Charities demand action against OTs at JMC

| 02/12/2014

(CNS): The Cayman Islands delegation along with other overseas territory representatives in the UK this week for the annual Joint Ministerial Counsel meeting with the FCO were greeted by demonstrators from UK charities that want to see more action against offshore secrecy. Christian Aid campaigners say that a year after what it described as “Britain’s tax havens” agreed to consider lifting the secrecy around who really owns the companies domiciled in the territories have made “alarmingly little progress”. As leaders from Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands as well as Cayman met in London the charity said government needs to fulfill the UK Prime Minister’s promise to end secrecy and “set a new standard for transparency”.

Joseph Stead, Senior Economic Justice Adviser at Christian Aid, said: “Over the last year, so little has changed that it is hard to believe the Overseas Territories were genuine in their commitment to consider public registers of who owns companies. In April the Prime Minister reminded them that ‘the rest of the world is watching’ but they seem to be stalling in the hope that their promises will be forgotten.”

At last year’s meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council the territories had agreed to hold public consultations on creating public registers of who really owns companies but there has been no reports or conclusions made public.

The issue has been one of significant controversy not just in Cayman but in other financial service centres as well. Although, Wayne Panton, the financial services minister has initiated a consultation process he has made it clear that there will be not be a public register accessible by all in Cayman before the on-shore jurisdictions do the same thing. Cayman has argued persistently that unlike the US, the UK and other onshore financial centres, the Cayman Islands already collects the information regarding beneficial ownership. However, the charities continue to note that it may be collected but it is rarely accessible.

With none of the territories coming up with a plan on how they intend to make that information more accessible after some ten months of consultation the charities say it is not good enough.

“It’s clear that secretly owned companies in the Overseas Territories are used for international corruption, money laundering and tax evasion,” Stead stated in a release from the charity.

“The BVI, the Caymans (sic) and Bermuda are in the World Bank’s top 20 jurisdictions for cases of grand corruption. They need to be among the first to change. The failure to clean up the Overseas Territories risks being a blot on the Prime Minister’s record of getting tough on tax dodging. While the Overseas Territories stall, the UK is one of a growing number of EU countries supporting public registries across the EU to counter money laundering." 
The legislation to create a public register in the UK was scheduled to be debated in the House of Lords Tuesday and there are concerns in the offshore industry that the pressure from the UK will increase on the territories to do the same once Britian comes up with a publicly accessible register.

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  1. anonymous says:

    Magic happened during the recession and FATCA. "Tax shelters will become a thing of the past"? Banks are downsizing or merging or selling different investments. We have over 1.7 trillion dollars in  assets before and after. Isn't that amazing?

    We only have 50 plus banks in the world that control the rest. Money will flow whereever the Bildenberg or the Fed lets it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Joseph Stead is a misinformed child who graduated in 2002 with a Politics degree from Nottingham, couldn't get a job and went back to school for a MSci in African Studies.  Google him.  Why would anybody listen to this baby-cheeked nobody?  Fairly confident he's never heard of UK FATCA, EU Savings Initiative, or the 50 TIEAs currently signed by Cayman and other countries.  Christian Aid are using his niavite for as long as it's to their advantage.  Kinda feel sorry for him.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is really amusing that while this group is asking the OTs to unmask ,they are doing so while hiding behind masks. Brilliant.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This was actually a picture taken of a group of protestors, outside Starbucks, in London.

    They were protesting the fact that such companies are "legally" avoiding paying corporate taxes, in the UK.

    Nothing to do with the Cayman or any other delegation. 

    CNS stirring it up again……

  5. Anonymous says:

    Everyone of them in the photo are prob FCO staff.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the Minister, charity begins at home.

    In not too diplomatic speak he should have conveyed also "mind your own business" too.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Oh please, this is a bunch of hogwash.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Why bother even acting as if the arguments will lead to anything different? Those at the top are all part of the same group and players may change but the structure will remain the same.

  9. CrabClaw says:

    Why would a charity need such information, smells fishy, like a typical NGO doing propaganda work for someone higher up the chain, Stand firm Cayman, don't bend on this demand as well.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “The BVI, the Caymans (sic) and Bermuda are in the World Bank’s top 20 jurisdictions for cases of grand corruption".

    Where did they get this ranking? It sounds extremely unlikely and is not reflected here:

    • Anonymous says:

      Well there is hardly a major world corporate fraud that was not facilitated by using the Caymans.

      • Anonymous says:

        Instead of making unsupported claims please back it up with hard data. Until then you are not worth the time.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This criticism is a bit rich coming from a organisation who think it's fair to pay their CEO £126K a year plus a generous expenses package funded by charitable donations from the public? To put that figure in perspective the Prime Minister, David Cameron, gets £146K a year.

    Maybe Christian Aid should spend more time actually doing charitable work and less trying to be politically correct?