Government has vowed to fight vigorously against the amendment passed in the UK yesterday, forcing British Overseas Territories to establish public registers listing the beneficial owners of local companies.
This after MPs in the UK House of Commons debated and passed amendments to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill.
But it was passed with an additional clause addressing secrecy in British tax havens, which prompted an intense debate.
Now that it has been approved, once the overall Bill has passed by the British Parliament, the Overseas Territories; including Bermuda, will have until the year 2020 to introduce public registers..
Failure to do so will mean the British Government will impose it upon them through Orders in Council.
However, the Bill will be vigorously opposed by the Bermuda Government and other British Dependent Territories, who see the public records register as a threat to their financial services industry.
On hearing the vote, Premier David Burt described the Bill as an “attempt to legislate for Bermuda from London”.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Premier the action taken in the UK Parliament yesterday, “signals a significant backwards step in the relations between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Territories”.
The Bill is now bound for a vote in the House of Lords, which is deemed the more friendly of the two legislative chambers, when comes to the Overseas Territories.
In fact, the House of Lords rejected a similar Commons move on the issue earlier this year in January.