11 April 2016
The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, has made the following statement:
I have today agreed to sign an exchange of notes with the UK government that reinforces our existing arrangements for providing beneficial ownership information to law enforcement and tax authorities.
Jersey has had a Central Register of Beneficial Ownership since 1989 and has been sharing information in response to requests from organisations like the National Crime Agency for nearly thirty years.
This new agreement will involve the use of technology to speed up our response to requests, so we can answer non-urgent queries in 24 hours and urgent queries in one hour. This is in response to a need for information without delay where terrorist activities are involved, and is of particular significance in the light of recent events in Paris and Brussels.
The agreement is a development of the Action Plan we published in June 2013 when the Chief Ministers of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man met the UK Prime Minister, together with the leaders of the Overseas Territories, to discuss tax, trade and transparency in advance of the G8 Summit. The agreement that will be signed tomorrow reinforces our existing arrangements to work together in the worldwide fight against financial crime. Our fellow Crown Dependencies and the Overseas Territories are entering into the same commitment.
The terms of this agreement are essentially business as usual for Jersey: the Island regulates all trust and company service providers and the professionals who provide these services are subject to ongoing supervision. They are required to provide accurate, up to date information on beneficial owners to the Companies’ Registry, which forms the central register of beneficial ownership.
In June 2013 the Government of Jersey affirmed its strong support for Mr Cameron’s willingness to work in partnership with us to achieve a step change in international standards through the UK’s G8 Presidency.
We highlighted our commitment to maintaining our leading position in delivering a responsible and effectively regulated global business environment and in fighting international crime.
Having conceived and implemented a central register nearly thirty years ago, we welcome the application of this new standard across all Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories. Tackling tax evasion, fraud, and serious and organised crime is a global responsibility in which we will continue to play our full part.