Cayman facing more pressure over ownership

| 03/04/2018 | 35 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands is likely to face increasing pressure over the coming months to make its beneficial ownership registry public. As the  British government seeks to sanction Russian oligarchs connected to the Kremlin in the wake of the poisoning in England of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, UK officials are again turning their attention to offshore financial centres in an effort to follow the money. Governor Anwar Choudhury has said, however, that Cayman will not be forced to create a public ownership register until it becomes the international standard. 

While Cayman is not the most popular jurisdiction for Russian billionaires, it has been involved in a number of deals regarding the Russian oil industry. And as Russian cash pours into London from what are still seen as tax havens, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and other overseas territories as well as the crown dependencies have once again become the subject of scrutiny.

Over the last week two parliamentary committees in the UK have begun examining the question of how much British territories and crown dependencies are involved in helping Russians move their ill-gotten gains around, as well as examining the latest expectations for compliance in regards the EU’s grey listing of Cayman and other offshore centres.

The governor said last week that the UK is intending to freeze Russian state assets where it threatens British people or interests and said he was confident Cayman was working with the UK to go “after the bad guys”.

He said that the current regime in Cayman regarding beneficial ownership was working well but he spoke about the need for continuing transparency as part of a wider group of nations. He said Cayman would not be expected to go it alone and be put at a disadvantage but he warned that there are expectations of greater transparency.

“We want to be part of the global transparency,” he said, adding that Cayman would follow once the practice is established but the UK now has a publicly available register. He said he hoped that “Cayman will show leadership, as we want to, on the beneficial ownership becoming more public, but we want to make sure we are not disadvantaged by it”.

He also said that action was being taken to ensure Cayman meets the requirements of the European Union and its issues regarding the latest grey and black lists.

Echoing the sentiments of the current administration on the importance of a positive message regarding the offshore sector, Choudhury said that while he was not yet going into the details of the discussions with the EU, it was now clear to the Cayman authorities what was expected before the end of this year.

Watch the UK parliamentary proceedings here

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Category: Business, Financial Services

Comments (35)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    In certain Eastern European countries, Russia was well ahead of the sanctions curve. They started local companies and paid local proxies well to do it. Why do you think that apart from oil money, Russia has not exactly been crippled by sanctions?




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  2. Anonymous says:

    What’s really up with Marijana?




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Public registers are the best way to fight corruption and criminal financing. The interest of the public as a whole in allowing access if much more important than the alleged privacy rights of the capital owning elite.




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    • Anonymous says:

      And to prove your point you will publish your full name and home address, bank account balances and institutions at the end of your next post. Thereby satisfying the public interest in ensuring that you are not engaged in corruption and criminal financing.




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      • Anonymous says:

        I do not use parasitic secrecy jurisdictions like the Caymans.




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        • Anonymous says:

          oh dear, the ignorance. Try doing some reading from OECD and various other well respected international agencies about Cayman’s compliance and transparency. Anyone wishing to defraud their own governments of tax in Cayman is on a hiding to nothing. You watch too much CSI.




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          • Anonymous says:

            Tsk tsk. Corrupt regimes use places like the Caymans to hide kickbacks to their families and friends. And state to state information sharing is pointless in such cases. When journalists have access to the truth such as they had via the Panama Papers they can stop bring such activities to light.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Public registers will also put more innocent people at risk with the criminal factions of society that are drooling to exploit this very same information. The present system here in Cayman, although a headache, is a far more balanced way to deal with the problem.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    If their is any dirty Russian money in Cayman and there is a global multilateral programme to freeze Russian owned assets, wherever they are, Cayman gets swept along with everyone else – whatever we think.




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  5. Reformed Tory says:

    The U.K. as an empire has been built on bigotry, prejudice, death and double standards. Study our history and understand diplomacy is a charade to advance a more sinister agenda of the ruling classes. Cayman is useful as we need the jurisdiction to hide our slush funds and ill gotten gains. Do you really think the House of Lords or major corporations want the public to know where public’s tax dollars are diverted to via the global financial markets? It has always been about one standard for the colonies and another for us that have saved the savages whilst pillaging your lands and resources. Chagos, Montserrat, India are examples that illustrate the point and our management of the colonies.




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  6. Anon says:

    Ms. Mad May jumped the gun on this one. Ridiculous!




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  7. Anonymous says:

    Why doesn’t the UK lead by example instead of expecting us to? The amount of Russian money invested in London is STAGGERING!




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  8. Anonymous says:

    CIMA already has an MOU with the SEC, through which, presumably, Cayman Islands-based service providers are obliged to screen their new and existing customers against Patriot Act / OFAC databases, criminal history databases, SEC Reg D 506 (d) “Bad actor Compliance Checks (the 8 sources defined by SEC), INTERPOL, OSFI/FRS Homeland Most Wanted’s, and other international Regulatory Checks for individuals and Business Entities. One would assume that most providers are diligently doing some level of this screening as a matter of internal business policy through their Compliance Departments to avoid headline risk, firm/employee/director liability, and fines. Not sure that’s true of Cyprus, Georgia, or Azerbaijan…certainly not happening in Bahrain:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/billion-dollar-sanctions-busting-scheme-aided-iran-documents-show/2018/04/03/37be988a-3356-11e8-94fa-32d48460b955_story.html?utm_term=.cfc23b35441a




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  9. Anonymous says:

    This seems nonsensical.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Taking the CNS reporting with a grain of salt:

    CNS: Explain please what you mean by this. CNS actually listened to the committee proceedings. You can read more about it here.

    First off Governor, as you should well know, if the UK Government suspected that Russian Oligarch/Kremlin funding, to support the recent poisoning originated in a Cayman corporation/LLC, they have direct access to get the information they need under Cayman’s existing laws. So the issue of access to information is a non-starter.

    Also, you hit the nail on the head – who else has published BO registers? Until there is a level playing field i.e. all financial jurisdictions (especially USA and China) – you can be sure that any Cayman government I vote into power will not be agreeing to a public register.




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    • Anonymous says:

      No offence intended CNS. Your reporting on this topic however seems to suggest that the Governor is making a correlation between: access to information on the beneficial ownership of [potentially] Cayman companies in order to further the investigation of the recent poisoning; and making beneficial ownership registers public. If this was indeed the Governor’s point, then perhaps he should not be making such correlations as the UK government has access to beneficial ownership information of Cayman companies. As Governor of the Cayman Islands he should know this. If this was not his point then he could always blame CNS for incorrect reporting : )




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  11. Anonymous says:

    All Russians should be made to go home, along with anyone who deals with them. They have zero credibility and cannot be trusted in any way shape or form.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Having come across and worked with many extremely credible Russians over several decades on perfectly legitimate projects I can tell you without doubt that your generalistic statement is both ignorant and completely untrue.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Having also come across many so called credible Russians also over a couple of decades of business dealings and not having found one you could trust, I decided just not to do business with them. Much better and easier pickings elsewhere. I suspect you may be of Russian origin. I also suspect that you choose to promote a completely corrupt and war like nation.




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      • Anonymous says:

        That you Donald? Get off the CNS and back to your Twitter.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you!

        @ 6.03 pm




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    • Anonymous says:

      They sure keep beating the wars drums don’t they, who had the most to gain in this latest blame the bad Russian poisoning the war mongers as usual, we should thank the Russians for trying to keep this world from seeing WW3, but how long can they fight them off before we’re all doomed, the radiation cloud will certainly reach all of us, anyone who thinks Russia is the bad guy on the world stage should lay off the profiganda cool aid (aka the western media) for a whil and think for yourself




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      • Frank says:

        So you’re saying Putin isn’t a war-monger? He didn’t recently sanction the murder of one of his enemies on UK soil using a banned chemical weapon. Further murders of Putin’s enemies, in Russia and in the UK, have nothing to do with him? He didn’t invade Crimea? He hasn’t eagerly supported the most disgusting regime in Syria all these years whilst it killed thousand upon thousand of its subjects, especially women and children? The list against that bastard is massive – he and his regime are evil, murderous, dangerous sons of bitches.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Yeh, right, Trump supporter? Trump is a Russian puppet…his actions so like Putins (apart from Twitter)..Russia the invader of Georgia, Ukraine, Crimea, countless border incursions, stirring up hatred, influencing elections from the US to Romania, Brexit in the UK…so peace loving!! Divide and Rule is the game and Russia is the name behind it. They just hate it when people see what they do…




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  12. Anonymous says:

    This is inevitable.




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