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Anguilla Creates Indelible Inc. Page 2
12:00 p.m.  7.Sep.99.PDT

continued
Like many other governments, Anguilla has adopted so-called Know Your Customer rules that require banks to monitor customers for normal and expected behavior, determine the source of their funds, and alert the authorities to "suspicious" activities. (In the United States, banking regulators abandoned a Know Your Customer plan -- at least temporarily -- after more than 250,000 irate Americans complained that it would invade their privacy.)

Jones explains the apparent mixed message by saying Anguilla doesn't want to attract money related to the sale of illegal drugs.

But it's perfectly happy being a tax haven. "In Anguilla there are no taxes, which means there are no laws, which means you can't break laws, which means there are no offenses," Jones says.

Translation: When the IRS comes knocking, you can bet that the door won't open.

Some technology companies have been attracted by Anguilla's hands-off approach.

Vince Cate of Offshore Information Services Ltd. moved his Internet company there a few years ago, and Hushmail avoids US restrictions on encryption exports because the site's crypto products were developed in Anguilla. Cryptographers now regularly flock to the annual financial cryptography conference held there every February.

To register a company online through the government's Web site, you need to go through an agent (some are helpfully listed). Registration as an agent is free, although Jones said the government must verify your identity.

Prospective incorporators also need to retain a local representative, who will typically charge a few hundred dollars for the service. Under Anguillan law, that person or firm is supposed to know the identity of the corporation's directors and shareholders, although privacy rules limit the disclosure except in limited circumstances.

A US attorney specializing in offshore trusts and corporations said he welcomed Anguilla's move.

"It's a refreshing new venue that hasn't been found," said Morty Ebeling, a Salt Lake City, Utah lawyer who charges clients US$3,000 to register companies in other Caribbean countries.

"The Bahamas takes -- if I'm lucky -- 10 days, and it's more costly. But the problem is still, can we overcome the banking situation? If you have to 'Know Your Customer,' anonymity is gone," he said.

Related Wired Links:

Net Tax Stalemate Snoozes On
22.Jun.99

Banking with Big Brother
10.Dec.98

Net Tax Moratorium Passed
23.Jun.98

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