British Overseas Territories: Companies

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 6th February 2019.

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Photo of Valerie Vaz Valerie Vaz Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the oral contribution by the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Foreign Affairs Committee on The future of the UK Overseas Territories on 18 December 2018, Q221, HC1464 and section 51(2) of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, on what date his Department will require the Governments of Overseas Territories to introduce publicly accessible registers of the beneficial ownership of companies within their jurisdictions; and whether that date is consistent with the 31 December 2020 target in section 51(2) of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 states that “the Secretary of State must no later than 31 December 2020, prepare a draft Order in Council requiring the government of any British Overseas Territory that has not introduced a publicly accessible register of the beneficial ownership of companies within its jurisdiction to do so”.

The UK Government will therefore prepare the draft legislation by this date, requiring an Overseas Territory that has not introduced a public register, to do so by December 2023. This is consistent with the both the Act and the Government’s call for all countries to make public registers the global norm by 2023.

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