British MPs Seeking Public Register Amendment

December 20, 2016

A group of British MPs is seeking to make amendments to a Bill requiring British Overseas Territories to introduce public registers, with a cross-party group of 80 MPs reportedly backing the amendment.

According to a report from the Guardian, “The UK’s Overseas Territories face renewed pressure to abandon corporate secrecy after 80 MPs joined forces to demand greater financial transparency from offshore havens.

“The cross-party group is backing an amendment to the government’s criminal finances bill on Tuesday that would force Britain’s 14 overseas territories to introduce public registers revealing the true owners of locally registered companies.

“The move is expected to face fierce opposition from the handful of the UK’s overseas territories,” the Guardian report said.

“The MPs’ proposal, which is being tabled on the last day before Parliament breaks for Christmas, would effectively give all Overseas Territories until 2020 to introduce public registers.

The Guardian noted that it is extremely rare for the UK to use its special powers – known as “order in council” edicts – to impose laws on Overseas Territories.

“Of course political parties have shied away from using these powers. They can seem somewhat colonial,” said Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge, who is expected to table the amendment. “But I think there are overwhelming moral arguments at stake here.”

According to the Public Finance website, the proposals are supported by over 80 MPs from the Labour and Conservative parties, the Scottish National Party, the Social Democratic and Labour Party, the Democratic Unionist Party, Plaid Cymru, the LibDems and the Green Party

Acting Minister of Finance Michael Fahy said, “The Government of Bermuda notes reports that a group of British MPs is seeking to press for Amendments to the Criminal Finances Bill, requiring British Overseas Territories to publicly disclose the beneficial ownership of enterprises which they host.

“Bermuda notes that it has maintained a register of such information since 1947, to which all proper international tax, criminal, and regulatory authorities have access, while preserving proper respect for the privacy of individuals and corporations.

“This position is recognised by the UK government and the OECD as world-leading,” Minister Fahy added.

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Comments (15)

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  1. San George says:

    He has obviously never heard of “Murdock and Co.” and all the other nominee companies in this country – running mouth disease.

  2. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    How about the UK actually set up their own central registry and make it public first, before they start talking about ‘moral arguements’ against others. We run a better ship than they do, they ought to focus on catching up to us first.

  3. Family Man says:

    Of course the UK themselves aren’t going to provide a public register of their own companies, just the overseas territories.

    • Chaos Theory says:

      They have implemented their register.

      • Family Man says:

        Not true.

        You can get a company address and list of directors from the UK but NOT beneficial ownership, which is what they want Bermuda to produce.
        You can get the same information in Bermuda from the ROC; address and list of directors.

        The UK doesn’t want to disclose beneficial ownership as it would frighten off the corrupt Russian and Chinese owners of all that expensive London real estate purchased under a company name.

        Bermuda maintains a list of beneficial ownership but it is NOT open to the public. It is available on a case by case basis to law enforcement and other governments. It is not available to reporters.

  4. drunken ursula says:

    Bermuda belongs to the UK…they know best ..rule on Mother !

  5. Happyhols says:

    The UK was the first major economy in the World to set up a public register

  6. Peter H says:

    Say no more The Guardian the well known publisher of left wing news. Not fit for human consumption.

  7. lizard says:

    Time to go……..UK will self destruct shortly.

  8. Happyhols says:

    Family Man,

    I’m sorry but you are mistaken. The UK DOES have a public register of beneficial owners and WAS the first major economy in the World to set up such a register.

    https://www.globalwitness.org/en/blog/first-look-uk-beneficial-ownership-data/

    • Family Man says:

      Not true. At all.

      Try it. It lists Directors and Officers – many of whom can themselves be companies. It DOES NOT list shareholders. At least on the three closely held companies I tried with which I am familiar.

  9. It's raining today says:

    “Bermuda notes that it has maintained a register of such information since 1947, to which all proper international tax, criminal, and regulatory authorities have access, while preserving proper respect for the privacy of individuals and corporations.”

    Too bad it’s grossly inaccurate.