OECD to look at Cayman
"The Cayman Islands is on the agenda at today’s (Thursday, 14 May) closing session of an Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) committee meeting, which will decide whether to allow Cayman off the international financial-services “grey list”.
The OECD might like to consider a number of things related to Cayman's efforts. One is this section in its Confidential Relationships Preservation Law, otherwise known as its secrecy law.
As a major commercial operator in Cayman notes:
"Section 5 of the CRPL prescribes criminal penalties on anyone who divulges (or threatens, offers or attempts to divulge) or wilfully obtains (or attempts to obtain) any confidential information with respect to business of a professional nature, which arises in, or is brought into, the Cayman Islands. The penalty for committing an offence under the CRPL is up to two years' imprisonment and a fine of CI$5,000.00."
Now most of this, perhaps, isn't such a surprise: Cayman doesn't like giving up its many dark secrets (though it does provide tiny 'gateways' through this law that foreign governments and lawmakers can occasionally fight their way through). But one part of section ("or attempts to obtain") will shock many people. You can go to prison in Cayman not only for divulging information, but also merely for asking for it! (And we have checked with people who know that this is a correct interpretation.)
Is this the kind of thing that will get Cayman on an OECD white list? We very sincerely hope not. But we also note that the Cayman government has launched an
"all-out lobbying effort, but remains tense. “We are all on standby because we want to know. It’s very political, but we have done everything one could possibly do,” said Director of Public Relations for the Portfolio of Finance and Economics Ted Bravakis.
We have called all the OECD member states that are going to be there, talked to Germany, Ireland and Japan, all those who have supported us in the past, even the US, although this is not so high on their radar. The UK has said they would step up to the plate for us. We have made a concentrated effort to pull in whomever we can,” he said. “We have exhausted every possible angle to help ensure a positive result.”
So the UK, it seems, is backing them in their quest to have their shocking secrecy provisions, among many other very unpleasant things, legitimised. What a surprise. Let's hope the OECD makes the courageous decision.