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Premier Updates Baroness On Beneficial Ownership Register
GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- Premier Alden McLaughlin and Attorney General Sam Bulgin met with the UK’s minister responsible for its overseas territories, Baroness Anelay, Monday afternoon to update her on Cayman’s progress on the implementation of legislation underpinning the non-public searchable register for the enhanced exchange of beneficial ownership information with British law enforcement authorities, a release from the premier’s office stated.
Last week, the Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly passed three bills: the Companies Management (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2017; the Companies Amendment (No. 2) Bill, 2017; and the Limited Liability Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The amendments lay the groundwork for creation of a beneficial ownership register that would be accessible only to law enforcement and tax authorities. The aim of the register is to enhance financial crime investigations and target corruption.
“Passage of the amendments meant that I was able to tell the Baroness that the Cayman Islands is on track to meet the June deadline set by the UK for the enhanced exchange of beneficial ownership information,” McLaughlin said.
He added, “Cayman has a long history of transparency with the United Kingdom. Beneficial ownership information for Cayman companies has been collected, verified and maintained for the last 15 years and we already make information available through bilateral agreements and multilateral treaties.”
Stressing that the registry will not be public, the premier stated, “We strongly believe that publicly accessible registers of beneficial ownership information infringe on privacy rights. Several recent EU court cases and a recent opinion by the European Data Protection Supervisor support this. We believe there is a very clear and appropriate distinction between secrecy and privacy.”
McLaughlin said that the meeting on Monday afternoon with Baroness Anelay and her team was “positive and productive”. He said, “We appreciate the Baroness’s continued willingness to participate in constructive dialogue with respect to this matter, which we expect will continue as this matter progresses.”
In April 2016 the Cayman Islands signed an agreement with the UK to make beneficial ownership information accessible based on enhanced electronic requests from UK law enforcement and tax authorities. The premier’s office said this would improve the efficiency and timeliness of the existing process of information exchange and would be available for appropriate requests between the Cayman Islands and UK law enforcement agencies.
Following the meeting with the Baroness, who is Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the premier attended the first meeting of the reconstituted Cayman Islands All Party Parliamentary Group, hosted by MP Graham Brady. Members of the APPG help champion Cayman’s cause in the halls of Westminster.
Traveling with the premier are Attorney General Sam Bulgin, Senior Political Advisor Roy Tatum, Senior Legislative Policy Advisor in the Department of Financial Services Policy and Legislation Andre Ebanks and Press Secretary Tammie Chisholm.
They returned to Grand Cayman on Tuesday, 8 March.