Tax havens hit back

Speaking at the fifth international financial fraud convention in London Richard Pratt, director of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, sought to dispel the negative image the public has of offshore centres. He said that in order to ensure the sharing of information at crucial moments of an investigation, new legislation had to be drafted.

His demands were backed by Robert Mathavious, director of British Virgin Islands financial services department and John Shockey, former special advisor and US comptroller of the currency.

In summing up, Shockey who chaired the conference, said: ‘There is a need to validate the resistance to offshore financial centres. There is also a need for laws to permit co-operation. This is often overlooked by law enforcers.’

The Organisation of Economic and Commercial Development this month released a list identifying Jersey and the British Virgin Islands among 33 other jurisdictions it deems as having harmful tax practices. The organisation has threatened punitive action, including economic sanctions, if the reputed tax havens fail to co-operate with the global crackdown.

One of the conference speakers suggested the named and shamed tax jurisdictions create their own list of countries they deem to have perfidious tax practices.

‘That way you can have a mutual slanging match,’ said Michael Levi, professor of criminology at the University of Wales.

Shockey dismissed the list as including ‘traffic violators along with murderers’.

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