UK Abandons Plans for Public Registers of Beneficial Owners in Offshore Territories

By Paul Peachey

The British government has rejected calls by lawmakers to impose more-stringent corporate transparency standards on U.K. overseas territories and dependencies, claiming that the jurisdictions are already "well ahead" of other international tax havens. In June, the United Kingdom created a publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership data in efforts to crack down on the anonymous use of shell companies after millions of records leaked from Panamanian legal services provider Mossack Fonseca showed the prominent role that lax incorporation standards play in enabling money laundering and other financial crimes. The documents, also called the Panama Papers, indicate that more than half...