Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jersey Finance argues tax havens are a force for good

The Guardian is carrying a comment piece by Geoffrey Cook of Jersey Finance responding to the serialised articles (here and here) drawn from Nick Shaxson's Treasure Islands.

The nub of Cook's argument is that Jersey is well-regulated, transparent, has a more than average number of tax information exchange agreements (20 in total), and serves as a major conduit for funds flowing from other countries into the City of London. He does not explain how or why these huge inflows are beneficial to the UK economy or to other economies. Nick Shaxson argues that they are probably not beneficial to either party, and can certainly be harmful to the majority of ordinary people. Cook ignores these arguments.

Neither does Cook use his article to address any of the specific concerns that TJN has previously raised about Jersey's legal and regulatory structures. In 2009 we assessed the island's opacity score at 87 percent, ranking the place 11th overall in the world at that time. You can read our summary assessment here.

We are currently re-working the assessments of all the secrecy jurisdictions ranked in the 2009 index (and several secrecy jurisdictions not assessed that year). The results will be published in October 2011 in the run-up to the G-20 Summit in Cannes.

The 2011 Financial Secrecy Index results will disclose whether or not Jersey has appreciably improved on its poor ranking in 2009. Until then, we remain unconvinced by Geoffrey Cook's protestations.

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