#AceFinanceNews – BRITAIN – April 21 – Companies will be forced to list their true owners on a public register in a bid to combat tax evasion and money-laundering, Vince Cable has said.
The business secretary said the list, which could be used by tax authorities, would tackle the “darker side of capitalism”.
The plans follow concerns that opaque UK corporate structures can be used to channel or hide illicit funds.
Campaigners called it an “historic step” in the fight against corruption.
‘Smoke and mirrors’
“For consumers, investors and the wider public to really trust a company they need to know who is really in charge,” said Mr Cable.
“This is why I’m making sure we take tough action tackling the darker side of capitalism and the smoke and mirrors which have existed for too long.
“No longer will UK companies be able to use complex structures and trails of paperwork to hide information and keep the public in the dark.”
The new rules, which need parliamentary approval, would force UK-registered firms to give details of anyone with an interest in more than 25% of its shares or voting rights.
These details, held by Companies House, would need to be updated every year.
Definition of Blind Trusts:
A blind trust is a trust in which the fiduciaries, namely the trustees or those who have been given power of attorney, have full discretion over the assets, and the trust beneficiaries have no knowledge of the holdings of the trust and no right to intervene in their handling.
Blind trusts are generally used when a settlor (sometimes called a trustor or donor) wishes to keep the beneficiary unaware of the specific assets in the trust, such as to avoid conflict of interest between the beneficiary and the investments.
Politicians or others in sensitive positions often place their personal assets (including investment income) into blind trusts, to avoid public scrutiny and accusations of conflicts of interest when they direct government funds to the private sector.
A blind trust is often used with those who have come across a fortune within a short period of time (e.g. an inheritance, or a multimillion lottery) in order to keep their identity anonymous to the public.
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