In March 2019, the UK Parliament was due to debate a Bill requiring the UK’s crown dependencies – Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man – to introduce public registers to bring about greater transparency in the hope this would prevent illicit financial flows. The registers in these major offshore financial centres would be required to show the ultimate beneficial owners of companies, or parties who own more than 25 per cent, by the end of 2020.
The government, however, removed the debate on the relevant bill from the House of Commons schedule, arguing that more time was needed for the amendment to be given ‘proper and thorough consideration’.
‘While transparency campaigners argue that public registers are the most effective way of deterring those who would hide their assets for illegitimate means, private registers should be equally effective,’ says Jessica Parker, Co-Chair of the IBA Business Crime Committee and a partner at Corker Binning. ‘Information can be obtained on request from tax or other investigators. The number of territories where ill-gotten gains can be hidden has been eroded by the more important focus of international cooperation, which is developed through mutual assistance treaties and the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard.’
Read the full article in the International Bar Association here.