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Miliband Challenges UK's Offshore On Information Disclosure

by Robert Lee, Lowtax.net, London
10 February, 2015

The UK's Overseas Territories (OTs) and Crown Dependencies (CDs) would be given six months to publish publicly accessible central registers of beneficial ownership if the Labour Party wins the May 7 general election, Ed Miliband has announced.

Party leader Miliband has written to each of the heads of government to inform them that if they do not comply within six months of a Labour victory, he would seek their inclusion on the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) list of non-cooperative territories.

The UK's Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies previously ruled out the introduction of public registries of beneficial ownership information, noting that, although each collects such information, no nation has yet introduced a public register and none looks likely to. Bermuda had said that it would introduce a public registry only after the UK, the US, and Canada have also done so.

Reacting to Miliband's intervention, the Bermudan Government said that it was "surprised and disappointed" that the island has been included in Labour's list. In a statement, the Government pointed out that Bermuda has had a central registry since the 1940s.

Bermuda's Premier, Michael Dunkley, commented: "The Government of Bermuda remains open to continuing dialogue with the UK Government, the UK Opposition, and all other interested parties, in sharing best practice across borders in areas of corporate transparency and the fight against fraud and crime.

"We would also remind Miliband of Bermuda's strategic economic contribution to the UK, which includes direct and indirect employment in the UK of 100,000 people, as well as our role as a global hub for the reinsurance and insurance industries, providing the critical underwriting required for damage arising from natural disasters and terrorist events."

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