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Guernsey Sets Out Stance On Public Company Ownership Registers

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
22 May, 2018

Guernsey's Chief Minister, Gavin St Pier, has told the island's parliament that Guernsey will make beneficial ownership information publicly accessible if it becomes an internationally adopted standard.

"It must be a standard agreed by all jurisdictions – there must be a level playing field," said St Pier, highlighting that public registers are not yet the agreed policy of the G20 countries.

St Pier also said Guernsey would volunteer evidence to a new inquiry into tax avoidance and evasion by the UK's House of Commons Treasury Select Sub-Committee in order to reinforce this point to the UK Parliament.

The statement by St Pier is the latest from the Crown Dependencies since last month's unsuccessful attempt by some members of the UK House of Commons to force Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man to set up publicly searchable registers of beneficial ownership by 2020, or face having them imposed by the UK.

The move was firmly rebuffed by the Crown Dependencies who said it would undermine centuries of established constitutional convention that the UK Parliament cannot legislate over the Crown Dependencies without their consent.

A similar move forcing publicly searchable registers on Britain's 14 Overseas Territories was successful, prompting some territory Chief Ministers to accuse the UK Parliament of constitutional overreach and having a colonial mindset.

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