The premier of the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin, claimed during an interview on the BBC’s HARDTalk program on February 12, 2014 that the British Overseas Territory’s tax system is among the best regulated in the world.
When challenged by talk-show host Stephen Sackur over the Caymans’ reputation as a tax haven the premier said the territory “is an open, transparent jurisdiction.” He noted that it has tax agreements with 33 different countries and has signed onto the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters.
Mr McLaughlin went on to point out that the Cayman Islands has been scrutinized by the OECD, the Financial Stability Board, the FATF, the Government Accountability Office of the United States, and the US Department of Justice, and “they all say that Cayman has got one of the best regulated systems in the world.”
“We’ve got some of the best arrangements for tax information exchange; we’ve got some of the strongest anti-money laundering regulations…of any country in the world,” he said. “We are in many respects ahead of the United Kingdom government, certainly as far as beneficial ownership is concerned, because we have records…of every single company registered in the Cayman Islands. The City of London can’t say that.”
Mr Sackur asked McClaughlin if he shares the concerns of former Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Chairman Tim Ridley that the territory would lose some of its competitiveness as a financial center if it is pushed to launch a public registry of beneficial ownership.
McLaughlin said he is not worried. “As the premier of the Cayman Islands, I have no difficulty, and my government has absolutely no difficulty, in complying with what are international standards,” he said. “If the international standards are that there ought to be a public registry for these matters, the Cayman Islands is more than willing to comply.”
He said that the Cayman Islands is in dialogue with the UK about the move to a public registry.