Wednesday, October 28, 2020

"British Virgin Islands Plans to Make Company Ownership Transparent"

Tardy but important, x3.

From the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, October 2:

Investigative journalists and civil society groups are encouraged by the news that the government of the British Virgin Islands, BVI, – one of the world’s most notorious financial secrecy jurisdictions – plans to make company ownership publicly accessible information.

The news was first revealed in a government press release last week, which said that it was working with the U.K. to implement a beneficial ownership registry that is “in line with international standards and best practices as they develop globally.”

The Premier of the British overseas territory, Andrew A. Fahie, reiterated his commitment to a public registry, saying that his government “will continue to closely monitor the developments in the international financial services industry and ensure that we remain in compliance with all the relevant requirements as this is important to the Territory’s competitive position.”

He added that this measure would be implemented “within a timeframe that we consider deliverable,” and committed to the standards set forth by the EU’s fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which requires member states to release beneficial ownership registries by 2023. 

Transparency International U.K. said in a press release on Wednesday that it welcomed the announcement, and encouraged the U.K. government to publish a more detailed timeline so that all of its overseas jurisdictions follow suit and implement these registers in a timely manner.

“It is vital that the information on these registers is accurate, free to use and made available for full analysis. This would strike a major blow to the corrupt around the world, with an ever diminishing number of places to hide their dirty money,” said Rachel Davies Teka, Head of Advocacy for the organization.  

Its press release pointed to a Transparency International study that uncovered 1,107 BVI companies connected to corruption cases, amounting to hundreds of billions worth of funds that had been attained through bribery, rigged procurement, embezzlement, and other financial crimes....MORE

Related, October 6:
Cayman Islands Removed From EU Tax Haven Blacklist

And from Canada's National Post, October 20:

Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca currently reside in Panama, where the Central American nation does not extradite passport-holding citizens