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Compromised in recent Years? 

Yes, but with knowledge not as much as may have been feared


In virtually all-Western European countries was traditionally accepted that the relationship between a banker and his client is privileged and cannot be released without specific legal sanction (In the UK see Tournier v. National Provincial & Union Bank of England [1924] 1 KB 491). However, in today’s world it now seems, often under the auspices of headings such as ‘national security’, such confidentiality is now a fiction. In fact, in countries such as the United Kingdom banking confidentiality is no longer really in situe with the most recent ruling forcing UK banks with offshore subsidiaries and/or branches to disclose information not on the basis of suspected criminal activities but on a ‘blanket’ basis.

The result is that there is in effect a new reverse burden of proof placed upon those who elected to use a UK owned offshore bank in that they need to prove that they have paid all UK taxes rather than the Inland Revenue needing to prove that they didn’t. Such bureaucracy is certainly a significant departure from the past and certainly anti-business in its nature …. Fortunately, however the SCF Group can assist UK businesses in establishing accounts in jurisdictions where the traditional ‘confidentiality’ is still in situe and unlikely to be compromised in the near future
 

Bank Introductions for Offshore Companies

The SCF Group offers two different types of Bank Introduction services dependent on your selected Offshore Company Management Option:
 
Beneficial Owner directly controlled Bank Accounts: This is where we introduce your company to a bank that is already aware of the identities and legal positions of the supplied nominee directors and further is also aware of your beneficial owner status. The advantages of using this service over approaching a bank directly is that the identity verification process will have already taken place for the nominees, leaving only the verification of the beneficial owner to be carried out
Managed Bank Accounts: This is where the SCF Group directly manage your offshore company and act as the directors and secretary. The advantage is that bank accounts can be opened up relatively quickly and further go to establish the separateness of the offshore company from you or your existing companies
 

Banking Jurisdictions – a précis

For more information on the Banking Systems in the following countries & jurisdictions, click a link below:
Banking jurisdictions - compared and contrased
Austria
Caribbean & Panama
Cyprus
Gibraltar
Guernsey

 

Isle Of Man 
Jersey
Luxembourg
Liechtenstein
Switzerland 
 
 

Banking in Austria
 
Austria has a highly developed banking system and maintains a high degree of banking anonymity. A European Union Member, highly recommended for those seeking a stable banking environment who do not have significant dealings with Germany
 
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 4 Stars
Bank System Rating: 5 Stars



Banking in the Caribbean & Panama

In virtually all of these jurisdictions there are statutes or, in the case of British Colonies, ordinances which generally require strict confidentiality from bankers - A breach of such confidentiality often resulting in penal consequences. In addition, virtually all of this area's exempt and international business corporations allow for 'bearer' shares, do not require any form of annual accounts and maintain few details on public record. On the negative side these are developing countries located near to South America and hence, associated with various illicit transactions. In particular, the United States has put pressure on these territories to demonstrate due diligence, however, the number of arms, drugs and general 'laundering' scandals over the years may cause apprehension amongst ordinary businessmen

Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 5 Stars (Non-US Residents)
Bank System Rating: 2-3 Stars



Banking in Cyprus
 
When establishing an offshore company or a Branch of a foreign company in Cyprus details of beneficial ownership must be provided to both the registration agent and the Central Bank of Cyprus. However, if nominee directors and shareholders are used, no information need be on public record save that relating to the said nominees. At the time of registration, personal bank references and passport photocopies will be required together with details on the type of business activities. Under local law information appertaining to beneficial owners cannot be released under threat of penal consequences. In addition, the accounts submitted to the Central Bank at the end of the financial year are also strictly confidential. Nevertheless, the Cypriot authorities will release information. Mere illicit transactions are involved once the proper procedures have been followed, however, Cypriot courts will not enforce another country's civil tax claims
 
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 4 Stars
Bank System Rating: 3-4 Stars
 


Banking in Gibraltar

Gibraltar has introduced very similar money laundering legislation to both the Isle of Man and Jersey. However, unlike these two jurisdictions it is part of the European Union. It has no double taxation treaty network and gained a very bad reputation in the 1980's due to a number of high profile scandals.
Non-resident companies are not subject to the same level of due diligence or monitoring as exempt companies. As with all other respectable European offshore jurisdictions information will be released if illicit transactions are claimed. Most of the recent UK Criminal Justice Act provisions tightening up money laundering and anti-drug enforcement regulations are currently being redrafted for local implementation
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 3 Stars
Bank System Rating: 5 Stars
 


Banking on Guernsey

The Guernsey Financial Services Commission (G.F.S.C.) has made this jurisdiction one of the most closely monitored in Europe. It should also be noted that Guernsey has a tax treaty with the United Kingdom and that this contains exchange of information provisions relating to tax avoidance.
Banks must provide beneficial ownership details to the G.F.S.C. In addition, on the formation of companies specific questions are asked as to whether the entity is being formed for UK tax avoidance purposes and, if so, exactly the taxes in question. As with all other respectable European offshore jurisdictions information will be released if illicit transactions are claimed. Most of the recent UK Criminal Justice Act provisions tightening up money laundering and anti-drug enforcement regulations are currently being redrafted for local implementation
 
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 3 Stars (UK Residents)
Bank System Rating: 4 Stars
 


Banking on The Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has one tax treaty partner, the United Kingdom. As with Guernsey, this treaty allows for an exchange of information relating not only to fraud but also in respect to the avoidance of taxes covered by the treaty.
Local company registration agents do not have to keep specific details on beneficial owners but the likely introduction of a Manx version of the British Criminal Justice Act will result in a significantly higher legal 'duty of care' to be placed on bankers and other professionals. Nevertheless, the fact that banks or company registration agents do not have to automatically provide beneficial ownership details to the regulatory bodies means that relatively good confidentiality can be maintained for most legitimate transactions
 
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 3 Stars (UK Residents)
Bank System Rating: 5 Stars


Banking in Jersey

The regulatory position of Jersey is very similar to Guernsey save that the information that must be supplied to local company registration agents will not directly ask for information on a clients UK tax position.
Nevertheless, the exchange of information provisions are almost identical to those for Guernsey (Art. 1 0, Jersey/UK Double Taxation Treaty, 1952) and banks are closely monitored. Synopsis; A highly sophisticated banking and financial service jurisdiction with a high duty of care on banks to 'know their clients'
 
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 3 Stars (UK Residents)
Bank System Rating: 5 Stars

 
Banking in Liechtenstein

For those seeking confidentiality over their business and financial affairs Liechtenstein probably offers the best 'haven' in Europe. It is not a member, or associated member, of the European Union and only has one double taxation treaty with Austria. Under their most recent banking legislation, passed on the 21ST of October 1992, both present and former bank staff together with government officials cannot disclose any banking information to third parties. If one of the numerous local legal entities, including anstalts, aktiengesellschafts and foundations, are needed it is highly recommended that local lawyers are employed since any non-authorized disclosures would result in penal consequences. For the same reasons, their employment is also recommended even when personal or foreign company accounts are being opened. Obviously, Liechtenstein like all other respectable jurisdictions does not wish, notwithstanding the aforementioned, to be seen as a centre for illicit/criminal activities and, provided sufficient evidence is adduced, will release information. Further, any cash deposits over 500,000.00 Swiss Francs will be subject to strict source verification. Nevertheless, it should be noted that the Liechtenstein authorities would not assist third party inquiries relating to foreign tax obligations. If a foreign company is opening an account full banking confidentiality will still apply, however, it is then necessary to consider that jurisdictions disclosure rules
 
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 5 Stars
Bank System Rating: 5 Stars  

 
Banking in Luxembourg

Luxembourg has perhaps one of the most sophisticated banking systems in Europe combined with complementary offshore and tax planning companies. The jurisdiction has a high degree of banking anonymity. A European Union Member, highly recommended for those seeking a stable banking environment who do not have significant dealings with Germany or France 
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 4 Stars
Bank System Rating: 5 Stars  

 
Banking in Switzerland
 
This is perhaps the most famous banking centre in the world and still continues to attract large numbers of high net worth clients; principally because of ability and reputation of the banking community.
As in Liechtenstein, cash deposits over 500,000.00 Swiss Francs must be verified and non-authorized disclosure of confidential information by bankers and associated officers will result in penal consequences. Where there is evidence of activities that would be considered criminal under Swiss law, third parties can seek redress and set-aside the normal confidentiality.
However, it should be noted that tax avoidance and exchange control violations are not criminal activities in Switzerland and hence, cannot compromise standard confidentiality. Further, as a result of pressure from the United States, it is no longer possible for Swiss lawyers to open 'Numbered Accounts' under their name for the benefit of undisclosed clients.
On incorporation, a Swiss company can maintain anonymity by employing nominees; normally supplied by a local fiduciary company.
In synopsis, Switzerland can provide many benefits to the businessman and a high level of confidentiality but this must be tempered by relatively high costs
 
Bank & Jurisdiction Confidentiality Rating: 5 Stars
Bank System Rating: 5 Stars
 
 
 

   

Major Tax Systems: France - Germany - Spain - The United Kingdom

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© SCF Corporate Management & Holdings (Cyprus) Limited


Representative Office:

SCF Legal & Corporate Management Services Limited,

3 The Fountain Centre, Lensbury Avenue, Imperial Wharf, Fulham, London SW6 2TW, UK

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T: + 44 (0) 20 7731 2020

E: offshore@scfgroup.com

 

Management Offices:

IAO Company Management Limited,
Cam Lodge, the Russian Village,
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SCF Corporate Management & Holdings (Cyprus) Limited Company,
225 Spyros Kyprianou Avenue,
Nicosia 2047, Strovolos, Cyprus
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T: + 357 (0) 22 467 181
E: Cyprus@scfgroup.com