Offer to 'hide' £6m. shown by Panorama

AN ‘OLD Sark Larker’ was filmed by an undercover Panorama journalist in Guernsey allegedly offering to hide £6m. from the UK taxman.

Last night’s Panorama on BBC One showed an ‘old Sark Larker’ allegedly offering to hide £6m. from the UK taxman for an undercover reporter. The man had his face blurred for legal reasons. (Screen grab by Adrian Miller)
Last night’s Panorama on BBC One showed an ‘old Sark Larker’ allegedly offering to hide £6m. from the UK taxman for an undercover reporter. The man had his face blurred for legal reasons. (Screen grab by Adrian Miller)

AN ‘OLD Sark Larker’ was filmed by an undercover Panorama journalist in Guernsey allegedly offering to hide £6m. from the UK taxman.

The flagship BBC One programme aired the footage last night as part of an investigation into the global fiduciary industry.

Images of the man, who was unnamed and had his face obscured for legal reasons, came a day after Guernsey officials said that the Sark Lark was ‘dead and buried’.

Speaking after watching the BBC’s Undercover: How to Dodge Tax last night, Commerce and Employment minister Kevin Stewart said it was not possible to stop criminality entirely.

‘I thought the programme was very positive for us. The only person they [Panorama] could find was someone breaking the law,’ he said. ‘We showed and demonstrated we have stamped out sham directors.'

Comments for: "Offer to 'hide' £6m. shown by Panorama"

pb falla

Tip of the iceberg 6m small money compared to the big boys laundering through guernsey

RIP THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Royston Gauno

The Villian with the blurry face looks like the Taxi driver wot picked me up from the Airport the other day..

Eh

What? Sark airport???

Backchat

Using old footage to try & rubbish us, a new push by the UK government to try & shut us down won't be far behind.

Arnald

I don't think Guernsey was rubbished, really. The prgramme highlighted the 2000 crackdown on Sark sham nom directors, forcing those that were serious about it to flee to less regulated places. It also highlighted the blurry-man's non-license.

Neil

Agree with Arnald. Relatively clear to me that Guernsey had made every effort to shut down the racket.

It was also clear that the wheeze had moved elsewhere and UK Corporate Service Providers were regulated with an extremely small 'r'.

Kevin came across well and there was an arrest the week before, I can only assume, off the back of this.

For once we came out well I thought.

pb falla

Another clown with blinkers on,finance is corrupt,simple.

Get Over It And Accept It

Instead of this we are well regulated fairy tale.

l'eree lad

Another clown hiding behing this 'troll' user name but not the same person judging by the different icon.

How many licensed financial services business did they approach and get knocked back by before they found one bent individual?

The reporting on Panorama is about as balanced as your 'arguments'...

Arnald

Hmm. Do Guernsey service providers know the background of all those nominee directors that are supposed to be controlling the various financial structures using Guernsey based products, say from out of Mauritius or Dubai.

There seems to be many legal and professional providers operating from out of places such as BVI and Cayman that have offices here. How does the public know that the 'dodgy' (read normal practicing) providers in those places are not using the 'friendly' connections to open up the web of structures needed to hide funds from the authorities.

Tax fiddling or criminality, the people that want to use these products can and do. It doesn't matter how many bits of paper Guernsey is seen to sign, the fact is that CDD and its equivalents will fail when confronted by known introducers and the already hidden beneficiaries looking for business here.

In fact, the more 'white listed' we appear, the more likely the 'dodgy' providers will attempt to pass funds through here, legitimising that aspect of an 'investments' path around the world.

It is only until there is full disclosure of ownership that any jurisdiction will be able to make the call that it is dealing as it should, and not facilitating crime.

There's no point pretending otherwise. The facts continue to pile up. I was saying this stuff years ago and widely ridiculed.

Even the likes of Terry Langlois didn't believe the structures I was describing, as highlighted everywhere in the media now.

Jimbo

Arnald

Do Guernsey regulated corporate service providers still use "nominee" directors (sic)? I really don't think they do, and probably haven't for about 10 years or more now.

We all know that in law there is no such thing as a "nominee" director, although those practising the Sark Lark then and now naively and foolishly think otherwise. A director is a director. Period. And accepts all liability resulting therefrom. Claiming "that I was only a nominee" will get the individual nowhere in court, or with a regulator.

Locally regulated individuals who hold client company directorships are very well aware of their responsibilities as directors, and I would be truly astonished if there will still any who acted as "nominees, even where the directors are locally-regulated corporate directors (which in turn have individual local directors).

I am sure that it may have been prevalent 10-15 years ago, but in modern, very highly regulated Guernsey today? I don't think so.

Arnald

Jimbo, I wasn't suggesting that the providers here use sham nominees, but how many structures are controlled by sham nominees? Without transparency there is every possibility that Guernsey could have accounts and companies registered here in the name of someone who isn't the actual owner.

Jimbo

Arnald

What do you mean by "controlled"? Do you mean beneficially owned by "sham nominees", ie sham owners fronting for a third party? Not sure that "controlled" is quite what you mean if I understand you correctly.

If you mean "could a local FSP be duped by not identifying the correct ultimate beneficial energy/principal of a structure then I guess anything is possible, but in practice we all take extensive steps to properly identify the principals, obtain professional references to back up their alleged source of wealth, carry out extensive Internet checks to to verify whether the person purporting to engage us really appears to be the true beneficial oner of the assets in question. We would get closed don by GFSC and potentially even jailed if we fail to take our AML obligations seriously. So it's possible, as indeed is any crime by a committed criminal, but is it likely? Not in my view. If I was a crook, there are far easier places than Guernsey to hide one's ill gotten gains.

Transparency is most unlikely to ever come. The right to privacy is a strong one.

Arnald

Privacy and secrecy are very different.

If people want privacy then they should open accounts in their own name.

Any company structure does not have the right to privacy.

Spartacus

Jimbo

I agree with most of what you have said but I think the requirement of transparency is coming and i'm not sure privacy is going to be a justifiable argument.

Jimbo

Arnald

You've lost me there. How can anyone have privacy if they open an account in their name? That seems to be a complete contradiction.

"Any company structure does not have the right to privacy". Really? Says who?

pfffft

Amazes me how undercover reporters can uncover this with what seems like relative ease but the UK government agencies cant or dont??? me smells a fat rat!

Arnald

They don't have the resources to pursue the complexity and amass admissable evidence to prosecute.

And that's the UK. Imagine a resource rich developing nation trying to recoup capital flight through corruption and MNC collusion in that corruption. Not a chance.

Peter

The Sark lark may be dead. But what about the Guernsey Lark? That’s thriving under the new regulations.

Guernsey has always been a granite pirate ship, profiteers for centuries. Many prominent Guernsey families are only rich today because of the privateer dealings with the UK Government of the past. Guernsey regulated? LoL