The House of Commons yesterday approved an amendment to fight money laundering and tax evasion, requiring 14 overseas territories, including the major financial centres as the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos Islands, to introduce public company registers by the end of 2020. The owners of all companies must be made transparent, but not the beneficial owners of trusts. The obligation does not apply to the Crown Dependencies Isle of Man and the Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey. This progress is also a success for us Greens. In the EU, a corresponding public company register was introduced a few months ago under a Green rapporteur during the 4th reform of the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive.
MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“This is a nice surprise from Britain! Our European public company registers are now expanding into numerous tax havens. This is a great success for the EU’s offensive against money laundering and tax evasion. Many hundreds of thousands of letterbox companies become transparent, without the need for any new data leaks. After the Panama Papers, the global system to facilitate financial crime has become unbearable. It is now becoming more difficult for corrupt politicians and the super-rich to hide illegal assets.
The decision of the House of Commons concerns all companies and shell companies. Trusts are not affected. In the EU, the beneficial owners of trusts must also be recorded in registers, but these registers are not accessible to the general public.
The EU must now use its success to make public company registers the international standard. Public company registers should become a hard criterion for the blacklist of tax havens.“
The adopted amendment (No 7):
Article in the Guardian: