FATCA pushes Caymans to make financial registers public

Published:  11 Feb at 6 PM
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Authorities in the offshore financial tax haven of the Cayman Islands are being forced by the USA’s FATCA to withdraw the veil of secrecy over the financial doings of the extremely wealthy.

The government fears its laws guaranteeing financial secrecy to investors are hurting the Caymans’ image and leaving it open to accusations of company-based money-laundering and tax evasion. FATCA and the UK’s ‘son of FATCA’ laws are due to come in soon and compel offshore locations in the relative dependencies to reveal account-holders’ names and bank details.

Other tax havens such as the Isle of Man have agreed to make plans to release details of fundholders in their financial institutions, and the Caymans are about to break their tradition of decades of secrecy in banking. The plan is to make public a database of hedge funds and companies registered in the islands, together with a list of British and USA citizens with accounts in Cayman banks.

The report comes after a long line of criticisms from international organisations over the islands’ lack of transparency, corruption scandals and financial difficulties. Government and media pressure has increased since the USA first announced FATCA and the UK followed with its own version, and the revelation last year that a huge chunk of Mitt Romney’s wealth was held on the island caused more controversy during the USA presidential election.
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