John Christensen ■ Cayman Compass: Public registers would foil tax criminals
Mr Carlyle Roger’s article (Cayman Financial Review, Third Quarter 2014) calling public registers a solution in search of a problem concedes that a public registry would “force criminals and the criminally minded to stop using corporate entities…” (“The proposal for a central public register of beneficial ownership information: a solution in search of a problem.”).
In our view, that would be no small achievement. Criminals do not have an infinite supply of creativity: They are often simply taking advantage of available opportunities. Without the option of anonymous incorporation, many corrupt and criminal schemes would cease to be viable.
That is why leading governments as well as banking and industry associations around the world are on record endorsing the publication of beneficial ownership information in public registries.
Public registries are a cost-effective way of making it more difficult for criminals to hide behind anonymous companies, while using only the minimum information necessary to identify the beneficial owner, with legitimate exemptions to protect privacy where needed.
This is an idea whose time has come. Embracing it will improve the lives of millions of citizens who today suffer the consequences of organized crime, corruption and tax evasion.
John Christensen, Director, Tax Justice Network
Cobus de Swardt, Managing Director, Transparency International