British MPs called for disclosing Russians with money in offshores

British MPs called for disclosing Russians with money in offshores
Photo: Luke MacGregor / Bloomberg

The corresponding project related to the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands has been submitted to the British Parliament.

A group of British parliamentarians demanded the adoption of a bill that would force to disclose the names of businessmen that keep money in the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, The Times imparts. Up to now, these offshore companies have been free from the requirement that is in place in the UK to unveil the names of entrepreneurs, owning assets in their jurisdiction.

The bill, brought by a Labor MP into the House of Commons, implies that the British overseas territories comply with the transparency reform, which obliges to disclose the names of beneficiaries of assets hidden in the country through shell companies until the end of 2020. A vote on it will be held on May 1.

According to The Times, next week the bill will be favored by a coalition of representatives of the Scottish National Party, Conservatives and Laborites. Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell stated that Prime Minister Theresa May must ensure that "filthy money fuelling the worst abuses isn’t sheltering under a British flag anywhere in the world" if she leads the world in taking a stand against Russia’s challenge to international norms.

The United Kingdom has been publishing a register of beneficiaries of assets being hidden in the country with the help of fly-by-night companies since 2013 - after the tax havens reform, implemented by Prime Minister David Cameron. However, at that time the law could not be applied to the overseas territories of Great Britain, since the government of the country ostensibly cannot pass laws for other elected authorities. Critics of this stance noted that this rule was violated in the past, for example, when abolishing the death penalty.

Since 2018, the British authorities have become qualified for sending inquiries about the unclear origin of income exceeding 50 thousand pounds sterling. If the persons to who the request was sent cannot explain the origin of their money, the British authorities will be able to freeze their assets. First of all, such inquiries may concern "politically significant persons".

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