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Jersey confident it will escape tax haven crackdown

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Jersey remains confident it will not be included in any crackdown on offshore jurisdictions by the G20 nations, according to Geoff Cook, chief executive of industry promotional body Jer

Jersey remains confident it will not be included in any crackdown on offshore jurisdictions by the G20 nations, according to Geoff Cook, chief executive of industry promotional body Jersey Finance.

‘We should have nothing to fear from the comments made this week by US President Barack Obama and by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, because Jersey is neither a secrecy jurisdiction, nor is it uncooperative and the evidence is clear to support this.

‘According to the terms of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act which has US Treasury backing, the jurisdictions which might be affected would be those that ‘unreasonably restrict’ the US authorities to obtain information for law enforcement purposes. Equally the Treasury secretary can exclude a jurisdiction from any blacklist if he believes that it has effective information exchange practices.

‘We have exchanged large volumes of criminal information with the US for many years and established a tax information exchange agreement in 2006 which has been operational since. Jersey has worked with law enforcement agencies and regulators in the US to repatriate funds which were proceeds from criminal activity and, in one particular case, the US government took the trouble to publicly thank the island for its assistance. There are other centres without this track record of co-operation.’

Cook says it is important for Jersey to articulate this message through contacts with governments and regulators and to the national and international media.

‘We also need to go further and promote the role of international finance centres such as Jersey and their value to the international finance system,’ he says.

‘International financial centres provide administration and wealth management services to international corporates and individuals around the world. They compete for international business in exactly the same way as do many OECD and G20 nations; on a mix of financial expertise, lower costs, attractive tax regimes, political and social stability, and robust, flexible, laws and regulation.

‘Major academic studies by a number of highly respected institutions have been completed to evidence empirically that IFCs are an economic accelerator, and not only do they not detract from major economies, they provide a net benefit.’

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