The fact that the Government of Russia is considering the imposition of sanctions upon the United Kingdom, because many Russian businessmen are deftly evading their tax obligations, by using a British Virgin Islands company, and a Cayman Islands bank account, should be no surprise to anyone. The United States has targeted, and fined, Cayman Islands banks, and financial services companies, and sees the situation as a systemic problem, with no solution. Americans & Russians who are tax cheats, continue to hide their money there.
The only US President who actually tried to shut down those Caribbean tax havens that are located in the British Overseas Territories, Ronald Reagan, sent high-level representatives to the United Kingdom, in the 1980s, but a former US Senate investigator has publicly revealed that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher herself called Reagan up, declaring that, to shut down the business of the Caribbean tax havens, "would ruin the economies of the islands," requiring massive UK financial contributions, which the British budget could ill afford at the time.
British efforts to insure that agents of companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands maintain records of the identities of beneficial owners have failed, due to a BVI regulation that allows that information to be held by a third-party company, provided that it has an anti-money laundering and customer identification program. Unfortunately, there are no guidelines as to what constitutes a properly qualified third-party, nor where it is located.
A financial services firm, working from a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean, impossible to reach, through court action, easily defeats any attempts to learn who owns a BVI company; The deck is stacked against obtaining accurate information. When you have a corporation formed in a tax haven jurisdiction, with no ascertainable owners, owning bank accounts in a second tax haven, with directors who reside in a third tax haven, and with other assets in the fourth tax haven, the system is broken, and only radical steps will fix it.
I say, let Russia do what no country has been able to accomplish since the 1970s; put the British Government to work, to reform their tax haven territories, and yes, even their Crown Dependencies. If it takes sanctions, let it be done; nothing else has worked to solve the problem.
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