Saturday, December 03, 2011

Monaco launches a charm campaign

Monaco, the French tax haven enclave, has launched a charm campaign to argue for its legitimacy as a nation state. A website titled Playing a Special Role in the World presents some dubious reasons why the mini-state known as a notorious secrecy jurisdiction for corrupt leaders, and a tax haven for the rich and famous plays a positive role in the world.

Concerning talents it states that "in order for talents of 119 nationalities to c0-exist in the same territory, it is necessary to be a large country". Maybe this is an indirect referral for the tentacles of offshore accounts that makes the country much 'larger' than what it actually is.

Among the arguments for Monaco's contribution towards a better world are a reminder that efforts have been made to save the Blue Fin Tuna, that the principality is a full member of the United Nations, has an active role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and that they engage in fiscal co-operation having signed agreements with 24 countries.

More glaring are the omissions: no mention of zero taxation of non-resident incomes, or the 'prete-nom' accounts where a Monagesgue resident lends his or her name for concealing real beneficiary ownership of assets held in Monaco's banks.

It has been alledged by the French NGOs Sherpa and Transparency International France, that Edith Bongo the widow of the late Gabonese leader Omar Bongo, would have held ill-gotten assets in this manner in the Principality, contributing to ilicit financial flows.

The recent advertising campaign by Monaco shows that anti-tax haven campaigns like Tackle Tax Havens, are having an impact, putting secrecy jurisdictions like Monaco on their toes. Let's keep up the pressure.


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