Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Links - Feb 3

** Also see our searchable archive of past story summaries; and Offshore Watch for more stories. **

Charity's regret over Island's Mugabe link
Jan 31 (Manx Radio) - Christian Aid says it’s disappointed Manx companies appear to have been supporting Robert Mugabe’s brutal regime in Zimbabwe.

The European Union has named four firms, all based in Douglas, which are now subject to sanctions.

They belong to Dutch-born businessman John Bredenkamp.

Paul Craine from Christian Aid says the EU is just the latest organisation to scrutinise the firms and their owner (play attached audio file).

Davos: Don't let crisis breed more corruption Jan 2 (Forbes) - Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, warned that governments and businesses should be especially vigilant against corruption amid the crisis. He also urged a crackdown on tax havens - something a few political leaders have demanded amid the crisis but that barely came up at Davos. Host country Switzerland is itself often seen as a tax haven.

New EU rules designed to make tax evasion more difficult Feb 2 (IHT) - Banking secrecy laws should not stop European governments from exchanging information on possible tax evaders, the European Commission said Monday, backing French and German efforts to clamp down on tax fraud.

THE EU proposes automatic tax information exchange between member states Feb2 (Tax Research) - The EU has already proposed a serious extension of the EU Savings Tax Directive. Now it is proposing a massive further development: automatic, spontaneous information exchange of income and gains tax data between member states.

UBS Tax Probe Fallout Exacerbated by Swiss Pressure in Bailout Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) - UBS AG, the Swiss bank that received $59.2 billion in an unprecedented national bailout, is facing growing pressure from government officials on both sides of the Atlantic to resolve a U.S. tax evasion investigation and restructure its loss-making investment bank.

Halliburton to pay record $559m to settle bribery case Jan 27 (Times) - Halliburton, the US energy services group, has agreed to pay a record $559 million (£394 million) to settle charges that a former subsidiary bribed Nigerian officials during a gas deal.

Nowhere to hide for tax havens? Feb 2 (BBC) - In the past, the political will in Westminster to move against British protectorates that double as tax havens has been feeble. But now that may be changing thanks to tough pressure from the new man in the White House and a drip-drip of revelations from tax havens, both independent and British-protected, that undermine bland assurances that everything "off-shore" is good for everybody "on-shore".

EU calls for end to tax haven Austria Feb 3 (Wiener Zeitung) - The European Commission (EC) has called on Austria to tighten banking regulations making it harder for wealthy foreigners to hold anonymous bank accounts in Austria.

ANALYSIS-When it comes to taxes, companies go for the cold Feb 2 (Reuters) - Bermuda's business climate is getting chillier, so some multinational companies are seeking more hospitable locales -- like wind-swept Ireland and snowy Switzerland.

Piers Morgan's full Monte! The tax haven where the jewels are real and the orgasms are fake Jan 31 (Daily Mail) – Piers Morgan explores Monte Carlo, the tax haven where the jewels are real and the orgasms are fake.

Offshore Singapore, why so attractive? Feb 2 (Ecommerce Journal) – Ecommerce Journal takes a close look at what makes Singapore so alluring to wealth.

Russian court quashes $11.8 mln back tax claim vs. Ernst & Young Jan 27 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow Arbitration Court quashed on Tuesday back tax claims against auditing firm Ernst & Young totaling 390 million rubles ($11.8 million).


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