BVI Governor Augustus Jaspert is planning to raise concerns of campaign financing during the 2019 General Elections, saying that campaign financing laws would limit the risk of corruption.
In the preliminary report of the team of international and independent officials, they expressed their concerns that there were no laws that require parties and candidates to divulge the origin of the funding of their campaign, and the ways how it was spent. It was noted in the report that, without adequate legislation on campaign finance, the jurisdiction is not compliant with the UN Convention against Corruption which was extended to the Virgin Islands in 2006. The governor agreed with election observers’ argument, and said that while he is prepared to discuss the issue with the government, it would be left to Premier Fahie to decide if it would be taken forward to Cabinet.
Now the final report from election observers is expected to arrive; in the preliminary report, it was also stated by election observers: “With continuing rumours of vote-buying and corruption by many interlocutors, a lack of financial accountability and legislative provision undermines and erodes voter trust in the system.”
Investors were reminded by Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC that a class action lawsuit had been filed against BVI-incorporated company China TechFaith Wireless Communication Technology Limited and some of its officers. The complaint, initiated on behalf of shareholders who acquired China TechFaith shares between July 12, 2018 through December 19, 2018, has the purpose to recover damages for the following alleged violations: the BVI company made materially false and misleading statements about the profitability of its agreement to sell its wholly-owned subsidiary, failed to adequately disclose the impact of changing market conditions, and made misleading statements about its business, operations and prospects.
Along with Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman, LLC corporate litigation boutique, BVI company’s shareholders are represented by the Schall Law Firm, a national shareholder rights litigation firm which announced filing of a class action lawsuit against China TechFaith Wireless Communication Technology Limited , and encouraged investors with losses over US$100,000 to contact the firm.
C3Nano Inc., the world’s performance leader in transparent conductive inks and films used in flexible displays, touchscreens and other products, refuted the claims made by China-based Cambrios, which is a subsidiary of British Virgin Islands-registered CAM Holding Co.
BVI company’s subsidiary tries to initiate an inter partes review (IPR) related to the validity of one of C3Nano’s United States patents. C3Nano has a large number of core patents protecting its commercial products; the arguable patent is related to C3Nano’s unique technology based on fusing nanomaterials.
C3Nano is widely recognized as the first company to successfully develop a commercially viable and scalable transparent conductor based on nanoscale metallic fused conductors, with performance exceeding all other competitive technologies. C3Nano has won several key business opportunities over Cambrios and its BVI parent company CAM Holding Co. Ltd. as well as other competitors due to the superior performance of C3Nano products. Recent patent-related action by Cambrios represents ongoing fallout from the May 2018 Society for Information Display (SID) conference in Los Angeles, when Cambrios’ lead scientist presented data that raised questions among industry players of Cambrios’ possible infringement of C3Nano’s fusing IP.
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is making the assessment of whether the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) is capable of managing funds from US$65mln loan given to the BVI for reconstruction and rehabilitation purposes. During CDB’s annual media conference last week, director of projects at the bank Daniel Best said that they are waiting a report that should follow recent evaluation of the RDA.
At the moment, the Ministry of Finance of the British Virgin Islands is in conduct of money from the loan. It is suggested that the bank would give permit to central government to take control over the loan until the end of assessment. Also, the director said that they as a development institution need to ensure that the RDA is competent and capable of implementing the projects once the arrangement is sorted out.
The British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission has issued the Public Statement concerning Global World Technology Limited, to make the customers, creditors and general public aware that this company has never been registered in the British Virgin Islands, and never been licensed by the Commission to carry on financial services business.
Global World Technology Limited is circulating a forged business license falsely purporting to have been issued by the FSC authorising the company to conduct trading services as an entity regulated by the Commission. Members of public are cautioned against conducting any business with the named company.
In the end of December 2018, the Dutch Government published a list of 21 low-tax jurisdictions which have corporate tax rate of less than 9 per cent. The Government will implement new anti-tax avoidance measures for the companies having business in these territories.
Among the countries on the blacklist there are the British Virgin Islands, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, the Bahamas, and many others; it includes also five jurisdictions which are already on the European Union’s blacklist. All these territories will fall within the scope of new Dutch controlled foreign companies (CFC) rules, effective from January 1, 2019.
The new rules which are under the EU’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive are intended to ensure that the EU country in which parent company is domiciled will be required to tax certain profits that are parked in a low or no tax country. The company will get tax credit for any taxes paid abroad.
Also, the Dutch tax authority will no longer issue tax rulings to taxpayers regarding tax structures with companies domiciled in the listed above low-tax jurisdictions. The list is expected to be reviewed annually.
Aura Minerals Inc., the mining company which two years ago redomiciled to the British Virgin Islands from Canada, made an announcement that one of its main assets, the San Andres gold producing mine in Honduras, has suspended mining operations because of the illegal occupation of its private lands. The company is working with the local and national governments to change the situation, but operations may remain suspended until satisfactory outcome is achieved. Also, the company is not updating its gold production and cash cost guidance.
Aura’s President & CEO commented, “We are obviously extremely disappointed and frustrated that we have experienced another invasion from a small number of individuals. These illegal actions are having a disastrous impact on the local communities, employees, vendors and contractors. We have the support of the communities shown through local agreements and a number of large community marches.”
The proposed BVI trade mission to Africa which was planned to be held in November, has been postponed until the beginning of the next year. BVI premier and minister of finance, Dr Orlando Smith, who will be leading the delegation, instead will work in this period towards supporting BVI financial services sector.
This decision was taken because of the EU assessment of international finance centres, during which the Code of Conduct Group within the EU ECOFIN Council decided in March 2018 that it would like to have more information from the BVI about its tax arrangements. Since that time, the BVI government has continued to engage with the EU officials to provide all the required information. Elise Donovan, BVI representative to the UK and the EU, has to to focus on the EU, and so she remains in the UK. At the same time, she will be a key figure in the African trade mission, this is one of the reasons why it needs to be postponed.
The government of Netherlands has started series of consultations, planning to review country’s tax treaty policy and make a list of low-tax jurisdictions to apply enforced incoming controlled foreign company (CFC) rules.
The CFC rule will be introduced by Netherlands from January 1, 2019. It will be in line with the requirements of the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive, and will target low-taxed CFCs – that means the companies registered in the jurisdictions with statutory tax rate of less than 7 per cent. British Virgin Islands are among the countries which are to be placed on the list, and to which the new rules will apply. According to the press release of the Ministry of Finance, the list will be updated annually. Dividend, interest and royalty payments to BVI and other listed jurisdictions will be subject to the headline corporate tax rate in the Netherlands, which is currently 25 per cent.
The news agency published information about the previously undisclosed complex web of financial transactions, which involved the transfer of money from Russia and Switzerland to the British Virgin Islands, Bangkok and New Jersey. The suspicious money transfers involved the participants of Trump Tower Russia meeting in June 2016. According to the documents, a billionaire real estate developer Agalarov close to both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin used offshore accounts to filter money.
The investigation of federal law enforcement officials is focused on two sets of transactions. The first one was short time after the meeting, when a British Virgin Islands company Silver Valley Consulting controlled by Agalarov sent more than US$19.5mln to his account at a bank in New York. Some days later, the BVI company made a wire transfer through its Swiss bank account for a little more than US$19.5 mln to billionaire’s account in the US bank.
In total, Silver Valley made nearly 200 transactions for US$190mln between 2006 and 2016, and some of them looked suspicious. It was found out by US bank examiners that Silver Valley received nearly US$900,000 in 2012 from a person investigated for tax evasion in the past. Next year, the BVI company received two payments from an aviation firm whose shareholder was involved with a suspected money laundering scheme. All the transactions came to light after law enforcement officials asked financial institutions to look for suspicious deals that could be connected to Trump-Russia investigation.