Wednesday, September 07, 2011

One out of ten companies on Oslo Stock Exchange in tax havens

From Sigrid Klæboe Jacobsen, Tax Justice Network - Norway

Most of them don't want to talk about it. Norwegian tax authorities now join civil society in demands of regulation and transparency.

The disclosure was printed in the major Norwegian daily Aftenposten and spurred a media debate on regulation and country-by-country reporting by companies listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Companies like Golden Ocean Group stated that «We don't want to comment on this», whilst BW Offshore said that «Many jurisdictions dont have tax, but we have good experience with Bermuda».

Attac Norway and TJN Norway say that today's lack of regulation hinders democratic control and that country-by-country reporting is needed. Attac Norway has been monitoring the Stock Exchange for years, and the disclosure in Aftenposten uses these their results as a basis for the articles: see here.

This was supported by Norwegian tax authorities by Henry Larsen who says: «New reporting standards would ease our efforts in finding the right tax base for multinationals who are taxable in Norway.« whilst Finanstilsynet (independent government agency supervision of the financial market) claims that tax havens are unproblematic and that they always has got the info they needed. Strange that they would claim this, because just a few months before, Økokrim (The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime) announced that they were suing Transocean for the biggest tax scandal in Norway ever. It was especially problematic getting information from the USA and Britain: see here.

Parliamentarians also reacted: see here.

The Socialist left party says that Tax havens can finance terrorism, and that using tax havens will come higher on the agenda after the terror attacks against Norway 22th July. Support for country-by-country reporting also comes from the Christian Democratic Party.

Yet another follow-up article shows that the Norwegian Government own stocks in eight of the tax haven companies through Government Pension Fund Norway (Folketrygdfondet). But they dont want to adress this issue. The Norwegian Church Aid calls this a paradox: «When the Pension Fund invests in tax haven companies, they should adress this with the companies....combatting tax havens has long been a part of official Norwegian policy». Reported here.


Anonymous Chris Taggart said...

A good resource for this is OpenCorporates which lists (and allows searching by name) companies in many of the tax havens, including Bermuda, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Malta, Panama, etc

5:06 am  

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