Thursday, January 20, 2011

Links - Jan 20

Links - Jan 20

Whistle-blower re-arrested over WikiLeaks CDs - Swissinfo
Whistle-blower Rudolf Elmer has been arrested for breached banking secrecy by giving data to WikiLeaks, just hours after he was found guilty of another secrecy offence. His reputation has been savaged in the Swiss media. Elmer has admitted mistakes in the past, but has taken a brave stand.

Black money in foreign banks "plunder" of nation: Supreme Court (MSN India)
Jan 19 - The Supreme Court today pulled up the Government for withholding information on black money stashed in foreign banks, saying it is not just limited to tax evasion but a "mind boggling crime" amounting to "theft" and "plunder" of national wealth having security ramifications.

Jersey claims this is tax information exchange - Tax Research
Jan 18 - Richard asks pointed questions on Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA's) to the States of Jersey. The response demonstrates that there is still no effective mechanism for information exchange in existence.

Report Says Developing Nations Lost $6.5 Trillion in Illicit Outflows in Last Decade - WSJ blogs
Jan 18 - Reporting on the 2010 update by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) of its annual analysis of the cost of crime, corruption, and trade mispricing on developing countries, which we blogged here.

Spain agrees not to call Cayman a "tax haven" - Cayman News Service
Jan 18 (Cayman News Service) - Cowards! They join a chicken-hearted group that includes UK's politician Nick Clegg. Look, by contrast, at who Sweden's tax authorities are calling a tax haven. Now that takes guts!

Swiss government says to freeze assets of Ben Ali and Gbagbo - Reuters
Jan 19 - Switzerland is to freeze assets belonging to Tunisia's former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali as well as those of Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo, the Swiss foreign minister said on Wednesday. A welcome move - perhaps timed to lower the profile of the Elmer affair. See more on Swiss restitution in Olivier Longchamp's article here.

Zimbabwe, private companies and the Mauritius money - Pambazuka
Feature dated 2 Dec - A deal symbolizing the first privatization under the unity government, occurring within the iron and steel industry, involves a Mauritius holding company. Other Mauritius based entities exert control in the scrap metal and diamond industries. The level of secrecy in Mauritius means that "not only could myriad war vets and political elites use nominee shareholders to conceal their role in the company, but little of this revenue will reach Zimbabwe's tax base."

WikiLeaks unlikely to release Swiss bank data soon - Reuters
Jan 18 - Jack Blum, Senior Adviser to TJN and who is also Ruedi's attorney, observed that Elmer would not be releasing any names or corporate names from the data cache because these are concealed through financial "structures" which are exceedingly opaque, and complex to investigate. We blogged on this here. Jack stated that government investigators would be in the best position to confirm the identities of people involved in transactions documented by Elmer's material.

Potential fallout from WikiLeaks obtaining Swiss bank data - U.S. Public Media’s Marketplace radio
Jan 17 - Cayman has been asserting that it is squeaky clean (see link below). While Cayman plainly and simply does remain a secrecy jurisdiction, perhaps the bluster may be deterring some business, and leaks of data from Cayman and other jurisdictions can cause nervousness. Jeff Tyler comments: "If people no longer trust the Cayman Islands to keep their accounts secret, where is the money moving? Experts say the new tax havens of choice are Singapore and Macau."

Elmer's discs are old news, says Travers - Cayman News Service
Jan 18 - “This information is of historic interest only,” Travers [Chair of Cayman Finance] stated in a press release. He appears to infer that fig-leaf Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA's) render the jurisdiction squeaky clean. He makes a big deal of transparency towards the USA. We blogged on the U.S. getting special treatment from the private banking industry here.

Game Over for Corrupt, Wig-Wearing Indonesian Tax Official - Reuters
Jan 19 - Indonesian tax official enables massive tax evasion, taking bribes. As a twist of irony, in being tried for corruption, he then tried to bribe court officials.

Emerging economies toughen tax stance - FT
Jan 18 - Emerging economies including India and China are increasingly cracking down on multinationals’ tax planning, according to a new survey that underlined the growing competition for revenues between governments. India and China are notable due to their influence in world markets.

Advani slams government on illegal wealth in foreign banks - MSN India
Jan 17 (MSN News India) - Indian government challenged on inaction on illicit financial flows, at anti-corruption rally. Public anger at silence on perpetrators, absence of a crackdown, and failure to retrieve missing funds.

Info exchange treaties with tax havens in process - Indian Express
Jan 19 - In India, as Opposition parties mount pressure on the government to act on the issue of alleged black money parked in foreign banks, the income tax department today said it is already coming down heavily on black money generation. The department referred to the process of negotiating Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA's) with tax havens. Fig leaf. See Mark Herkenrath's article here too.

Mauritius Seeking to Collect 1.5 Billion Rupees in Unpaid Taxes - Bloomberg
Jan 19 - Tax evasion hurts, doesn't it, Mauritius? Why don't you stop your business of helping others do it then?


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