As an outcome of a visit to Cayman in February by senior UK officials, the Cayman Islands Government is finalising with the UK an Exchange of Notes that outlines the joint commitment of the UK and Cayman to the sharing of beneficial ownership information for law enforcement and tax authority purposes.
Cayman notes that while discussions on the Exchange of Notes proceeded, the UK reiterated its previous statements that it could impose its preferred approach through legal means.
However, based upon the advanced nature of the discussions to date, we believe it is possible to agree on an Exchange of Notes that is in line with current global standards. We also believe it is possible to agree on a Technical Protocol, which would make the Exchange of Notes operational within our law enforcement and tax authorities.
The UK is negotiating similar Exchanges of Notes with each Overseas Territory and Crown Dependency. For Cayman, the Exchange of Notes confirms our commitment to the following criteria.
- The UK (via a designated point of contact in the Cayman Islands) and domestic law enforcement and tax authorities must be able to access company beneficial ownership information without restriction, subject to relevant safeguards.
- These competent authorities should be able to quickly identify all companies that a particular beneficial owner has a stake in, without needing to submit multiple and repeated requests.
- Companies or their beneficial owners must not be alerted to the fact that an investigation is under way.
It is the UK's intent to have all of the Exchanges of Notes and the Technical Protocols with the OTs and CDs signed in advance of the Prime Minister's Anti-Corruption Summit in May. To accommodate this timeframe, the UK initially set four weeks to conclude all discussions; when it became apparent that more time was needed to review the Technical Protocols, the deadline was extended to Wednesday, 6 April.
Subject to further input from the UK, Cayman believes it can meet this deadline, as we already demonstrated our proposed centralised platform for the enhanced sharing of beneficial ownership information during the UK's February visit.
Considering the progress that has been made on this complex subject in the timeframe given, Cayman reaffirms its commitment to finalising an agreement with the UK on the Exchange of Notes and the Technical Protocol, which further enhances the sharing of beneficial ownership information among our respective law enforcement and tax authorities.
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