Beneficial ownership agreement re-affirms commitment to combatting global financial crime

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Geoff Cook (pictured), Jersey Finance CEO, comments on David Cameron’s announcement of an agreement by the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories to provide beneficial ownership information to the UK Government…

We are pleased that the UK Government beneficial ownership agreement has been signed by Jersey, which is the culmination of months of inter-governmental work, and which re-affirms Jersey’s commitment to sharing beneficial ownership information with the UK’s law enforcement agencies quickly, and underlines Jersey’s commitment to combatting global financial crime. 
 
The agreement will mean very little change for Jersey since our regulations are already sufficiently robust. For more than 20 years we have had a central register of beneficial ownership from which we meet requests for information received from tax authorities and law enforcement authorities.

“The information contained within the register is subject to strict validation by regulated professionals, meaning that the ultimate owners of every company registered in the Island is known and monitored. This is an important distinction from other jurisdictions.
 
We hope that the central registries introduced by other jurisdictions will be as effective as Jersey’s. We believe that our register remains more robust than the public registry to be introduced in the UK because the data supplied in the UK will be provided directly by the companies while in Jersey the information is provided by intermediaries who are regulated and required to do so or face penalties.
 
It was also welcome that the Prime Minister told the House that the Crown Dependencies were “well ahead of other similar jurisdictions” and that “overseas investments are an entirely standard practice…. not to avoid tax.”
 
Tackling tax evasion and fraud is a global responsibility in which we will continue to play our full part.

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