The Manx Nationalist Party - Advocating Republican Independence since 1963

The following submission was made to the Isle of Man Treasury in response to views sought on new Company Law. October 2005.

In May last year, the Party made it clear to Treasury that it wanted to take part in any company law review and had evidence to support the claim that companies registered in the Isle of Man formed part of  international criminal activities.

We reinforced that desire to make positive input with a submission of 30-06-04.

In subsequent enquireis to try to ascertain the status of the review and to restate our desire to make input, we were told that nothing was happening.

Now, out of the blue and after clear close consultation with those parties who have most to gain from a relaxed company law regime, we are faced with an admittedly extremely short consultation on a complete and lengthy draft bill that proposes massive changes in the way companies can be established and administered from the Isle of Man.

It is clear that the Treasury is going to try to bulldoze this legislation through Tynwald with minimal deliberation time. Politicians will be faced with making a decision on a complex piece of legislation that requires technical interpretation to understand the legal and moral implications of changes. We don't doubt that the members will be brow-beaten in to making hasty agreement to this legislation: That will ultimately be bad for the Island and democracy.

Looking at the legislation specifically, the "relaxed" regime, use of corporate directorships and reduced reporting and administrative requirements is an open door for even greater abuse of the Island's tax-haven status: Front companies and obscurity of ownership will facilitate and encourage those with a substantially less than open and honest objective to use the Isle of Man for their objectives.

The requirement for the new company framework to operate through an agent reveals the whole thing for what it is: a method of channelling business through corporate service providers.

Given such an unacceptably limited time for investigation, it has been impossible to make more detailed investigation but we believe that the proposal to have two sets of legislation permitting companies of equal status to operate under different regimes may well contravene the requirements of Protocol Three.

In conclusion, we see yet again, legislation produced as a knee-jerk reaction to ill-conceived policies (the zero-tax policy), tailored to suit vested interest (corporate service providers) with little regard to greater well-being of society, balancing opinions excluded and the result foisted upon Tynwald with minimum opportunity for informed comment.

On the strength of that, we oppose this proposal in its entirity as a matter of principle.

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