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Crown Dependencies publish commitment to increase accessibility to company beneficial ownership information

Wed, 13 Dec 2023

The Crown Dependencies have today (December 13) published a joint commitment to increase transparency and accessibility to information held on their registers of beneficial ownership.

The central registers of company beneficial ownership in Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man already exchange information with international law enforcement entities and tax authorities around the world. In line with the shared global aim of combatting financial crime in all its forms, access to the information will be extended to include:

  • financial services business and certain other businesses (collectively described as obliged entities) who are required to conduct customer due diligence
  • those media and civil society organisations who can demonstrate a legitimate interest in accessing the information in order to combat financial crime

The joint commitment follows careful consideration of recent decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights which recognise the incompatibility with public access with the right to privacy, and the recent international developments in response to this. (It therefore replaces the commitment published in June 2019).

The commitment states: “We have a longstanding and independently verified track record of meeting international standards. We are proud of our global leadership in tax cooperation, in combatting money laundering and in countering the financing of terrorism and proliferation financing. We will continue to provide appropriate and effective transparency which can support those critical objectives.”

The Crown Dependencies have already undertaken substantial preparatory work to enable obliged entity access, and it will be implemented before the end of 2024 in a manner that puts in place appropriate safeguards to effectively manage any interference with privacy rights.

Subject to necessary approvals in the Crown Dependencies’ legislatures, access for those with a legitimate interest will be provided in line with international obligations extended to the three islands, recognising that there is a crucial balance to strike between protecting human rights and combatting financial crime.

The Crown Dependencies will develop and deliver ‘legitimate interest’ access in a leading timeframe, taking into account international developments. Proposals to agree the definition of legitimate interest will be presented to the islands’ parliaments by Q4 of 2024 at the latest with implementation following in a reasonable timeframe afterwards.


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