Crown Dependencies remain target of UK MPs

| 03/05/2018 | 34 Comments
Cayman News Service

Crown Dependencies

(CNS): The two members of the British parliament who led the cross-party campaign to force the British Overseas Territories to establish open beneficial ownership registers have said that they are continuing that campaign to ensure it also applies to the Crown Dependencies. Government and private sector entities here and in other BOTs have all expressed particular outrage about the injustice and inequity that the dependencies were not targeted, further compounding the challenge to the economic fortunes of the relevant territories.

But Andrew Mitchell (Con) and Margaret Hodge (Lab) have said that they intend to pursue the campaign to include Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man and to ensure those jurisdictions are also persuaded to adopt open registers.

Leaving out the Crown Dependencies while forcing BOTs such as the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and BVI that have financial service sectors was regarded as especially hypocritical. The dependencies, which are located close to Britain, are engaged in very similar offshore financial business as the overseas territories and if they can maintain closed registers, it will give them a significant competitive edge.

And it appears that Hodge and Mitchell both agree, as they said they will be seeking ways to extend the principle of public registers to those jurisdictions as well.

“It’s unconscionable that these measures should apply to one set of territories and not the other,” Hodge told the UK press yesterday. “We need consistency between them all.”

Mitchell said all of the MPs supporting what is seen by the campaigners as a victory for transparency and accountability expected the UK government to persuade the Crown Dependencies to introduce public ownership registers too. “But if they do not, parliament will return to the charge,” he added.

The dependencies have so far managed to dodge the bullet fired at the BOTs Tuesday because their constitutional position differs from the territories. It was not clear that mandating a public register for them in the amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-money Laundering Bill would be legal.

However, many believe that the push to include the Crown Dependencies is more of a political rather than a lawful question as the UK government has no history of imposing laws on them. On the other hand, the territories have experienced the imposition of laws they did not want by British government through Orders-in-Council, such as the abolition of the death penalty and decriminalising homosexuality.

The nuances of politics and law on the issue of the imposition of a public beneficial ownership registry over the next two years will be important as the Cayman government has already signaled it is likely to take legal action against it. The obvious discriminatory nature mandating the territories to have an open register while leaving the dependencies alone would certainly play a part in any legal case.

Mitchell said he is now investigating the best mechanism to force the dependencies to adopt the public register if they cannot be persuaded to do so voluntarily.

However, the Crown Dependencies are likely to object just as loudly as the territories have to the issue that is seen as an attack on privacy. Representatives from those three islands have already voiced the arguments that have been made here in Cayman about the problems with unverified open registers.

While Cayman, Bermuda and other offshore financial centres do not have publicly accessible open registers, the registers they have are all verified and accurate. They are also accessible to hundreds of law enforcement agencies and tax authorities around the world.

But Britain’s own public register, which is currently known as the ‘people with significant control’ register, is not verified. It has already been heavily criticised because no one is checking that the people claiming to have that control are the owners of companies, which defeats the purpose.

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Category: Business, Financial Services

Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Pay tax for what? To support the UK’s home grown terrorists? The UK is a breeding hole for terrorists alike now and everyone knows it. Best we stay out of that mumbo jumbo.

    • RICK says:

      Nope, get your independence and send expats home. Run your country how you see it. Stop complaining. No UK rule and no expats should make Caymanians happy

  2. Caymanian says:

    This is all to force Cayman into taxes to make us in line with other nations

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    • RICK says:

      Well think of it, if you all start paying taxes then expats will think twice about taking up a work permit. Then there would be no need for you all to complain about expats wanting PR or Status. You all can have your island for your self funded by Caymanians

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I doubt that…the only reason they were excluded was to grab a bigger market share of offshore financial business.

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  4. Guy Fawkes says:

    Wait till Papa Putin puts the UK in their place again.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, sure they are.

    We’ve seen this smoke and mirrors show many times before – same crap, different day.
    UK is full of sh!t.

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  6. Cousin RICKI says:

    Oh please get over it Cayman you are finito

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Just making other tax havens more attractive. Luxembourg must be partying hard tonight in Switzerland! Congratulations UK, you just played yourself.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Bahamas, Panama, Curacao, the list of non-UK competitors that will continue to honor and value privacy is long. Any family-office or privacy sensitive trust business will quietly re-domicile in next two years before the deadline and won’t be coming back. There will be no great revelations as a product of this disclosure, only much-disadvantaged Hurricane-recovering Dependent Territories, and sadly, more reliant than ever on their duplicitous Mother.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Still, it is better that the UK ensures it is not responsible for this sort of immoral parasitism.

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        • Jotnar says:

          The UK? You mean the country that allows Russian oligarchs to reside there but agree that in exchange for a fee they are not tax resident? The country that has an open register, but one in which not only are there no checks on the declared identity of beneficial owners, but in the same vote that sought to force BOTs to have a register the MPs voted down amendments to introduce such checks? The same country that actively solicits weapons contracts with Middle Eastern states like Saudi despite their appalling human rights record and current activities in Yemen, then provides fawning reception for their Crown Prince? That bastion of moral example? Really?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Number one. Crooks looking to conceal ownership will now just go to other jurisdictions which aren’t tracked. Two. If crock want to conceal ownership they just self certify in the U.K. #WasteOfTime

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    • Anonymous says:

      So by implication you think it’s okay to allow crooks to remain registered here because they are tracked? Complete BS, get rid of them, they’ll probably come up on US and UK radar when they jump, if they jump.
      Cayman’s time as a haven for illegal money is coming to an end. It’s also about time that property ownership was investigated to stop the dumping of cash into real estate and the numerous other scams used to hide stolen revenue from countries around the world.
      I bet most of the high end property on this island came from the proceeds of hidden cash and the ill gotten gain of various criminality. We should be ashamed of our past reputation as the cess pit of the criminal underworld and haven for murderous money. Many billions that come through Cayman would be and should be used for the worlds sick and poor, yet the rich believe it’s okay to keep it all for themselves. Disgusting.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman’s time as a haven for illegal money game to an end quite a long time ago. You are however, correct that “past reputation” is what current politicians appear to believe.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Right and the city of London does the same with less compliance and international agreements #rolleyes

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      • Anonymous says:

        “US and UK radar”…lol. #Bless.

      • Anonymous says:

        And how is it our concern that the use of the billions that come through here are not used for the sick and the poor. It’s not our money, we offer a service that people use. How would you like it if your mechanic told you that you could only use your car to pick up hitch hikers on certain days of the week and was able to force you to do so?

        How about bitching to the financial institutions that allow the money to be sent here to begin with. Most countries have regulations to report when large sums of money leave them. Why don’t those institutions let their governments know so their governments can do something about it as well?

        Cayman has been working hard to break the stigma of our “past reputation as the cess pit of the criminal under world and a haven for murderous money.” Or have you had your head entirely up a dark smelly crevice on the lower back half of your body these past many years?

        Please stop trolling and go away.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Anything over $10,000 in terms of transfers are tracked in USD and Euro, and you better know who you are transferring money to and have a damn good reason for it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Corporate crooks have been unable to maneuver freely in the Cayman Islands for many years, due to ever-increasing transparency and global-leading compliance efforts on tax and PCMLATF. Privacy remains a fundamental right for everyone. Keeping one’s financial affairs private doesn’t mean that there is any sinister motive for that privacy. We shouldn’t be equating that UN protected right with being a crook as the UK MPs, and naive 20 year old NGO workers are doing.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Saying, and doing are two different things.

  10. Anonymous says:

    …and a free pass also to the multitude of less compliant jurisdictions around the world…still unable or unwilling to meet basic FATF-mandated PCMLATF Standards…

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    • Anonymous says:

      But the secrecy surrounding havens like the Caymans gives the immoral of the world the veneer of respectability and compliance with appropriate norms when arranging their tax dodging and receipts from corruption.

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      • Anonymous says:

        What secrecy? We already have a BOR far superior to the UK you numpty!

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        • Anonymous says:

          And these are only accessed by state entities. The Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers show how the rich use secrecy jurisdictions to keep their money from taxation.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Point to a single conviction any of these idiotic disclosure laws have amounted to in the last decade? NONE. It only makes it harder to the average person to do business and deposit honest money here. By the way the banking sector here IS ALREADY DESTROYED. You just don’t know it yet. NO OFFSHORE COMPANIES OF ANY KIND are opening bank accounts here any longer except the local population. Investment funds lo longer open up back accounts here in Cayman. Let see how long the banking jobs hold up! The investment market is going away you scanty fools!

      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly, your song book is over a decade or more out of date.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not so. It is 100% aligned with the attitude of the people of the real tax-paying world who are sick and tired of parasitic offshore havens helping the rich hide their money and allowing the corrupt to profit at the expense of the common man. That golden goose is well and truly cooked.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Bless.

          • Jotnar says:

            Perhaps more about the politicians in those tax paying countries trying to deflect attention from their own failures, including tax enforcement, by throwing rocks at small jurisdictions who actually do comply with OECD and FATF rules, whilst completely ignoring those major economies who don’t meet the same standard – because the man in the street simply doesn’t understand that Delaware or even the City are far easier places to evade tax and launder money than the glamorous offshore locations which Hollywood loves to demonise.

          • Anonymous says:

            you are obviously shifting blame for your onshore country’s failure to implement proper tax laws. Try so hush!

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