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UK’s crackdown on corporate transparency in OTs branded ‘unnecessary’ and ‘inappropriate’ by peers

A controversial UK move to force its Overseas Territories to make public company ownership information was this week branded “unnecessary” and “inappropriate” in the case of Gibraltar, which already complies fully with international rules on corporate transparency.

As it stands, the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill will see the House of Commons in effect legislate – through a mechanism known as an Order in Council – for all its overseas territories, including Gibraltar.

The practical effect of the legislative move in Gibraltar’s case is largely academic because the measures it seeks to implement will already be in place here well ahead of the deadline envisaged by the UK.

But the constitutional implication of the UK seeking to legislate directly has raised deep concern in the Overseas Territories including Gibraltar. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo described it earlier this month as “more than retrograde” and “unacceptable act of modern colonialism”.

Those concerns were echoed loudly on Monday evening in a debate in the House of Lords.

Retired judge and independent crossbencher Baroness Butler-Sloss, vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group of Gibraltar, branded the proposed legislation as "unnecessary, unhelpful and inappropriate".

“Gibraltar is entirely compliant with all the current requirements,” she said.

“It is bringing a public register into its law early next year.”

Lady Butler-Sloss added: "It is not an appropriate way to deal with a country which has its own constitution and is entirely compliant.”

"It's very sad to find countries such as Gibraltar should be under a proposed regime, which would interfere with its constitution."

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