Indeed. La Hodge’s shares came from offshore if I remember correctly – from the Times in 2015:

          “just under 96,000 Stemcor shares handed to Ms Hodge in 2011 came from [Liechtenstein], which is renowned for low tax rates. Three quarters of the shares in the family’s Liechtenstein trust had previously been held in Panama, which Ms Hodge described last month as “one of the most secretive jurisdictions” with “the least protection anywhere in the world against money laundering”. The veteran Labour MP was accused of sheer hypocrisy. She has repeatedly attacked big businesses and bankers who used offshore arrangements, but has not declared that she benefited from an offshore trust.”




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  14. Anonymous says:

    And so “mother” begins to spank the red haired step child into submission….




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  15. Carl Perkins says:

    Ask her to withdraw all the moles they have in place in our financial industry Alden i bet you ask her that you Punk!




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  16. Anonymous says:

    When can we stop the bs about this stuff.
    The cayman islands were and are a money laundry paradise.
    Billionaires (good and bad) move their money to accounts here to avoid taxes,
    Terrorists keep offshore bank accounts to channel their contributions, drug cartels same thing, corrupt politicians, catholic church etc etc.
    Stop pretending as if we do everything by the book, because we don’t .
    Millions are borrowed and paid off the same day, a famous money laundry trick.

    Please stop covering it all up for the public.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Hey why let facts get in the way of a SUPER HOT TAKE like this one.




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    • Anonymous says:

      What a perfect example of a sweeping generalization. No critical thinking skills demonstrated whatsoever.




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    • Anonymous says:

      What nonsense. Go back to reading trashy airport fiction.




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    • Unison says:

      Even if that was true, it still doesn’t justify them harassing us to disclose private information. No good ethics in this! Who are they to tell us how to do business as an OFC? Socialist!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Leaving it a little late for most idiotic post of the year but I think you’ve clinched it. Congratulations.




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  17. Anonymous says:

    the problem that i have with the transparency issue is that they are constantly changing the goalposts. they say cayman do this to satisfy us we do and tomorrow they come back with something different. now we are transparent than their banks. welcome to the world of bullying small nations




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