BVI Finance welcomes positive comments made by the UK Home Secretary reflecting the level of cooperation between UK and BVI law enforcement authorities, following a review into the implementation of the Exchange of Notes (EoN) on Beneficial Ownership information, 18 months after its initial introduction.
In a written statement to the House of Lords, Sajid Javid, the UK Home Secretary stated that UK Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) had found the EoN “extremely useful” in accessing information needed to support their investigations.
He added that the participating CDs and OTs, which include the British Virgin Islands, had consistently reiterated their commitment to the implementation of the EoNs, as demonstrated by their “positive and proactive” engagement over the last 18 months.
The review found the EoN process provided LEAs with “rapid access” to beneficial ownership information on over half a million entities based in the three participating CDs and six OTs.
The statutory review follows the BVI’s implementation of the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System (BOSSs), a cutting-edge technology system that enables the relevant BVI Authorities to have a searchable database with information on BVI Companies and their beneficial owners.
The BOSSs platform was introduced in 2017 following the Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System Act – since then, the BVI’s Financial Investigation Agency, the entity responsible for receiving requests for BOSSs, has responded to 241 requests for beneficial ownership information from UK law enforcement authorities.
Commenting, Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie, said: “We welcome the positive comments from UK Home Secretary on the success of the Exchange of Notes on Beneficial Ownership information today.
“The British Virgin Islands has always been clear in its commitment to effective cooperation between relevant law enforcement agencies so we are pleased that our proactive approach has been recognised in the UK’s review of the process.
“We continue to engage with the UK on this issue and expect to further improve the level of cooperation between our respective jurisdictions going forward.”
The Home Secretary’s statement follows recent comments from the FBI’s Acting Deputy Assistant Director (Criminal Investigative Division), Steven M. D'Antuono, who praised the bilateral agreements between the UK and its CDs and OTs, noting their “immense value” to the National Crime Agency. Mr D’Antuono made his comments in a statement to the US Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee in Washington DC whilst championing the effectiveness of law enforcement access to corporate beneficial ownership information in combating illicit financial activity.1
1 Combating Illicit Financing by Anonymous Shell Companies: https://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/combating-illicit-financing-by-anonymous-shell-companies