Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tax Haven Hong Kong may be about to get even dirtier

From Quartz News' Naomi Rovnick:

Hong Kong just became an even better place for company directors who value secrecy. The Chinese territory, already ranked fourth in a list of 71 “secrecy jurisdictions” by the Tax Justice Network, has proposed new laws making it harder to identify the directors of non-public companies.
The former British territory, which still holds myriad close links to the City of London and now serves as a gigantic money-laundering and criminal turntable for powerful people in China and elsewhere, already allows owners of private corporations to obscure their identities, such as by allowing “nominee” shareholders to serve as fronts for the real owners. Quartz continues:
"Hong Kong’s move could well be political, and aimed at the legions of enterprising, investigative reporters who in recent months have combed Hong Kong company records to find out about the business dealings of mainland Chinese and Hong Kong politicians.

Bloomberg said it used the details of directors of Hong Kong companies to find out about the holdings and corporate positions of a group of powerful mainland Chinese politicians including Xi Jinping, the country’s incoming president. Hong Kong corporate records also revealed last year that development secretary Paul Chan was linked to a company that owned apartments in the city that had been partitioned illegally."
Tax havens. As we have said - this is where real power in the world increasingly lies. And the race to the bottom on secrecy continues apace.

The legislative proposal is here.

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