Failure to Prevent an Economic Criminal Offence

Part of Criminal Finances Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 21st February 2017.

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Photo of Nigel Mills Nigel Mills Conservative, Amber Valley 3:30 pm, 21st February 2017

I accept that we hear the privacy argument a lot—I am sure that it is made in the UK context as well—but we have taken the decision to have transparent registers so that we know who the ultimate beneficial owners of these entities are. If I think through the scenarios in which people would have a right to privacy, I can perhaps see that there might be a good reason not to publish if there is a real issue of individual safety, but I struggle to find many other situations for which there is a good argument for people being able to establish entities or other bodies in the overseas territories without being clear about who the ultimate owner is. If someone owns a company here or is a shareholder, that has to be public. That transparency exists for any kind of entity here, so I am not sure why a different argument ought to apply for our dependencies. In weighing the right to privacy against the right to ensure that we are not letting dirty, corrupt, criminal money into the system, we have to err on the latter side of the equation.