OT minister wants to avoid BO confrontation

| 01/05/2019 | 34 Comments
Cayman News Service

Lord Ahmad

(CNS): Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon has said that he does not see a need for the UK to get into any kind of confrontation with its overseas territories impacted by legislation passed in Britain that imposes public beneficial ownership registers on those with financial service sectors. During a visit to Bermuda last week the FCO minister responsible for the territories said that while the law requires an order in council to be triggered in 2020, they will have three years to establish the registers and during that time the UK will be pushing to make it a global standard.

“We do not believe we will get to the stage where we have to get into some sort of confrontation,” Lord Ahmad told the local press. “I don’t think we’ll get to the point where we have to test issues of a constitutional point, because I think that would be unhelpful to both sides.”

The FCO minister said that the timeline to 2023 will give the territories time to establish registers and that the UK was setting up technical working groups to help each territory to meet the deadline.

“We will ensure that as we work towards that 2023 deadline, we will do so in a very inclusive way, a way which is consensual,” he stated, adding that the UK will be pushing for registers to be adopted by all countries, meaning that it will become a global standard and therefore the territories will not be left at a competitive disadvantage.

Lord Ahmad also stressed that the Conservative government in which he serves was opposed to this action but had no choice when Parliament passed an amendment to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill.

“It was a clear government view that we did not want this amendment to carry,” Lord Ahmad said. “It was defeated in the House of Lords where I was navigating this bill. Regrettably, the opposition to the government’s position, including from the Conservative benches, meant it was clear that the numbers would not have stacked up, which was why the amendment was carried in the House of Commons.”

He said the British Government had to “respect the will of Parliament” and that meant issuing the order in council at the end of 2020 for any OT without a public beneficial ownership register by then. “We have set a timeline that reflects our ambition and are lobbying to get an international standard by 2023.”

With Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and some of the other territories frequently labelled as a “tax haven”, Lord Ahmad said combating that perception requires a collective effort.

“It’s very easy to label things,” he said. “Sometimes when you don’t want to delve into the detail, that’s an easy thing to do. That’s what’s happened with the overseas territories. We need to move away from the narrative that is not a picture of the reality,” the minister said, as he pointed to the need for more proactive messaging.

“Yes, there are some in the UK and Europe who need some insight and basic education on what our OTs represent,” he said. “And the best people to sell that concept are the people themselves.”

He said that it was not just the territories’ governments but also the responsibility of the businesses in the sector to help with the education and messaging.

But as the minister responsible for the OTs, he said he was doing “my bit in ensuring that we communicate and convey the correct nature of how our OTs… operate and the fact they are seeking to build open, progressive economies and are committed to seeking new opportunities”.

The modern relationship between Britain and its OTs was “based on partnership” and was “not about us telling them what needs to be done”, the minister added, stating that it was about having pragmatic working relationships.

“There are times when we disagree, but when we do, we do it in a very respectful manner,” he said. The OTs are “part of global Britain in 2019” and “bring incredible diversity in terms of people, resources, industries, perspectives — and that’s something that we in the UK value greatly”.

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Category: Business, Financial Services, Politics

Comments (34)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There’s not even a sex offender registry so not to worry

  2. Anonymous says:

    It seems the majority of UK MPs are as stupid as stupid can be. At a time when their relationship with the EU and reputation is fragile they seem to think they can lead the world with this BO bullcrap by trying an insane experiment on the BOTs. Weren’t the genetically-engineered mosquitoes not enough to test in the BOTs? They cannot see the harm they’re doing to themselves and their territories. No wonder Scotland has sought a second independence referendum. Seems Britain is cutting off its own arms and then attempting a sword fight with the rest of the world.

    Since the people of the BOTs do not have representation in Westminister or the EU, all BOTs need to consider options for independence from the UK. Failing to do so is a huge risk. The BOTs constitutional arrangement is ignorant as is.

  3. Anon says:

    I think we should have a House of Lords. Can you imagine – “Lord Bush of Barkers”?.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s like OPP but different. You down with it?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Clearly this is a farce at the expense of the Cayman Islands and other BOT’s. First the UK sets up a farcical public registry that is worthless and then excludes the crown dependences Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man from the requirements. Sorry folks, the jokes on us. Under these circumstances while we attempt to negotiate out of this UK created mess we should run a parallel track preparing for the absolute last resort of independence .

  6. Uncle Bulgaria says:

    Does he make good use of the things that he finds? You know, the things that the everyday folks leave behind.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Keep in mind, the UK is not the author of this directive and is willingly in breach with the EU’s AMLD4 UBO for their own account. All they did was offer up a public dbase of their nominee shareholders, shielding the true identity of the ultimate beneficial owners. Being partially factual hedges that Brexit goes ahead and they can retain the illusion of compliance while protecting their UBO’s identity’s until their divorce is complete. We, on the other hand, are too provincially-minded to understand what’s really happening, who’s propelling it, and when, and how the disclosure pressure will ease. Good governance continues to be way down the priority list for the UK and FCO, sadly.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well, every one of my old High School teachers should be on this register for a start!

    • Anonymous says:

      I taught for many years. Whilst some colleagues presented an olfactory challenge, kids that smell like a wet dog were more prevalent.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Genuine question here..
    If we accept the BO would this cause all property that is owned by Kenneth Dart to be public knowledge? Like, at the moment, no one realizes the % of the Cayman Islands (all 3 islands) that he owns because of all the different names/companies of his holdings. You’d need a Mensa mentality to keep track of it all just in Cayman alone.

    No more hiding wealth behind a maize of company names…. You can imagine why our politicians are fighting so hard against this. It would expose all of their holdings as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Such a corny comment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, my understanding is that it would.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll believe it when I see it, in three years, after us, the London banks, and everyone else have worked out the workarounds. Who are going to be exposed? Small Caymanian companies. Those people who put a store or rental apartment in a company name to protect themselves. So thanks UK. Thanks for nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Appendix of the 3rd Amended NRA Agreement has a land map of the domestic real estate blocks under “Dart” Nominee responsibility circa 2015. Far more interesting would be the labyrinth of account names used for the Billions in other asset positions worldwide – only a small percentage is invested in Cayman Islands real estate. Thanks to predictable timeline failures by our CIG, “Dart” have much diminished development obligations over next 20 years, a timeline they can likely extend with another NRA loan.

      • Anonymous says:

        Far more interesting would be the interests held by MLAs through indirect structures, especially in the absence of SIPL.

        • Anonymous says:

          And the Civil Servant owned businesses they spend their days running on our dime.

        • Anonymous says:

          You’d be surprised…some brazenly accept foundation “donations” for “favors” to their own account in their own name! There are plenty of cashed and cancelled cheques out there to prove it!

  10. Anonymous says:

    The UK pressing for it to become a global standard – what a laugh, when the US is completely opposed and even the EU countries have massive holes in their BO regimes. Sure they are going to fall over themselves to comply with the UK leadership on the subject.
    Or the UK itself for example – says BO is required, but never checks or enforces the requirement, and doesn’t apply it to all forms of collective vehicle, leaving a hole you can drive a coach and horses through. Fun facts according to the Tax Justice Network 2018 survey:

    *Of 112 jurisdictions surveyed, 34 had registers that required beneficial owner registration at all

    * Only 5 jurisdictions required BO identification for partnerships, foundations, domestic and foreign trusts , less than half covered 2 vehicles, and 10 didn’t require any UBO details where the owner was a vehicle rather than a natural person

    So a bit of a hill to climb by 2023. Starting with their own jurisdiction – BO registers for trusts, partnerships and foundations would be a start.

    • Anonymous says:

      Incredibly, Canada doesn’t have any agency to supervise corporate governance or enforce their own Cdn Bus Corp Act. It is designed to be entirely self-regulating without any external oversight. It’s up to shareholders to uncover misdeeds, file action at their expense, which may or may not trigger ISED/RCMP to take action. RCMP have 6 employees in two offices, who will only act if there is money to recover. They haven’t busted any white collar PCMLATF crimes since the Niko Resources corruption fine in 2011. Canada is an absolute laundering haven with Trillions in hot money cycling through their legal and real estate fraternities.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What is BO?

    • Anonymous says:

      what is OT?

    • Anonymous says:

      body odor

    • Anonymous says:

      BO = Beneficial Owner

      Say you’re Sam Walton and you start a little company called Wallmart. You incorporate as a business and then leave the shares to your kids when you die. They each have their own holding company. So if you check the ‘company register’ for Wallmart you see the owners as Sam-Baby-1, Sam-Baby-2, Sam-Nephew-3, etc. But you don’t know who owns those companies. A Beneficial Owner register would tell you that Sam-Baby-1 is owned by Rob Walton, Sam-Baby-2 is Alice Walton, etc. Making them the Beneficial Owners of Wallmart.

      (N.B. Although the names above are real the Walton family was just used for example. I have no idea about the actual ownership structure of Wallmart inc. beyond a quick websearch. I just picked Walmart because we all know it but hopefully no one here cares enough to argue abut Walmart specifically rather than BO in general.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Something stinks and it’s not a vindaloo

  13. Anonymous says:

    The English talking about BO is one of the greatest contradictions of all time.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What about a gay register? Will the UK step in when our local officials make that mandatory?

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