Tax havens defend deals ahead of G20

Tax havens have rejected suggestions that the timing of an unprecedented
number of tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) was aimed at heading off
further action and criticism from G20 leaders against offshore jurisdictions.

Recent weeks have seen at least six formal agreements with many others still
in negotiation. Many tax havens, such as San Marino and Andorra, have publicly
pledged to work towards compliance with anti-haven standards set by the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Geoff Cook, CEO of Jersey Finance, said while he concedes the timing of
Jersey’s recent TIEA signings with France and Ireland may appear suspect, the
negotiations have been in the pipeline for 18 months.

‘We entered into a commitment with the OECD in 2002 and the first TIEA came
in 2006 with the US. The acceleration is not the pressure from the G20 but it’s
the prospect of a level playing field on information exchange,’ he said.

The signings with France and Ireland bring Jersey’s total of tax signings to
13; 11 of which are with OECD member countries.

Jeffrey Owens, director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and
Administration, said Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man had delivered on
commitments they made.

Alan Bell, treasury minister of the Isle of Man, said: ‘There’s no doubt
there is clear evidence of some jurisdictions rushing through TIEAs.’ However,
the Isle of Man’s recent signing with France is ‘purely a coincidence of

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