Taxation – Offshore havens staff demand

A leaked Home Office report into the financial regulation of offshore tax havens has called on local parliaments to beef up the number of professional staff tackling the growing threat of fraud and money laundering, writes Phillip Inman.

The report, by former Treasury civil servant Andrew Edwards, examines the role played by the financial regulators on Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Edwards said each island needed to boost the number of professional staff by at least 20 to police and regulate the international financial centres.

A copy of the report seen by Accountancy Age, which has been sent to the island’s authorities for comment, also calls on the islands to consider setting up a Financial Centres Audit Office that would run ‘somewhat along the lines’ of the UK Audit Commission.

Edwards said he was concerned that offshore centres needed such a body to ‘help achieve high standards, a level playing field and an enhanced reputation compared with other offshore centres’.

The report welcomes the increased effort by the islands’ authorities in recent years to enhance their laws and financial regulations.

But Edwards makes hundreds of recommendations that would allow local regulators to crack down on fraudsters and co-operate more fully with international efforts to combat money laundering.

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