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Malta & Greece Among Countries Peer Reviewed on Transparency & Exchange of Information

Malta & Greece on Transparency & Exchange of Information

Greece and Malta were two of the nine countries that were recently peer reviewed by the OECD’s Global Forum on whether or not they are being compliant with transparency and exchange of information on request (EOIR) requirements.

According to the set of reports released on September 1st, “Papua New Guinea, undergoing its first full peer review, was rated Largely Compliant, as were Chile, China, Gibraltar, Greece, Korea and Uruguay.”

Furthermore, the Global Forum’s press release introducing the report said, “Malta was issued a Partially Compliant rating and Anguilla was deemed Non-Compliant.”

As explained by Law360’s Alex Parker, this procedure is “part of the OECD's decade-old information-sharing program aimed at stopping international tax evasion by ensuring that countries have swift access to information about the beneficial owner — the ultimate recipient or controller — of financial entities.

“The effort has coincided with a new focus on global financial secrecy, which only increased after the 2016 Panama Papers leak,” Parker added.

Malta Flag

Malta Only Partially Compliant with Transparency & EOIR Requirements

Malta’s position as partially compliant came as a surprise to many.

Malta was moved from the Largely Compliant to Partially Compliant category as a result of its lack of “effectiveness of enforcement and supervision activities to ensure the availability of ownership, accounting and banking information, particularly considering the filing compliance rates.”

Additionally, the Mediterranean island nation was downgraded due to having a “large number of inactive companies registered during the review period, which caused delays or failures to provide information to its main EOI partners.”

Greece Flag

Greece, Chile, Uruguay, China & South Korea Deemed Largely Compliant

Greece, on the other hand, placed in the Largely Compliant category thanks to the work it has done since 2013 to fall in compliance with its transparency obligations.

Since then, Greece was commended for getting rid of “the issuance of bearer shares by most companies and…establishing a beneficial owner’s register.”

Work, however, still needs to be done in terms of “the availability of ownership and accounting information,” specifically as it regards the shipping industry.

In South America, both Uruguay and Chile were found to be Largely Compliant.

Chile did receive a series of recommendations with regards to its rules pertaining to beneficial ownership.

According to the peer review, “while Chilean banks are required to identify the beneficial owner of their clients since 2016, this obligation does not cover all relevant entities and the definition of beneficial owners for legal entities and arrangements is not fully in line with the international standard.”

Uruguay, on the other hand, has significantly improved its position on transparency and exchange of information by “ensuring that beneficial ownership information of entities is available, and becoming a party to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters.”

In Asia, both China and South Korea were downgraded from Compliant to Largely Compliant during this latest peer review, both suffering from issues related to the availability of beneficial ownership information.

British protectorate Anguilla was the only jurisdiction found to be Non-Compliant.

The report points out that Anguilla was demoted as a result of “two major deficiencies, namely concerning the practical implementation of rules requiring the availability of accounting records and significant failures by the authorities to respond to information requests from peers.”

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