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Geoff Cook, Jersey Finance

Jersey leads on the capture and sharing of beneficial ownership information

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Jersey is recognised by international standard setters as one of the best regulated finance jurisdictions globally and its authorities have full knowledge of the beneficial owners of all Jersey companies, according to Geoff Cook, CEO (pictured), Jersey Finance.

He welcomed moves for greater transparency and called on other locations that had not done so to introduce a regulatory regime that enabled them to know and share information on the beneficial owners of companies with appropriate authorities.
 
His comments follow the leak of documents belonging to the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, which has led to calls for greater transparency in offshore jurisdictions to counter money laundering and tax evasion. 
 
He says: ‘The Panama Papers challenge the use of offshore companies to hide the identities of the ultimate company owners – the beneficial owners. Jersey’s position on hiding the identities of beneficial owners is very clear: we do not allow it. Jersey has captured beneficial ownership information on a corporate registry since 1999 and this enables Jersey to provide law enforcement and tax authorities with ‘adequate, accurate and timely’ data – the specific requirement of Recommendation 24 of the FATF Recommendations.’
 
‘Where there is found to be illicit or fraudulent activity in any country anywhere in the world, it is absolutely right that it should be challenged and investigated,’ said Mr Cook. 
 
‘There have been a lot of allegations and speculation reported regarding Mossack Fonseca and the so called ‘Panama Papers’. Although Mossack Fonseca has a small office in Jersey, there is no suggestion that any illegal activity has taken place on the island or involved Jersey-registered companies.

‘While no jurisdiction can ever guarantee it will never be used by a corrupt minority, we are confident we have world class anti-corruption measures and that few work harder than Jersey to stamp out illicit activity.
 
‘The strength of Jersey’s financial regulations and security checks mean that anyone wishing to launder money or evade tax would find it extremely difficult to do so. Jersey is tax neutral. Individuals must pay tax in the jurisdictions in which they are expected to, and tax authorities in Jersey and around the world exchange information to ensure that companies and individuals with interests here do so.’

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