Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Murky Seychelles tries to wriggle free of tax haven taint

We just linked to a useful Reuters story pointing to the special pleading of Seychelles:
"Seychelles rejected charges on Monday that it was one of the world's five most secretive tax havens for the super rich, saying the Indian Ocean archipelago had nothing to hide."
This follows a decision last month by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes to list Seychelles among five states that either failed to share taxpayer details with other countries or to gather information on beneficial ownership of corporate entities registered on their territory. We think the Global Forum has been far too weak on many countries, but it is good that some have been fingered - most notably those gigantic European turntables for dirty money, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Reuters now quotes Seychelles Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam as saying that small island states had often been targeted as convenient scapegoats.
"Despite there being no concrete examples of non-compliance, the assessment perhaps judged that the smallness of our jurisdiction, and our capacity to regulate in relation to the fast rise of our financial services sector, represented a risk."
This statement contains one absolutely true statement -- that bigger jurisdictions (such the United Kingdom and the United States) use their political power to ensure they are off any blacklists -- and one great big whopper: that there are 'no concrete examples of non-compliance.'

Really, Mr. Adam? Is that so?

Well take a look at this piece by Al Jazeera, one of the best pieces of undercover journalism we've ever seen on this topic. If you have the time, and you haven't seen it already, we'd strongly urge you to have a look.

Update 2014: for further background on this topic, see "We are not a tax haven." They all say that.


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