Cyprus’s financial sector still needs drastic reform, says commission

An expert commission appointed by Cyprus’s central bank has concluded that its financial centre can only survive if it is reformed to be less dependent on tax breaks for clients in particular countries, with strictly and visibly enforced anti-money laundering controls. The Independent Commission on the Future of the Cyprus Banking Sector (ICFCBS) was set…

Belgium imposes trust reporting obligations

On 30 July 2013 a new Belgian law introduced reporting requirements for legal constructions set up by resident private persons. The scope of the law covers foreign trusts, foundations, companies and partnerships, including the Anstalt in Liechtenstein and Bahamas limited corporations, which are explicitly mentioned in the legislation. But the law applies to a much…

HMRC to introduce further disclosure requirements for tax advisors

The government is proposing to force ‘high-risk’ tax-planning promoters to report their schemes to HM Revenue & Customs even before launching them. Legislation outlined in a consultation document published today aims to ‘make it significantly harder to market avoidance’. It seeks to ‘publicly identify high-risk promoters of avoidance schemes and isolate them from reputable mainstream…

Jersey to end retention tax agreement with Europe

Jersey’s government intends to drop the retention tax provisions of its savings tax agreements with EU member states, and replace them with compulsory automatic reporting of tax information. The agreements came into force in July 2005. They allow EU residents who earn interest on Jersey assets the options of either disclosing the income to their…

Judge warns divorcing couple over soaring legal costs

A senior family court judge has warned an international couple against dissipating their assets in legal costs, at a hearing in which the wife sought to have the divorce settlement decided under English law. The couple met and married in Singapore in 2009. They resided there until August 2012 when the wife, Charoo Sekhri, who…

Liechtenstein bows to US pressure on banking secrecy laws

LLB, Liechtenstein’s second-largest bank, has set aside an additional 31 million Swiss francs (USD33 million) of provisions as the country succumbs to US pressure on banking secrecy. Liechtenstein’s second-largest bank LLB has set aside over USD50 million of provisions as a settlement with US prosecutors investigating overseas bank accounts. The move comes as US authorities…

New decision-making guidance for charity trustees

The Charity Commission has issued new decision-making guidance for charity trustees in England and Wales. The document, called It’s Your Decision, deals with matters such as ensuring that trustees have the relevant powers to carry out their plans; managing conflicts of interest; and making informed decisions based only on relevant considerations. Trustees who follow the principles will…

Multinational financial firms being held to account for Latin American money laundering

International efforts to tackle money laundering across Latin America are targeting multinational financial institutions and laundering rings across the continent, as governments try to choke off illicit proceeds of narco-trafficking. This summer has seen decisive action taken against money laundering schemes in Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico. International financial institutions including HSBC, JPMorgan and BNP…

BVI pushes back on beneficial ownership registries

Despite UK pressure, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is insisting that it will only create a central registry of beneficial owners when international money-laundering standards require all countries to do the same. Last month, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron summoned leaders of all British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to a meeting in London….

Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013 is reintroduced

The United States federal estate tax could be permanently repealed if bipartisan legislation that has been reintroduced in the Senate and House of Representatives is passed. Sen. John Thune, R-SD, Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and Rep. Kevin Brady R-Texas, Chairman of the Congress Joint Economic Committee, are behind the Death Tax Repeal Act of…