Jeresey doesn’t deserve to be on anyone’s white list

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The Jersey Evening Post has published an article saying:

AN Island firm with special expertise in regulatory law is deeply critical of the omission of Jersey from the European Union's 'white list' of jurisdictions considered to have money-laundering controls equivalent to those in force in EU member states.BakerPlatt have produced a white paper on the issue, claiming that the white list 'omits the diamond for the dirt'.

Looking at levels of compliance with international anti-monetary-laundering standards, Jersey was judged by Baker Platt to be 76 per cent compliant and 18 per cent largely compliant as long ago as 2003. By contrast, in 2008 Canada was only 14 per cent compliant and in 2006 the USA was 31 per cent compliant.

I have posted the following response:

Let me offer an explanation that might resolve this apparent conundrum.

Jersey is rated as having good compliance with regulation when it comes to what happens in Jersey. I'll presume the IMF et al do their job correctly.

But let's also be clear: a great many of the structures Jersey creates have very little to do with Jersey. They are not owned in Jersey, are not managed in Jersey and are not accountable in Jersey for tax, or anything else come to that. Almost nothing is known about these entities on public record: all posts are held by nominees, and it is quite clear that whilst Jersey ensures that local regulation is complied with it does not consider its business to ensure the same of regulation elsewhere, i.e. where the entities created using Jersey law actually trade, are actually resident and actually have their beneficial owners. The secrecy Jersey provides ensures that the places where these activities occur cannot find out that they are occurring and as a result quite reasonably think that Jersey may be facilitating abuse of their laws.

Whilst it remains the case that Jersey is facilitating the creation of structures which are compliant under Jersey law but where that compliance is almost inconsequential because the very essence of the structure is that it either is, or at the very least potentially could be, abusive of the regulation (tax or otherwise) of another place to which Jersey turns a blind eye of indifference then Jersey is going to remain on 'black lists' or at least be excluded from white lists.

Until Jersey regulates the activities of the entities it allows to exist wherever they are and ensures that sufficient open and accurate disclosure is available on record on demand to establish who owns and manages those entities, and where they are then Jersey remains fair and square in the abusive world of offshore. That's what this list is saying. And so it should.

Of course, the remedy is entirely in Jersey's own hands. Put everything on public record, and require that all companies and trusts registered in Jersey be held to account by the Jersey authorities wherever they might be and this issue will go away. Until then Jersey has made its choice and shouting about fairness will make no difference: those of us in the countries who are being abused will continue to believe that the abuse is continuing because the secrecy you provide makes that possible.