Former CEO of Jersey Finance has said public registers will not stop criminals going around it with a fake name and that the move would only hurt privacy and not secrecy.
"Somebody laundering won't mind putting a false name on a register nobody will check," Geoff Cook, who is now a consultant at Mourant, said at a panel discussion chaired by the managing partner of Mourant's Guernsey office, Advocate Jessica Roland.
He said Europe may be more likely to agree to a register but further afield such as in Asia, where business is often run through families, they would not tolerate such levels of intrusion.
What we need to do is seek to reach out to individual signatories, engage with them and make sure they understand the problems [of the public registers]"
"That right to privacy is really enshrined in human rights laws," he said according to local news outlet Guernsey Express.
His comments come as Westminster is trying to force Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man to introduce public registers, something the islands have resisted on constitutional grounds and until it become a global standard.
MPs Margaret Hodge and Andrew Mitchell are leading the campaign. Guernsey has argued that the UK cannot legislate for the island without its consent on domestic issues.
"What we need to do is seek to reach out to individual signatories, engage with them and make sure they understand the problems [of the public registers]," said Deputy St Pier.