Isle Of Man Boosts Beneficial Ownership Sharing With UK

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 12 April 2016

Isle Of Man Boosts Beneficial Ownership Sharing With UK

The Isle of Man has pushed to improve information on beneficial ownership and how it shares this with the UK. These actions have not been caused by the Panama saga, the IoM government says.

The Isle of Man government is improving how beneficial ownership information can be shared with the UK, creating a new electronic database, but says this move has not been directly caused by the “Panama Papers” revelations.

The Isle of Man will create and maintain a central electronic database of beneficial ownership information, a statement from the jurisdiction said late last week. 

The government has “committed to enhancing the effectiveness of arrangements for sharing beneficial ownership information with the UK,” it said. 

“This has been achieved through ongoing constructive discussion and is an important demonstration of our long-standing partnership to tackle corruption, tax evasion and other serious criminality,” said chief minister Allan Bell. 

The massive leak of data from Panama has led to the resignation of figures such as Iceland’s prime minister and been an embarrassment to UK prime minister David Cameron. In Malta, there have been calls by opposition figures for prime minister Joseph Muscat to resign following revelations that two of his political allies had Panama accounts.

In response to questions from WealthBriefing, a spokesperson for the IoM government said the Panama saga had not prompted the timing of its announcement and that it has been working with the UK on enhancing beneficial ownership information for some time.

The issue of obtaining data on beneficial ownership has been controversial because, ironically, Cameron has called for a public register of such data, causing alarm in jurisdictions such as BVI, Caymans and others due to fears that legitimate client privacy will be at risk. A central problem is in drawing a divide between privacy, which is regarded as defensible and necessary, and secrecy, which is not.

A number of jurisdictions, such as Jersey, Bahamas and Guernsey, last week insisted they have moved towards fuller transparency and disclosure in recent years. Separately, a raft of jurisdictions have signed up to the Common Reporting Standard, a global framework for transfer of information that is seen as being the death sentence of Swiss bank secrecy, for example.

“The Isle of Man is not a place where criminals can find a welcome,” Bell said in the Isle of Man's statement. 

To view more on the Panama Papers affair, see here and here

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