Tuesday, January 23, 2018

British House of Lords Voting Against Public Beneficial Owners Register


The amendment proposal for the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands and four other British Overseas Territories to implement public register of beneficial owners behind offshore companies registered in these jurisdiction was rejected in British House of Lords, by 211 to 201. The peers voted during the debate on the proposed Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill; the public register requirement was for the purposes of “preventing money-laundering”.

The amendment, if accepted, would allow the UK government to demand the offshore countries to provide details of companies’ owners. It was already the fourth time when the idea of public registers was discussed in the House of Lords.

In the opinion of the Conservative member of the Lords who argued against the proposal the law enforcement agencies do not support public registers as they actually don’t help law enforcement. He also noted that the UK overseas countries already shown themselves“extremely efficient in responding to the requests of policing and other agencies”.

Other concerns expressed included the potential identity theft that can be facilitated by the public register of beneficial ownership, as well as possible loss of business in favour of competitors. There were also warnings against legislating for self-governing overseas territories.

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