One of the consistently underreported elements of Brexit and all that's come after it is that leaving the EU will also let the UK — the world's most prolific launderer of filthy criminal money — escape the tightening noose of European anti-money-laundering measures.
One of the bills pending when PM Theresa May called the election would have forced the UK's notorious tax havens — like Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Caymans — to disclose who owned the companies registered there. There was a chance that the bill would get voted on before Parliament dissolved, but it didn't make it to a key vote in the Lords and now it's dead until at least after the election and possibly forever.
The British Virgin Islands was the most utilised tax haven named in the Panama Papers, with over half of the corporate entities named registered there. The public has demanded action on this issue, and Parliament today ducked that challenge when a key vote in the House of Lords was abandoned.
Campaigners applauded when the UK cracked down on secrecy by making a public list of who owns which companies. However, when Parliament considered bringing the UK's Overseas Territories such as the British Virgin Islands up to the same levels of transparency as the UK by 2020, the Government dug its heels in. Instead of bringing them up to a 21st century level of transparency, the Government is promoting a two-tier system of transparency that allows money to be hidden from public view – by anyone from major companies to terrorist groups. This is morally wrong, especially given that developing countries lose at least $100 billion a year to tax havens like the Overseas Territories.
UK Parliament fails to tackle financial secrecy in its overseas territories
[Tax Justice Network]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: TUBS, CC-BY-SA)