Chief Minister Howard Quayle MHK is in London today, Monday 30 April 2018, for discussions ahead of a House of Commons debate centred on beneficial ownership arrangements.
An amendment has been lodged to the UK’s Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill calling for a public register of beneficial ownership to become mandatory in the Crown Dependencies and a number of British Overseas Territories.
Mr Quayle has held talks with MPs and officials in Westminster, in addition to meeting the Chief Ministers of Jersey and Guernsey.
The Crown Dependencies have jointly reiterated the long-established constitutional position that the UK does not legislate for them without their consent.
Mr Quayle said:
‘The Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey would expect this constitutional arrangement to be respected. I have met Senator Ian Gorst of Jersey and Deputy Gavin St Pier of Guernsey and together we will resist any orders that breach that convention.’
‘The Isle of Man already has robust systems in place for sharing information about the beneficial ownership of companies and legal entities. We take our international responsibilities very seriously and would move towards a public register of beneficial ownership if that becomes the agreed global standard. We believe there should be a level playing field.’
The Isle of Man made a commitment in April 2016 to enhance its long-standing arrangements for sharing information on the beneficial ownership of companies and other legal entities.
Under the agreement, the Isle of Man pledged to establish and maintain a central electronic register of information to allow accurate and current information to be provided to law enforcement and tax authorities.
The Island remains on target to fulfil its commitments as part of continued efforts to combat tax evasion, money laundering, corruption and the financing of terrorism.
The Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, together with six of the UK’s Overseas Territories, have worked closely with the UK during the six-month review of the implementation of the exchange of notes on beneficial ownership.
The review builds on many years of cooperation between the Isle of Man and the UK in respect of providing law enforcement and tax authorities with timely access to information about who owns and controls companies.
At the time of signing the exchange of notes, the Isle of Man was praised by the UK Government for taking important steps to improve transparency that put it well ahead of many other jurisdictions.
Mr Quayle said:
‘The Isle of Man has a strong track record of compliance with international standards and in delivering on our international commitments. We are continuing to work with the United Kingdom and global bodies to be part of the solution to tackling serious and organised financial crime.’
‘Our central register can provide law enforcement authorities with beneficial ownership information on all corporate and legal entities incorporated in the Island, as quickly as within one hour in urgent cases.’