Monday, February 13, 2012

Links Feb 13

Don’t ask, won’t tell Economist
Feb 10 - "Governments once turned a blind eye to their wealthy citizens’ offshore tax acrobatics. Now they are strapped for cash and hungrily hunt every penny in tax revenue. So a cold war on banking secrecy is turning hot."

Swiss banks seen as victims of own tradition swissinfo
Feb - Interesting commentary on status of banking secrecy. "Security, quality and trust… and banking secrecy. These are the qualities that have made the Swiss financial centre so successful. But it’s this very banking secrecy that is threatening the future of Swiss banks..."

Swiss banks involved in Greek Scandal Handelszeitung (In German)
Feb 8 - Reporting that over EUR 120 million has flowed to Swiss bank accounts from the two failed Greek Power companies Hellas Power and Energa. A rough Google translation to English is here. Hat tip: James S. Henry.

See also:
Energa and Hellas Power counterattack GR Reporter
Feb 11 - Background on the reported murky dealings of the Greek energy companies - "the two companies received money for the supply of electricity, but instead of giving it to the State Electricity Company (DEI) and the Hellenic transmission system operator (DESMIE), the money reached bank accounts in Switzerland."

Without new negotiations, there will be no "Rubik" agreement Le Temps (In French, subscription required)
Feb 9 - Interview with Heiko Geue, State Secretary, on opposition in Germany to the Swiss tax deal. Hat tip: Bruno Gurtner.

Daniel Radcliffe: Rich Should Subsidize Poorer People Working 'Just As Hard' Huffington Post
Feb 6 - "The actor, best known for his starring role as Harry Potter and worth an estimated $47,448,000, said ... 'I think, if you make a lot more money than most people -- like I do -- you should pay more tax and subsidise people who work just as hard as you, but don't earn as much.' " Hat tip: Maylis Labusquiere.

Spain: 86% of companies on the Ibex operate in tax havens EL PAIS (In Spanish)
Feb 11 - Reporting on a study by the Observatorio de Responsabilidad Social Corporativa. "Without tax harmonisation at the European level, it is difficult to change the trend." Hat tip" Jorge Gaggero. See TJN's Archives - 'companies and corporations' - for resources on similar reports.

U.S.: Why We Need A Minimum Tax on U.S. Corporations’ Foreign Profits Center for American Progress
Feb 10 - U.S. multinationals claim extraordinary levels of profitability in low-tax countries ... "It is clear from the observable measures of economic activity—location of customers, employees, tangible assets—that most of these profits aren’t actually being earned in these small countries in any meaningful sense. The obvious explanation is that they are moved there on paper for tax-motivated reasons."

The transparent hypocrisy of big oil Oxfam
Feb 10 - "The oil and gas industry loves to trumpet their support of international transparency initiatives and their tax contributions to the U.S. government, but when a new law requires them to tell the public exactly how much gets paid to whom around the world, they bring out the lobbyists and lawyers ..."

Ireland: Finance Bill will include tax breaks to lure top earners here Irish Times
Feb 8 - "Tax incentives aimed at luring senior multinational executives to Ireland, in a bid to boost job creation, will feature in the Finance Bill" - race to the bottom continues.

AIG: the black hole of London and ... Delaware Treasure Islands
Feb 10 - Nick Shaxson on some fascinating and worrying stories of the murky side of dealings in international finance.

Vatican Besieged by Leaks, Conspiracies abc news
Feb 11 - Commentary on the Vatican's "reputation as a scandal-plagued, secrecy-obsessed tax haven."

Liechtenstein royals to veto campaign to remove their veto Treasure Islands
Feb 13 - "Liechtenstein’s royal family has indicated it would veto the results of any referendum that removed the prince’s power to veto the results of referendums." Note: Liechtenstein ranks towards the top end of TJN's Financial Secrecy Index.

Don’t call Monaco or Jersey tax havens. It hurts their feelings Treasure Islands
Feb 9 - On an article published by Nick Shaxson in the UK's Independent, and political capture of "tax haven" jurisdictions by the offshore financial services industry.

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