UK: House of Lords Rejects Public Beneficial Ownership Registers

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On the 17th of January, the House of Lords in the UK voted down a proposal which would have required six overseas territories to carry out a publicly-accessible register of beneficial ownership by the 1st of January 2020.

The vote took place during a debate on a suggested Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, of which the proposal to incorporate a public beneficial ownership requirement had been put forward as a potential amendment. The proposed clause defined public registers as widely equivalent to the UK’s own register of persons of significant control.

According to sources regarding the debate, the possible amendment had been tabled by Baroness Stern although was rejected by 211 to 201 votes. This was after a debate which involved comments by a commissioner of the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, Lord Flight.

Baroness Stern also stated that every leak or hack, such as the Paradise Papers and the Panama Papers, reinforces the need for transparency.