The time has come for the UK’s tax havens, which make up half of the top offshore centres, to make a choice: complete independence from the UK and keep their laws, or implement all relevant UK laws
This newspaper’s work exposing the “Laundromat” system of money-laundering highlights again the weaknesses in the United Kingdom’s financial system – built around the City – for detecting illicitly and corruptly obtained money, in this case from Russia. Most of this money is related to proceeds of crime, tax evasion and capital flight. How much dirty Russian cash has entered the financial system is unknown. About $20bn in criminal proceeds was laundered into 96 countries via eastern Europe and UK companies, many of them managed offshore. Worryingly, some may have fuelled political subversion.
Britain has a responsibility in tackling this at home and abroad. Crown dependencies and overseas territories constitute about half of the top global offshore sectors. They trade on the stability and integrity of the UK while having different legal and regulatory arrangements for rich individuals, trusts and corporates. The time has come for them to make a choice between complete independence from the UK and keeping their laws as they are, or implementing all relevant UK laws. If you want to trade on your association with Britain, then accept the standards the UK asks for the regulation of financial services. These centres should decide: British laws or their own.
Link : The Guardian view on UK’s tax havens: British laws or your own | Editorial