Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Sarkozy: we want a list or lists of tax havens

Ahead of the G20 summit meeting in London, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said today:

“We want clear precision of what a tax haven is, not a place where you pay few taxes, but a place that doesn’t give information on the origin of funds. . . We want one or several lists of financial centers that don’t cooperate with regard to (the OECD criteria.)"

TJN welcomes this statement. And sanctions on miscreant jurisdictions might be in the air. Good. But . . . but . . . this idea of "one or several" lists is troubling. Recently we noted a Swiss media report outlining the possiblity of two lists - a black list and a grey one. On the blacklist would go the small, more vunlerable tax haven countries, mainly the small islands, while the larger, often dirtier tax havens such as the City of London, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and others would be let off the hook, either by being on a list of countries merely described as "financial centres", or, worse, dropped entirely. This won't do, this won't do at all. It's just what happened last time, with disastrous results. Bloomberg went on:

“Some” G-20 members are currently “less enthusiastic about engaging in regulation of tax havens,” Sarkozy said. China’s “exact” position has yet to be assessed, because of the “interests of Hong Kong, Macau, and maybe Singapore.”

China, the tax havens' new best friend? We sincerely hope not. And this is not the first time China has worried us. According to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission:

"While I recognise there are differences of legal and financial culture between the so-called Anglo-Saxon and continental European models, what I see as a trend is convergence, and not at all that there’s some big fight.

“The main problem will come from other countries, like China, for example, that don’t have the culture of a common setting of rules.


Blogger Unknown said...

Currently there are many Chinese criminals hiding out in the Western countries with loads of ill-gotten wealth. Those western nations have been so-far refused repatriate them back to China to face justice. A good case in point is the fellow Lai Changxing. And another one is Gao Shan.

7:02 am  

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