I note that whilst I was away there was some comment on the UK's overseas tax haven territories not making it to the EU's 'white list' of locations with equivalent money laundering standards to the UK despite places like Russia doing so.
I am not at all surprised. Places like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, The Russian Federation, Singapore, Switzerland, South Africa and The United States are big enough to enforce, at least with some success, the rules they have on money laundering. That is because the places are big enough for the people regulated and the law enforcers to be sufficiently distinct to ensure that one group can exist in society independent of the other, and so maintain an objective status.
I question whether that is possible in the French overseas territories, the Dutch overseas territories and the UK Crown Dependencies even though I note each has been given equivalence status. I seriously doubt that this is possible in the Crown Dependencies, for example, and would suggest that the obvious political pressure put on those investigating child abuse in Jersey is clear evidence of the corrupted culture of that place, for example.
It is impossible for there to be effective money laundering controls in the Overseas Territories. The NAO report on them published last year is proof of that. As they say:
Capacity limitations in the offshore financial sector have limited Territories' ability to investigate suspicious activity reports, and, in the case of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla and Montserrat, resources are below the critical mass necessary to keep up with increasingly sophisticated international standards and products in offshore financial services.
Note, none are excepted from this comment, including Cayman and Bermuda.
The evidence is now abundantly clear: the UK cannot allow these places to continue as acknowledged centres of world crime. When will it take action to shut them down?