Thursday, December 20, 2012

Links Dec 20

Failure to Count Uncounted
Dec 17 - Alex Cobham reports from the conference of the DFID-funded International Centre for Tax and Development in Cape Town. This "brings together researchers from around the world to work on various research themes – including tax havens and corporate tax shenanigans, and of course an effort to generate improved data… All the presentations are now available, including some intriguing insights into the difficulties faced by African revenue authorities. Too much is uncounted, here too."

Vale settles Brazil, Swiss tax cases, to take Q4 charge Reuters

Dec 19 - "Brazil's Vale SA, the world's second-largest mining company, settled tax disputes in Switzerland and Brazil  ... Vale agreed to pay 212 million Swiss francs ($232 million) to the Swiss federal government, and 663 million reais ($317 million) to the government of Brazil's Minas Gerais state."

Senegal sees 2013 mining revenue tax earnings at $30m mineweb
Dec 17 - Senegal is seeking to boost money it collects from the growing mining industry. The budget document handed to reporters at the 14 December National Assembly said “The mining sector makes a very weak contribution to the budget of the state”.

Zambia: State to Probe Siphoned K40 Trillion allAfrica
Dec 20 - "Government will institute investigations into reports that the country lost a shocking K40 trillion from 2000 to 2010 in tax evasion and corruption, mainly in the mining sector." See also: Clip Tax Evasion Now!

EU lets Catholic Church off its billion-euro tax bill The Independent
Dec 19 - "The Vatican has received a generous early Christmas present from European Union chiefs with the announcement that illegal tax exemption from 2006 to 2011, which saved the Catholic Church billions of euros, will not have to be paid back." Hat tip Offshore Watch.

Cayman Islands: Premier Is Named to Replace Ousted Predecessor New York Times
Dec 19 - "The governor of the Cayman Islands on Wednesday appointed Juliana O’Connor-Connolly as the new premier of the British territory. The former premier, W. McKeeva Bush, was ousted Tuesday by the Legislative Assembly, a week after his arrest in a corruption investigation." See our recent post Cayman Islands Premier arrested in corruption probe

"The Friends of bank secrecy" in retreat NZZ (In German)
Dec 19 - Following a meeting by Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf with Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and Finance Minister Luc Frieden, the report notes the initialling of a FATCA agreement with the U.S. by Switzerland, and Luxembourg's intent to enter FATCA negotiations in 2013. A spokeswoman for EU Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta is reported as saying that since Switzerland is a close neighbor with a special access to the single market, one would expect Switzerland to show to the EU an "equivalent openness" as that shown to the U.S.

US charges three Swiss bankers in offshore account case Reuters
Dec 19 - "Three Swiss bankers accused of conspiring with American clients to hide more than $420 million from the tax-collecting U.S. Internal Revenue Service were indicted, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said on Wednesday." The bank was not named.

Media shake heads and point fingers at UBS swissinfo
Dec 20 - "Thursday brought more bad press for Swiss bank UBS in the form of critical editorials as well as the news that two former traders were arrested in New York on Wednesday".  Zurich based Tages-Anzeiger pointed out, “Anybody curious to know where there is smoke or fire at the bank need only glance at the annual report – at the very back of which is a list of pending legal processes around the world.”

UBS Libor Scandal: Should Taxpayers Have to Pay for Bank Wrongdoing? U.S. PIRG
Dec 18 - Following news reports that UBS will soon reach a settlement with regulators over its role in the Libor scandal, U.S. PIRG is calling on the federal government to bar the bank from pushing hundreds of millions of dollars in costs onto taxpayers by writing off the settlement payment as a tax deduction. A 2012 report by U.S. PIRG on the tax deductibility of costs from corporate wrongdoing can be found here.

Did Obama and Cameron Require HSBC to Aid the Prosecution of Tax Frauds? Huffington Post
Dec 18 - William K. Black asks the question: "as part of the HSBC settlement, did Obama and Cameron's officials require HSBC to blow the whistle on tax frauds? Did they require HSBC to provide them with a full intelligence briefing on how the networks of tax evasion and tax havens function?"

Big Banks Flunk OCC Risk Tests American Banker
Dec 13 - "The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently graded the 19 largest national banks on five factors designed to gauge how well they are being run. The results are startling."

Corporate tax breaks in the mix The Hill

Dec 19 - Sarah Anderson of the Institute for Policy Studies reports, "Tax hikes for millionaires and Social Security cuts for grannies. Those two divisive issues have dominated media coverage of the “fiscal cliff” debate. But now President Obama is hinting that corporate tax breaks might be in the mix."

Malta Holding Companies Review 2012/13 Tax-News
Nov 20 - "Malta, like Cyprus, has been obliged to dismantle its old 'offshore' companies regime as a trade-off for joining the European Union." The piece notes: "with investment-friendly government policies and some interesting tax planning opportunities, Malta remains one of the most favourable places in the EU in which to locate an international holding company."

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