April 14, 2021

UK: Tory MPs praised tax haven island [Cayman] after it took them on free trip worth £17,000

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By Dan Bloom From Daily Mirror UK

Campaigners say secrecy laws in Cayman and other British Overseas Territories make it easier for criminals to “hide their toxic wealth”

Sir Graham Brady and Sir Michael Fallon took the free trip paid for by the Cayman Islands government – and then defended its actions in the ongoing tax havens row

Two top Tory MPs sung the praises of a tax haven after its government invited them on free trip worth almost £17,000.

Sir Graham Brady and Sir Michael Fallon praised the Cayman Islands a month ago during a lavish visit funded by the territory’s government.

Campaigners say secrecy laws in Cayman and other British Overseas Territories make it easier for criminals to “hide their toxic wealth and launder money into the legitimate system”.

MPs decided last year to force overseas territories to set up registers of beneficial ownership, making it clearer who owns what.

But in an interview during their visit, the two Tories defended the Cayman Islands as a “success story” and said its government had shown a “genuine spirit of engagement”.

Sir Graham Brady accepted flights and accommodation for himself and his wife worth £10,459 (Image: IAN VOGLER/DAILY MIRROR)

MP and tax havens campaigner Margaret Hodge told BuzzFeed News: “Most people will be shocked that two senior members of Parliament accepted expensive free trips to a British tax haven.

“The only reason for giving these MPs a free trip was to encourage them to thwart and oppose the will of Parliament, where there is a strong majority in favour of open registers of beneficial ownership.”

The pair, part of the all-party parliamentary group on the Cayman Islands, travelled between June 27 and July 1 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the territory’s constitution.

The trip was funded by the Cayman Islands Government Office in the UK, according to the register of MPs’ interests.

Sir Graham accepted flights and accommodation for himself and his wife worth £10,459 – including a £4,241 bill for rearranging the travel, which happened during the Tory leadership election.

Sir Michael Fallon accepted flights and accommodation worth £6,218 (Image: Leon Neal)

While on the visit he told Cayman 27 TV: “I think it is important we continue to make the case for a sensible balance that protects the rights and the safety of the some of the individuals who might be exposed to danger from completely open public registers.

“But also to recognise the great steps forward and very genuine spirit of engagement that’s been shown by Cayman.”

Sir Michael accepted flights and accommodation worth £6,218. He met the territory’s governor, premier, ministers and opposition members, as well as business and civil society groups.

He told Cayman 27: “There’s a success story here, an enormous success story that helps add value to Britain, adds value to British pensions and is a well regulated financial centre for the rest of the world.

“There is a success story here and we should not jeopardise that.”

For more on this story go to: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-mps-praised-tax-haven-18816185

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