Friday, October 26, 2012

TJN challenges Jersey (again!) to open debate

We challenge the authorities of the British Channel Island of Jersey (a secrecy jurisdiction) to open, public debate about our criticisms of that island's role as a tax haven.

Philip Bailhache, assistant chief minister to the island's government has given a fiery speech to that island's Association of Trust Companies, accusing those who criticise tax havenry (that's us) of being motivated by "the green-eyed bug of envy and ignorance."  Ouch!

In 2011 we assessed tax haven Jersey with a secrecy score of 78 out of 100.  This dismal score places the island well into the danger zone where it is likely to host large volumes of illicit financial flows and tax evading money.  We offered the island's authorities plenty of opportunity to demonstrate where our assessment differed from their own.  To date they have not offered a single shred of evidence that undermines our assessment.  And their poor record of non-cooperation with the EU's savings tax directive speaks volumes about how weak their commitment to tackling tax evasion truly is.

Far from demonstrating ignorance on our part, our assessment of Jersey has stood up to scrutiny.  And Bailhache knows this is the case.

In contrast to Bailhache's feeble rant about "envy and ignorance", we repeat our invitation to Philip Bailhache and his fellow ministers in Jersey to engage with us in public debate - on their home turf in Jersey - to discuss our concerns and to allow him full opportunity to respond.  Our director, John Christensen (a former economic adviser to the States of Jersey), campaigning chartered accountant Richard Murphy (who correctly forecast the problems Jersey would incur with their 0/10 corporate tax policies) and Nick Shaxson (author of the critically acclaimed Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World) are all willing to take part in this debate.

Over to you Philip Bailhache.  Do you have the courage to engage in this debate? Or will you continue to engage in snide back-stabbing in front of your home audiences?  Our contact address is: Tax Justice Network, 38 Stanley Avenue, Chesham, Bucks, HP5 2JG, UK.

We look forward to hearing from you.



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