Owen, Christopher: Offshore Survey – January 2004 Supplement

  • The International Tax Planning Association Library – Offshore Survey Supplement – January 2004 by Christopher Owen
    • Offshore Survey – January 2004 Supplement by Christopher Owen
      Courts freeze Shirley Porter’s hidden assets Millions of pounds of assets believed to be controlled by former Westminster Council leader Dame Shirley Porter have been frozen under orders granted by courts in England and Guernsey. The Tesco heiress, who now lives in Israel, owes Westminster Council £37m in surcharges following a gerrymandering scandal in the 1980s. Once estimated to have a £60m fortune, she claimed to be worth just £300,000 when ordered by a court to disclose her assets last year. Westminster Council said: “The council has applied for and been granted by the courts in England, Guernsey and the British Virgin Islands, disclosure orders against 14 different companies and individuals. The orders required the respondents to disclose information to the council about Dame Shirley Porter’s past and present wealth. “The disclosure orders have produced for the council a very substantial amount of information. The assets disclosed as a result of the court orders have a value of many millions of pounds. In the main, these assets are held in trusts and companies in other jurisdictions.” The council added that in addition to the freezing order against Dame Shirley herself, it has obtained similar orders over assets worth “many millions of pounds in others’ hands. “The council believes that it has a good claim against the assets frozen by the court orders, it said. It is in the process of registering its English judgment against Dame Shirley in the Guernsey Court. FATF imposes sanctions on Myanmar The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) called upon members to apply ?counter-measures? to financial transactions involving Myanmar, which was identified by the FATF as a ?non-cooperative country or territory? (NCCT) in the fight against money laundering in June 2001. ?Since that time, Myanmar has still not addressed major deficiencies in its anti-money laundering regime,? said the FATF. ?In particular, Myanmar has failed to establish a framework to engage in effective international cooperation in the fight against money laundering, and its anti-money laundering law continues to lack the implementing regulations necessary to make it enforceable.? The FATF said it would review sanctions against Myanmar at its next meeting in February 2004. Other countries currently identified as NCCTs are the Cook Islands, Egypt, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nauru, Nigeria, the Philippines and the Ukraine. Sanctions recommended by the FATF include: stringent requirements for identifying clients and enhancement of advisories to financial institutions for identification of beneficial owners before business relationships are established with individuals or companies from the NCCT; enhanced reporting mechanisms or systematic reporting of financial transactions on the basis that financial transactions with NCCTs are more likely to be suspicious; taking into account that a bank is from an NCCT in considering requests for establishing subsidiaries or branches or representative offices in FATF member countries; and warning non-financial sector businesses that transactions with entities within the NCCTs might run the risk of money laundering. IMF reports on financial regulation in Liechtenstein Liechtenstein was found to have a ?high level of compliance? with international standards for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism, according to a financial sector assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The report said Liechtenstein had made significant strides since being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force in 2000. It had introduced legislation to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes with the creation of financial intelligence and due diligence units. Mutual assistance with regulators and police authorities had also been greatly improved. But the IMF also warned of continuing failings in policing banks and independent financial advisers, saying the Financial Services Authority lacked adequate resources to carry out supervision. The report stressed that in some areas Liechtenstein needed to move beyond ?formalistic? application of minimum requirements towards a more effective application of the rules. ?The FSA must be in a position to properly analyse the financial reports and audit results, which it currently does not, in order to communicate specific instructions to the auditors and regulated institutions,? said the report. ?The weaknesses result directly from insufficient staff for the supervision and regulatory functions.? It also criticised the creation of different supervisory bodies rather than a single agency. Planning was underway to create an integrated financial supervisory authority by early 2005, with legislative changes to be completed by mid-2004. The IMF said this would address some concerns about the lack of resources but stressed the need for a more independent supervisory structure rather than the current government-controlled system. Another recommendation called for removal of the existing 10-day time limit on the prohibition against tipping off and blocking accounts after the filing of suspicious activity reports. Click the link below to download the whole article which includes the following topics in addition to those above:IMF publishes Financial Sector Assessment of Mauritius Belgium amends tax amnesty proposal Caricom to establish Caribbean Court of Justice Cayman tables Immigration Bill Cyprus lifts certain Exchange Control restrictions Guernsey Court penalises trust company for failing to transfer assets Inland Revenue announces amendment to claims limits

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