Paradise Papers spark call for tax haven ‘black list’


EMBARRASSING: The Appleby offices in St Hellier, Jersey, is in the
spotlight after the hidden financial affairs of high-profile companies
and individuals including the Queen (below) were laid bare
EMBARRASSING: The Appleby offices in St Hellier, Jersey, is in the spotlight after the hidden financial affairs of high-profile companies and individuals including the Queen (below) were laid bare

LEAKED DOCUMENTS REVEAL OFFSHORE WEALTH OF GLOBAL ELITE

INDIA on Monday (6) formed a panel of govern­ment officials to investigate cases that figure in the so-called Paradise Papers, a trove of leaked documents about offshore investments of wealthy individuals and institutions.

Officials from government bodies and the central bank will carry out and monitor the investigation, the finance ministry said.

The leaked documents were obtained by Germa­ny’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and some media outlets.

France on Tuesday (7) asked its European part­ners to agree on curbing international funding of states that provide tax shelters, following media re­ports citing the ‘Paradise Papers’

Talks on a blacklist, initially planned for Decem­ber, were brought forward by the EU ministers as French finance minister Bruno Le Maire called for a “credible” blacklist to be drawn up of tax havens and for sanctions against those who do not cooperate.

While seeking to minimise taxes is not necessarily illegal, revelations from the 13.4 million leaked documents have already proved embarrassing to fig­ures as diverse as U2 singer Bono and the queen.

US tech giant Apple is the latest company to be­come embroiled in the leak, with the documents exposing how the iPhone maker shifted profits from one haven to another to minimise taxes.

Apple used offshore law firm Appleby to move tens of billions of dollars from low-tax Ireland to Britain’s Channel Islands when Dublin began tight­ening its tax laws in 2015, according to documents cited by the New York Times and the BBC.

But Apple said shifting the funds to the island of Jersey, which is largely exempt from EU tax regula­tions, did not save it any money.

The leaks – which add to revelations about how the global elite manage their money from the Pana­ma Papers and LuxLeaks scandal – were centre-stage at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brus­sels on Tuesday. The EU move follows similar ef­forts, notably by the Organisation of Economic Co­operation and Development, which maintains a list of “uncooperative tax havens”.

EU countries have struggled for over a year to fi­nalise a list of non-EU tax havens, with low-tax smaller nations such as Ireland, Malta and Luxem­bourg reluctant to scare companies away.

But EU economic affairs commissioner Pierre Moscovici, who is leading the blacklist effort, said on Tuesday he wants it in place by the end of the year.

“It is important that this list comes out,” he said. “It must be credible and up to the challenge.”

Sources said EU officials have warned about 60 countries that their tax policies may be at risk of blacklisting, demanding further information before next Saturday (18). (Reuters)