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BVI Planning Challenge To UK's Beneficial Ownership Law

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
04 June, 2018

The Premier of the British Virgin Islands, Orlando Smith, says his Government has appointed legal counsel to advise on a potential challenge to the UK's move to force its Overseas Territories to set up publicly accessible registers containing information on the beneficial ownership of legal entities.

Under the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, enacted in late May 2018, the UK's 14 Overseas Territories are required to bring in publicly accessible registers concerning the beneficial ownership of legal entities by 2020 or face having them imposed by the UK Government.

Smith said it has appointed a legal team comprising persons in both the UK and British Virgin Islands and law firm Withers Worldwide. It reported that the UK's efforts raise serious constitutional and human rights' issues and it is therefore considering a constitutional challenge.

Smith reiterated the territory's position that the Overseas Territories, many of which are situated in the Caribbean and which are home to large financial centers, should not be obligated to introduce public registers until such is a global standard.

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