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Christian Aid welcomes Prime Minister's call for greater transparency

25 April 2014 - David Cameron has today written to the UK’s tax havens about the importance of them knowing and revealing more about who really owns the hundreds of thousands of companies they host, in a move warmly welcomed by Christian Aid.

‘We are extremely pleased to see the Prime Minister’s letter to the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, in which he makes it crystal clear that he wants them introduce public registers of the real owners of the vast number of companies on their shores,’ said Barry Johnston, Christian Aid’s Senior UK Political Advisor.

‘Mr Cameron has already led the way on this issue, by committing the UK to introduce its own public register of the millions of people who own companies in this country. He has since encouraged fellow European Union member countries to follow suit and today he is absolutely right to urge the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories to do the same.

‘If these territories want to shake off the label of ‘tax haven’, then now is the time for them to do it.’
The Crown Dependencies are Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man while the Overseas Territories include the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Anguilla and the Turks & Caicos.

Christian Aid research (PDF) has shown that the islands play a hugely important role in global foreign direct investment, with a very high proportion of all investment in developing countries being routed through them.

Shedding light on the beneficial ownership of companies in UK tax havens will help poor as well as rich countries to bring to justice some of the criminals who use secretly-owned companies to commit crimes including tax evasion, corruption and money laundering, safe in the knowledge it will be hard or impossible to prove their links to the companies concerned.

David Cameron’s letter comes at a time when some of the UK tax havens are doing, or have recently done, public consultations on whether to introduce central – and potentially public - registers of beneficial owners. The islands concerned include the Caymans, British Virgin Islands and Jersey.

For more information, please contact Rachel Baird on 0207 523 2446 or rbaird@christian-aid.org. Or ring the duty press officer on +44 (0)7850 242950.



Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change www.christianaid.org.uk/images/partnership-for-change-summary.pdf explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk