As part of the global crackdown on money-laundering, Cayman Islands announced on 9-Oct that it would make information on the beneficial ownership of companies, public. This prompted anti-corruption campaigners to call on other offshore jurisdictions to follow suit.
Public registers of beneficial ownership are the key to showing who is behind shell companies. The Cayman Islands government said that it expected this to become the international norm that could be implanted on European Union countries by 2023.
The Cayman Islands Government issued a statement – “We will advance legislation to introduce public registers of beneficial ownership information when that occurs. While undue focus is often placed on our jurisdiction, we fully appreciate the need to ensure coherent and efficient registration and exchange of beneficial ownership information to facilitate the transparent flow of legitimate capital.”
Appreciating this step by Cayman Islands, Naomi Hirst, a campaigner at Global Witness, said – “This commitment from the Cayman Islands to reveal the real people behind companies on their shores shows how company transparency is now the global standard in financial integrity.”
Anti-corruption campaigner Global Witness said all other British Overseas Territories should take similar action – “The writing is on the wall for the rest of the British Overseas Territories who will today be feeling the pressure to follow suit and announce their own plans as a matter of urgency.”
In June this year, the three British Crown Dependencies – Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man – said that they would move to reveal publicly the true ownership of firms based in their jurisdictions. In its statement on Wednesday, the Cayman Islands said it had a “long history of upholding international standards and working cooperatively with tax and law enforcement authorities in other jurisdictions.”
Date: 15 Oct 2019
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