Premier calls UK move on BOTs ‘colonial despotism’

| 01/05/2018 | 191 Comments
Cayman Premier Alden McLaughlin

Cayman Premier Alden McLaughlin and Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers talks to UK Chancellor Philip Hammond

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin has said that the Cayman Islands Government is considering a legal challenge to the news today that the British parliament has voted to force its overseas territories to introduce public registers showing the beneficial owners of the companies domiciled there. “The actions of the House of Commons in seeking to legislate for the Cayman Islands amount to constitutional overreach and are reminiscent of the worst injustices of a bygone era of colonial despotism,” he said in a statement following the vote Tuesday.

The British Overseas Territories, but not the Crown Dependencies, are facing the mandatory requirement of allowing public access to the information about who owns and benefits from the financial entities here before the end of 31 December 2020. As a result, McLaughlin said, his government was “keeping all options on the table, including a legal challenge”.

McLaughlin said his government was “deeply aggrieved” by the move and that it violated the accepted and conventional constitutional relationships between the UK and the Cayman Islands.

“The Cayman Islands has its own democratically elected government and is not represented in the UK Parliament,” he stated. “Imposition of legislation, through powers that date back to the colonial era, over and above the wishes of the democratically elected legislative bodies of the overseas territories represents a gross affront to the constitutional relationship we currently have with the United Kingdom.”

Railing against the pass given to the crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, the premier said, “Imposing such an obligation on the overseas territories while exempting the crown dependencies discriminates unfairly against the overseas territories. This amendment is based solely on prejudice and a wilful misunderstanding of our current regulatory framework.”

Central public registers are not the global standard and the Cayman government had believed that the UK would resist imposing public register on the territories until they were — something the governor had also indicated was the case at a recent press briefing.

“Since 2013 I have been completely clear that, when public registers become a global standard, the Cayman Islands will adopt them,” McLaughlin said. “The actions in the House of Commons today seeks to impose the UK’s own flawed system of unverified public registers upon the Overseas Territories by the end of 2020.”

He also accused the members of the British parliament of double standards, as during the same debate it voted down an amendment to the UK’s Companies Act, which would have required due diligence on beneficial owners of UK companies in order to prevent money laundering.

The premier’s outrage was matched by Minister of Financial Services Tara Rivers.

“Even more unfortunate, today’s actions indicate that, for political expediency, the UK has chosen to ignore Cayman’s high level of ongoing cooperation which is embedded in our laws and international agreements,” she said, as she pointed to the more than 100 tax authorities and crime agencies that already have access to information about who owns what and how much in relation to Cayman companies.

“Verified beneficial ownership information on Cayman structures has been available to the UK’s legal, regulatory and tax authorities for more than 15 years, and our agreement on the sharing of information with the United Kingdom authorities is of such strength that we have committed to reporting within 24 hours, or within 1 hour in the case of a truly emergent situation.”

However, these claims by the Cayman government and the offshore sector about standards and transparency have failed to gain the necessary traction with British politicians, who have been subject to a significant lobbying over the last few years. This was  compounded by recent events relating to the flow of illicit money funding the West’s ‘virtual cold war’ with Russia, through the offshore and onshore financial system.

CNS has contacted Cayman Finance about the industry position on the news and we are awaiting a response. However, the organisation unveiled a new project today to help the sector promote the jurisdiction and share accurate information about the jurisdiction. 

It said in a press release that the “Industry Ambassador Programme” was targeting  the 7,000 people working in the local financial services sector to equip them with the knowledge required to champion the benefits of using the jurisdiction.

One of the areas would be what a tax haven is and why Cayman does not meet that definition.

“As we continue to promote the Cayman Islands as a premier global financial hub, we will be proactive in dispelling myths and ensuring we are informing the public both locally and globally that we are a well-regulated and highly reputable jurisdiction that meets the highest global standards,” Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott said in the release.

Related article: UK to force BOTs to make BO registers public

See more documents on beneficial ownership in the CNS Library

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Category: Business, Financial Services

Comments (191)

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  1. Shhhhhhhhhh. says:

    Check all those dirty money special shared Scottish bank accounts for their Russian crime connections, and see how many donate to the party fund!!

  2. KGB finest says:

    Can’t wait for Papa Putin to put England in their place again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Stop beggig the UK now cayman had enough chance to prepare for it’s own destiny. Power and greed choked it what a joke premier.

  4. Anonymous says:

    the rich will always try and find ways of avoiding taxes!!!now i will sit in my hammock and enjoy the tropical beezes??

  5. Anonymous says:

    In light of relatively recent scandalous discoveries, the former British colonies should collectively compile data and facts and file a retroactive “Crimes Against Humanity” claim against the British government for their vindictive and calculated actions to guarantee economic, social, health, and welfare hardships of their affected citizens.

    At a minimum, it will shine a light into the darkness on the global stage for the world to finally understand what has truly transpired over the last few decades.

    Having this conversation at every latest shameful antic of the British government (and its powerful partners; IMF, World Bank, WTO, Council of Foreign Relations (CFR), United Nations, USA, France, etc.) is tiresome and unnecessary.

    They do so as they are comfortable in the fact the world is widely ignorant to their historic shenanigans. They are truly the lowest of the low.

    On-going neo-colonial manipulation is the great final taboo that must be exposed for the masses to better understand the world in which we live.

    #MeToo #LGBTQI #BLM movements have their rightful places as it regards progress and equality which provide a facade of success, however, the strongest national proponents thereof have ZERO interest in uncovering and addressing the (original) sins of FAR GREATER importance and global repercussions.

    Think regional instability, refugee crises, xenophobia, (return) and rise of western White Nationalism aka racism, terrorism, and such.

    Some groups have their “never again” branded onto the modern psyche. Many others are left to fend for themselves without a single, genuine partner in this world.


    – Whodatis

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is worthy of going independent.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Premiere: Please use the art of “drag-your-feet”. Exactly what they have done with FATCA.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s make sure the Mexican cartel has access to this too, so they can kidnap the children of the “wealthy”.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Go for independence, no one will stop you but don’t start crying when you can’t travel and the money dries up. Be prepared to put that mythical hard working Caymanian mantra into practice because you will be on your own bobo.

    • RICK says:

      But these are the same people that cry discrimination when they can’t get a job and cuss expats

  10. Anonymous says:

    Interesting that for decades Cayman has promoted itself as a credible Offshore Financial Centre on the basis that it WAS a Crown Colony/ Overseas Territory, and it’s links to the UK made it a trustworthy place to put your cash & assets.

  11. Turx says:

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the BOT’s in the Caribbean joined together without the UK similar and adopted a union similar to the EU. Individually we won’t have enough say/power but collectively we can be very dynamic.

  12. Common Sense says:

    “Since 2013 I have been completely clear that, when public registers become a global standard, the Cayman Islands will adopt them,” McLaughlin said.

    “When everyone jumps off a bridge, we jump too.”

    “When everyone implements socialism, we will too.”

    “When everyone gives in to ripping human rights apart, we will too.”

    “When everyone abolishes privacy, we will too.”

    “If everyone acts stupid, I am the man for you to copy that behaviour! That’s why I am your Premier. Hail me!”

  13. Anonymous says:

    Cancel work permits, yeah right. This is a Territory not a country. Reciprocal fall out will mean no UK passports, a visa to go to the US, no access to global markets on the back of the U.K. debt guarantee – shall I go on.
    Look at the U.K. media, apart from the original vote there is no reporting. The OT’s mean nothing to white van man ( google it).
    Go your own way, enjoy.

    • pete says:

      the UK/EU will never be fully satisfied with us. They ask us to make changes. we make those changes tomorrow they come back with more. and the ultimate insult is that they ignore what is going on in their own country.

    • Anonymous says:

      Care to elaborate a bit more on the UK debt guarantee?

      • Anonymous says:

        Our credit and access to capital markets hinges on the UK ultimately backstopping our loans. We have a little less than $400mln outstanding in interest and principal coming due Nov 2019, and CIG plans to refinance half of that against increasing expenditures, unfunded liabilities, and with new prospect of much-diminished revenue.

      • Jar Jar Binks says:

        There is no debt guarantee. ID10T

        • Anonymous says:

          There is in real terms. The UK’s credit rating would be negative affected by a BOT default. Without the practical backing of the UK, BOT government borrowing would be much more expensive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your afraid our you wouldn’t bother reply.

  14. Oversea’r says:

    The only comment on this matter if our government and all the the companies in the special economic zone are legitimate with their governments/countries then why are we worried? From what I understand the UK government only want what is due to them. What is so wrong with that?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s already reported to the tax authorities, they already get their pound of flesh, the objections are that the general public (read press) will be granted access to private data, and something that isn’t gathered by the UK, and not a requirement for most places. This isn’t about the UK safeguarding their tax base, that was covered by the automatic exchange of information.

    • Anonymous says:

      Families in most of the world have legitimate life and death concerns about mafias, corrupt police, and kidnapping and ransom risks. It’s something most of us (luckily) will never have to worry about from our ivory towers. Our comparatively superior security doesn’t erase those real concerns or give uninformed MPs in the UK the right to compel dangerous disclosures for otherwise law abiding and tax paying people – simply because they are curious.

  15. Calculator says:

    The thing is easier than you all think it is.

    Look at this website:

    I cite: “The Cayman Islands … [have] over 92,000 companies registered with the Registry of Companies”

    Those 92K are scrutinised all the way up the colon. I know exactly what I’m saying.

    Additionally most of the connected bank accounts are being reported to home countries of UBOs (Ultimate Beneficial Owners). You probably heard of the automatic exchange of financial information, right? In other words, the home tax authorities should know exactly what’s going on. Hiding? Pointless. Especially when you’re from the UK, US, France, Germany, and many more, or when you’re a person with political ties. Anyone resident in those countries trying to evade tax with a KY vehicle is a dumb piece of meat. The measures already in place are filtering those idiots out. No need for all UBOs to be displayed on Google. For what?

    Anyone who still uses the Caymans today uses them for widely legal purposes (and not more illegal than it is possible with a UK/EU or Delaware company – probably even much less illegal because the latter don’t have any of that scrutinising). KYC/AML, the automatic bank account reporting of UBOs, the scrutinising, and all that make it not only less likely but nearly impossible to evade tax from high tax countries and/or have terror financiers in the books.

    Now lets take a guess how many of those 92K are in the Caymans because of the temperatures? None!

    Maybe because of the nice people? None!

    Because of the tax neutrality? Bingo!

    And what else? Yes, the privacy. And that’s not to evade tax. On what? The money in the bank is reported. So if there is still somebody not paying income tax in their home country after the tax authorities there are given all the info, then I’m sorry, but then it’s the problem of their stupidity (the tax authorities’ stupidity).

    So what’s left? Tax neutral business (which is different from the income tax for the individual, for those who don’t know) and PRIVACY.

    Now take the privacy away and replace that by a pretty database indexed by Google. How many of the 92K will leave? Make a guess!

    How many companies do you think will leave the Cayman Islands, when the Caymans sell the owner’s privacy out?

    Lets just say 50K will leave … perhaps even many more (I estimate MAAANY more). But let’s just stick with 50K, shall we?

    Each company brings at least 5K to the country. Annually. Average. Some more, some less. All adding to the GDP. Going to the pockets of incorporators, secretaries, assistants, accountants, compliance officers, the government … and so on. Making the wheel of economy turn. In the end it even goes to the pockets of bar tenders, shop owners, and so on.

    50K x 5K per year = 250 mil per year … 2.5 bln in 10 years

    You are whining about some hundred million dollar debt? Seriously?!
    I mean the person who posted at 02/05/2018 at 12:17 pm

    You are whining that the Caymans could not pay it back if they were not the appendix of London anymore? Because then the Caymans would not have the credit rating of the UK?

    If the UK successfully forces the Caymans to put the UBOs on Google, the Caymans have a much bigger problem with their overall economy and debt than those peanuts mentioned in the earlier comment.

    Plus if the UK successfully managed to force the Caymans to do something so utterly stupid and unnecessary (as there is no additional benefit other than feeding the nosiness of reporters and/or a jealous crowd, since the fight against terrorism and tax evasion is already covered by all measures in place) then the Caymans will be ultimately perceived as the spineless appendix of … yes, of what actually? … the spineless appendix of a steadily falling apart ex-empire that has turned socialistic. Nice reputation! Congrats on that! Every Caymanian must be SOOO proud!

    You think the Caymans will go Jamaica when declaring independence? The Caymans will go Jamaica if they don’t! That’s how it is, when this regulation kicks in!

    But yes, sure … nicely rake clean the beaches … and wait for some Americans to pop in now and then to leave a buck or two. Tourism rocks! Especially the margins … and the salaries. Bombastic! Way to go!

  16. Anonymous says:

    #cancel the BOT passports

    Your stick is a twig.

    • Anonymous says:

      Most of us have US passports even the Minister of Financial Services something that most Brit dont have

    • Anonymous says:

      It was worth taking note – the lion doesnt turn around when the small dog barks- African poverb

  17. Anonymous says:

    To all the idiots screaming independence; good luck with that recinded BOT passport. You’re going to have to go to the US Consulate in Kingston and beg them for a visa to visit Miami!

    • Media Blitz says:

      We are doing that now and with the amount of terror suspects you have at home you soon will too. Aaaah yes scare tactics, economic threats and false propaganda the only way you know and like to enforce your policies and political mandates.Modern day colonialism still alive and well eh?

  18. Anonymous says:

    No you clowns she resigned because she lied to parliament. Try reading a newspaper. 243 cases. Get a grip.


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