Australia backs away from beneficial ownership register

The Australian government appears to have backed away from its explicit commitment to establish a register of beneficial ownership.

Cabinet minister Kelly O’Dwyer announced the register – which aimed to curb trade-based money laundering, terrorist financing and help stamp out multinational tax avoidance – in the lead-up to the 2016 federal election.

No commitment

The beneficial ownership register was intended to align Australia with G20 commitments on transparency, by publicly listing the identities of who ultimately owned shell companies and benefitted from them.

Now the government is saying there was never a firm commitment to establish such a register.

“No commitment to implement a register has been made by government,” according to a treasury department statement.

Considering options

“The government is considering what action may be needed to increase the transparency of beneficial ownership of companies,” the statement added.

A consultation period ended in March 2017, but there has been no move to draft legislation.

When questioned by media, a spokesman for the assistant treasurer, Stuart Robert, said, “we remain committed and we’re considering options”.




Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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