UK and Cayman resume crime-fighting cooperation after row

Pedro Gonçalves
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The UK and the Cayman Islands have reached an agreement that will allow the continued cooperation in the fight against money laundering and other crime after complaints from London that information was not being shared.

The minister of state for the Overseas Territories Tariq Ahmad and premier Alden McLaughlin released a statement confirming that British and Cayman officials had reached an agreement about the sharing of beneficial ownership information that will provide for “close and effective” cooperation.

“Following further talks between Cayman Islands and UK officials concerning the sharing of beneficial ownership information by law enforcement agencies, an agreement has been reached which will allow close and effective cooperation under the Exchange of Notes,” the statement read.

“This followed discussions on the technical process to be used by the General Registry and Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) for providing information to UK law enforcement in a timely manner and assurances from the UK that addressed the Cayman Islands concerns on privacy issues and the secure transmission of data.”

The agreement does not affect the threat that the British government may impose public beneficial ownership registers in the overseas territories through an order in council, if they have not been implemented by 2020.

Last month, Donald Toon, director of the National Crime Agency (NCA), told the BBC that a number of investigations had led to companies registered in the Cayman Islands but local authorities did not cooperate when asked for information about the owners of these firms.

The office of the premier responded with a statement that there was “absolutely no merit in Toon’s allegation.”

The premier is still pursuing a meeting with the authorities in the UK to review the current constitutional arrangement between the UK and Cayman.

The government, with the support of the opposition, is seeking to have section 125 of the Constitution either removed or re-written to prevent Britain from being able to make domestic law for Cayman.

However, there London has not set a date to start these talks.

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