The British government has resisted renewed calls prompted by the so-called Paradise Papers revelations to insist that its crown dependencies and overseas territories commit to a public register of the ownership of offshore companies and trusts.
The crown dependencies are the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey while the British overseas territories are the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and Gibraltar.
British prime minister Theresa May has refused to commit to a public register of the ownership of offshore companies and trusts in these territories and insisted to parliament that new measures were already creating more transparency.
The Paradise Papers revealed that millions of pounds from Queen Elizabeth’s private estate have been invested in a Cayman Islands fund as well as showing that a prominent donor to Theresa May’s Conservative party, Lord Ashcroft, used an offshore trust to shelter wealth.
Britain’s failure to force offshore financial centres to introduce public registers of company ownership has now been heavily criticised by opposition politicians.
Former British prime minister, David Cameron, promised in 2014 to push for public registers in the overseas territories, but the pledge was never enacted after reluctance from the offshore centres.
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