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Mauritius, a small island off the southeast coast of Africa known for its offshore status, for money laundering and for being a transshipment point for South Asian heroine, vowed to clean up its act. The Mauritian government says it will enact its first asset recoveryˆ legislation in April. According to the International Association for Asset Recovery, the island has been long criticized by foreign governments for the lack of transparency in providing data on beneficial ownership of locally established companies. According to the same source: “Eva Joly, president of the European Parliament’s Development Committee, said: <<It’s a mystery that Mauritius wasn’t listed on any of the 2009 watch-lists for [corruption]. There is no requirement for accounts to be audited, no public register of companies, and above all there is the possibility to use nominees to obscure assets.>> She cited a 2008 study that found <<nine people who administer 1,500 companies, which makes economists burst out laughing.>>”
Similarly, French investigative magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke joked that despite the proposed changes, “I recommend Mauritius to those with dirty money to launder. Whenever a judge asks for information from Mauritius during an investigation, there’s no response.”
For now, the official website of the Mauritius government only provides information on the requirements for establishing a company but doesn’t offer any possibility of identifying companies through an online registry of companies.