Guardian: “Quicker Access To Offshore Records”

April 11, 2016

The UK crime agency is demanding quicker access to the corporate records of “secretive offshore companies” in Britain’s overseas territories including Bermuda, according to a report by the Guardian.

The article said, “The UK crime agency is demanding quicker access to the corporate records of secretive offshore companies in Britain’s overseas territories including the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

“Talks between the National Crime Agency, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office [FCO] and tax havens are continuing alongside the fallout from the Panama Papers. But no final agreement with the overseas territories has been reached.

“Andy Lewis, head of the NCA’s bribery, corruption and sanctions unit, travelled to the Cayman Islands and the BVI in February, the agency said.

“The British government’s ultimate aim is to establish a public register of companies, but the first priority is urgent access to records so police and tax authorities can investigate potential criminal activity.

“In December the leaders of the overseas territories agreed to discuss how to implement a system to allow for a “timely, safe and secure information exchange process” for the purposes of law enforcement.

“Though it was agreed that this was a priority, no system has been finalised. It is hoped that an agreement can be reached shortly, and discussions are said to have been productive.

“An FCO spokesperson said: “The government believes a public central register should eventually be the internationally agreed standard around the world.

:Our first priority is to ensure access for law enforcement agencies and tax authorities to create greater transparency to reduce corruption and intercept terrorist payments. This can be achieved more quickly.”

“Bob Richards, the deputy premier of Bermuda, said British police officers were frustrated that they had been waiting for days, weeks or even months to get information, the Sunday Times reported. He said the NCA wanted urgent requests to be met within an hour.”

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