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Guernsey To Strengthen Anti-Corruption Co-operation With UK

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
12 April, 2016

Guernsey has committed itself to strengthening law enforcement co-operation with the United Kingdom, but will not establish a publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership.

In a letter to Britain's Prime Minister, Guernsey's Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq reiterated the island's "active and practical commitment to the international anti-corruption agenda."

He said "Guernsey shares the UK's aim of enhanced timeliness of access to adequate, accurate, and current beneficial ownership information in relation to Guernsey companies, the secure exchange of that information, and the prevention of any possibility of tipping off." He said Guernsey would assign "a designated team to be a point of contact for cooperation between Guernsey law enforcement authorities and their international counterparts."

Le Tocq said: "timely exchange of information means within 24 hours, but from our perspective we consider that the target should be thirty minutes where the requesting authority considers it to be urgent. In taking these steps, we will have in place in Guernsey a secure, consolidated, and locally accessed register with a designated point of contact, and the provisions in place for timely information exchange between Guernsey and UK law enforcement authorities."

He said the work to deliver on Guernsey's commitment is underway, and in 2017 recommendations will be made to Guernsey's assembly for approval, in consultation with the authorities in Alderney and Sark. The aim is to enact legislation by 2018 at the latest.

The recommendations will set out a formal enhancement of the relationship on co-operation between Guernsey and the UK's enforcement authorities. Importantly those recommendations will not include a publicly accessible register as "we do not believe that would allow us to demonstrate the information is secure, which is a material domestic concern," Le Tocq said, adding that this "approach will not inhibit the fundamental requirements of timeliness or verifiability."

Le Tocq also said that Guernsey would consider putting in place a reciprocal agreement with the UK's respective law enforcement authorities as soon as possible after Guernsey's elections to be held on April 27, 2016.

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