British authorities will discover beneficiaries in BVI and other jurisdictions

The Crown dependencies and overseas territories of the Great Britain have agreed to deliver information on company beneficial ownership to the UK competent bodies electronically within 24 hours, or within one hour in ‘urgent’ cases.

These agreements have been achieved after months of negotiations. The leaders of the said territories promise the efficient cooperation with the UK agencies on access to this information – though all of them refused to make a central registry of beneficial ownership publicly available as the UK government originally called for.

For example, Orlando Smith, the British Virgin Islands Premier informed he would sign an agreement with the United Kingdom in order to strengthen cooperation between law enforcement agencies on beneficial ownership. It commits the BVI to “further developing a timely, safe and secure information exchange process”.

The similar commitments have been taken by the majority of the mentioned territories (including Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man, Cayman Islands), except Anguilla.

As a result, the British tax and law enforcement authorities will for the first time ever get the precise information of those who actually owns or controls companies of these territories. However, only the British competent authorities will have access to this information, i.e. such access will not be public. Moreover, it is referred to the UK authorities only. While for other countries or international organizations the beneficial ownership information of the companies incorporated in the British Overseas Territories will still remain unavailable.

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