UK Overseas Territories Agree Transparency Deal
by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
13 April, 2016
Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, and the Cayman Islands have separately announced that they will enter into deals with the Government of the United Kingdom to improve how they exchange information on the beneficial ownership of companies.
The Cayman Government said that the UK, via a designated point of contact in the Cayman Islands, will be able to access company beneficial ownership information without restrictions, subject to relevant safeguards. Cayman has agreed to provide the required information on a timely basis, without the need for the UK to submit multiple requests. Companies or their beneficial owners will not be alerted to the fact that an investigation is underway.
Bermuda has likewise agreed to pass information to UK tax authorities within 24 hours, and it will also open its register to the UK National Crime Agency (NCA). The NCA currently has access to Bermuda's central register via a long-standing criminal cooperation agreement, but this involved certain time-consuming procedures, the Bermuda Government said. A streamlined approach has now been negotiated.
Meanwhile, the BVI said that it had agreed to further develop a timely, safe, and secure information exchange process to improve the way that it provides information on the beneficial ownership of companies for the purpose of law enforcement.
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