December 8, 2019

UK Evening Standard Editor replies to Cayman Chamber

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EDITOR’S REPLY TO:

of Commerce

Dear Paul

BRITAIN — in particular London — has long had the reputation of being a global money-laundering capital. This is partly due to years of a no-questions-asked regime on setting up companies and buying properties here, but largely because of our links to secrecy havens like yours. 

While I acknowledge that Cayman has moved — under pressure — to allow certain police and intelligence agencies to know who owns assets stowed there, this can hardly be called transparency. If owners of Cayman shell companies are doing nothing wrong, why not disclose publically who they are?

Some secretive money will move from havens like yours to even more opaque locales. But rather than use this as an argument to allow UK territories to remain opaque, we should work to close them down too.

I agree it is unfair Jersey, and the Isle of Man got a let-off. 

I hope we come for them next.

Jim Armitage, City Editor, Evening Standard

 

From Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce

The Reader: The UK is bullying its overseas territories and trust is being lost

Recently advanced legislation  will require certain UK overseas territories to implement a public beneficial ownership registry by 2020 or face the prospect of the UK forcing them to do so via its reserve powers.

The UK has openly admitted that the requirement for public registries is not a global standard. Law-abiding clients seeking the right to financial privacy will likely move their business to a jurisdiction with no such registry, rendering the initiative ineffective. The UK’s own “public” registry serves little purpose as the information contained in it is not verifiable (unlike the Cayman Islands’ registry).

The move by the UK is also discriminatory because the law will not apply to Crown dependencies such as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The Caymans passed beneficial ownership legislation and created a system whereby all beneficial ownership information would be accessible to all the relevant authorities for their purposes (the UK has been aware of this development for months). The only difference was that this registry was not “public”. This is not sufficient reason to include the Cayman Islands.

Up until now the Caymans has largely enjoyed a trusting, genuine relationship with the UK. Let’s hope the House of Lords corrects this potential abuse of reserve powers.

Paul Byles
Cayman Islands Chamber  of Commerce

END

IMAGE: Opaque: The Cayman Islands (Photo by Kyodo News via Getty Images) (Kyodo News via Getty Images)

For more on this story go to: https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/letters/the-reader-the-uk-is-bullying-its-overseas-territories-and-trust-is-being-lost-a3834196.html

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