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Author: Don Obrien

Finance industry defended after Pandora Papers leak details of the super-rich


Jersey Finance chief executive Joe Moynihan said that the Island captured data on those who had used companies based here for their financial dealings since 1999
Jersey Finance chief executive Joe Moynihan said that the Island captured data on those who had used companies based here for their financial dealings since 1999

When asked by the JEP whether the Island’s reputation could be affected by the recent Pandora Papers leak, Jersey Finance chief executive Joe Moynihan said that the Island captured data on those who had used companies based here for their financial dealings since 1999 and provided the law and tax authorities with ‘adequate, accurate and timely data’ on such individuals.

Over the weekend, reports were released on the Pandora Papers – a data leak of nearly 12 million documents from companies based in offshore jurisdictions – detailing the financial activity of the rich and powerful in a number of international finance centres, such as the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong and Panama, with Jersey also being mentioned.

Two similar large-scale leaks in recent years – the Panama Papers of 2016 and Paradise Papers of 2017 – have placed offshore finance in the spotlight, prompting moves for greater transparency in regions, such as Jersey, which are centres of financial activity.

This has included efforts by UK MPs to force Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to introduce fully transparent registers of the beneficial owners of companies listed within their jurisdiction.

Jersey has had limited coverage in the latest leak, although reports have claimed that the Island, along with other offshore centres, was used to invest money worth up to $1.3 billion by Indian businessman Anil Ambani, despite it being declared that he had zero wealth in a London court last year.

Commenting on the data leak, Mr Moynihan said that the Island had long captured information on who used Jersey when conducting financial affairs.

‘The Pandora Papers challenges the use of offshore companies to hide the identities of the ultimate company owners – the beneficial owners,’ he said.

‘Jersey’s position on hiding the identities of beneficial owners is very clear: we do not allow it. Jersey has captured beneficial ownership information on a corporate registry since 1999 and this enables Jersey to provide law enforcement and tax authorities with “adequate, accurate and timely” data – the specific requirement of recommendation 24 of the Financial Action Task Force recommendations.’

He added: ‘The Jersey Financial Services Commission handbook for the prevention and detection of money-laundering and the financing of terrorism also contains specific guidelines in this regard.

‘There is alignment among practitioners, regulators and politicians in Jersey which recognises a commitment to the highest standards and transparency as a well regulated international finance centre.’

Individuals whose dealings have been called into question by the latest leak include King Abdullah II of Jordan, who built up a multi-million-pound international property portfolio while his country received foreign aid, and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who, with his wife Cherie, avoided £300,000 of stamp duty when he bought a London property through an offshore company.

A number of previously anonymous donors to political parties have also been exposed.



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