Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Links Oct 3

UK: Foreign Office approved peer’s role as tax haven lobbyist The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Oct 2 - More on a story reported earlier. "The Foreign and Commonwealth Office approved Lord Blencathra’s appointment as a paid lobbyist for the Cayman Islands government, despite his role potentially breaching parliament’s code of conduct." See also: Lord David Blencathra Competition is a good thing Cayman Financial Review

Remnants of Swiss banking secrecy under fire as German opposition leader blasts tax deal Washington Post
Oct 1 - “This German-Swiss tax agreement contains so many fundamental flaws that I can’t recommend to my party ... to vote in favor of it,” said Steinbrueck." Cites TJN's Markus Meinzer.

Semeta: Austria's blockade is costing us millions TJN Germany Blog
Oct 1 - The Austrian Economic Journal has an interview with EU Taxation Commissioner Semeta, describing the complex chess game for Tax Justice in Europe, where the Swiss tax treaties represent efforts to undermine the movement for more financial transparency -
see here and here and here.

Missing bank data found in Greece swissinfo
Oct 2 - "Authorities in Greece have found a missing data CD containing the names of Greek clients with Swiss bank accounts, paving the way for Athens to prosecute tax evaders."

Guernsey Sees Far East Promise Tax-News
Oct 3 - Reporting on Guernsey based financial, trust and fiduciary services businesses expanding their reach in "the Far East".

India: Govt to set tax avoidance rules within 20 days The Times of India
Oct 1 - "India will set final rules on tax avoidance within 20 days after considering recommendations made by a government panel, finance Minister P Chidambaram said on Monday."

Public accountability absent from new Sudan and South Sudan oil deal Global Witness
Sep 28 - “The absence of real transparency---meaning full public disclosure---in this new deal could have long-term consequences for democracy and stability in both countries."

Campaigning for oil and mining transparency in Niger Publish What You Pay
Oct 1 - See the video highlighting the work of just one of PWYP's national coalitions which are campaigning for greater transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining industries.

U.S.: Inequality Report Card Institute for Policy Studies

Oct 3 - "Members of Congress have the capacity to make sure that all Americans, not just a privileged few, share in the wealth that we all together create. This first IPS “inequality report card” evaluates current members on how well they are exercising this power." The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act and the Corporate Tax Holiday are included as two of the measures.

U.S.: Offshore Tactics Helped Increase Romneys’ Wealth New York Times

Oct 2 - More on Romney. "Buried deep in the tax returns released by Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign are references to dozens of offshore holdings with names like Ursa Funding (Luxembourg) S.à.r.l. and Sankaty Credit Opportunities Investors (Offshore) IV, based in the Cayman Islands...."

See also:
Romney’s tax rate sheds light on problems in tax system, experts say The Daily Free Press

Oct 2 - Cites CTJ's Rebecca Wilkins - "Wilkins said the real takeaway from Romney’s 2010 and 2011 returns is that the country has a federal income tax system that is rigged in favor of the rich. “They just play by a different set of rules."

U.S.: Other states shouldn't undermine Maine's transparency laws kjonline
Oct 1 - "In Maine, we have taken a stand against these anonymous shell companies. We require corporations and limited-liability companies to file some information about the true owners of the companies ...It is more difficult for a fraudster, tax evader or drug dealer to hide money behind a Maine corporation than an innocent-sounding company registered in other places."

He won't tell you his name, but he'll help you hide your money NPR

Sep 29 - More from NPRs series on shell companies, on "asset protection" via layering between trusts, companies, and secrecy jurisdictions.

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