White, grey and black list of tax havens to be published

| 02/04/2009

(CNS): UPDATE 1:40 Thursday: G20 leaders agreed on Thursday that blacklists of tax havens should be published in the near future, a European diplomat told Reuters. "The G20 has agreed that it will be the OECD which will publish the tax haven list imminently," said the diplomat, who is attending the summit in London. There will be a white, grey and black list (of tax havens) referring to those who have signed up to OECD rules on information sharing, those who have signed up but not yet applied them and those who are in the clear."

According to the Financial Times, this morning this blacklist contained six countries. But it has halved in size as the leaders have realised that they could do without the shame. The three countries that are going to be fingered are Costa Rica, the Philippines, and Uruguay. The three countries that committed this afternoon to reaching information sharing agreements are Brunei, Guatemala and Malaysia.

G20 leaders have reached an agreement to tackle the global financial crisis with measures worth $1 trillion and that there will be sanctions against secretive tax havens. To help countries with troubled economies, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will get extra resources worth up to $750bn, and the G20 has committed about $250bn to boost global trade and pledged to fight protectionism.

At the summit in London tax havens appeared to be on the top of the agenda with early reports from London suggesting there would be a blacklist. "I’m expecting that in due course there will be a list of countries," UK Treasury Minister Stephen Timms told reporters this morning. "I’m expecting there will be sanctions against countries."

A draft summit communique late on Wednesday vowed to identify locations that fail to cooperate, including tax havens, and to use sanctions against them. France demanded a blacklisting of tax havens, which earlier in the week had appeared to be a potential stumbling block at the summit.

Against a backdrop of violent demonstrations, the leaders of the world’s biggest nations discussed how to address the worldwide economic recession, and despite offshore centres not causing the economic meltdown they became one of the primary targets.  

Addressing the complaint that action on tax havens is a red herring, Timms said that “these opaque financial boltholes allowed banks and others to underestimate the scale of their mounting toxic assets. …..tax havens were not the cause of the financial crisis but they played a major part.”

There are still concerns in the Cayman Islands whether it will be on the blacklist but even if the jurisdiction escapes, experts here have said there will be a number of changes to the international regulation regime which Cayman must be ready to face.

CIFSA Director James Bergstrom recently said there was a possibility that Cayman would be  blacklisted at G20 but not because of any fair or objective criteria. Whether it was or was not, the likelihood of new regulations emerging was very high and there would be a need to work with the international community. “If there is a silver lining about this,” he said, “with so much attention focused on us we can now go forward and assist with regulatory change and work with the international community to take reasonable steps to deal with any real concerns.”

This morning, news from the summit talks suggested that France and Germany were demanding new concessions from the United States on financial regulation. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy joined forces, warning that they would refuse to sign any agreement that did not meet their “red lines” on tax havens, hedge fund regulation, tracing “securitised” assets sold around the world and capping bankers’ remuneration. They also said they wanted the “naming and shaming” of tax havens that refuse to go along with any tougher regulations, somthing the US has opposed.

Sarkozy suggested that Europe would not take economic direction from the US and it was America that would have to compromise. “The crisis didn’t spontaneously erupt in Europe, did it?” he said last night.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has not been in the tax "haven" business for some time.  Any professional who has ignored the trends towards financial transparency and persisted along a business model derived from client tax evasion has done so at their peril and should be justifiably nervous.  Hopefully, if applicable, only to a limited number of rogues, whom (if they exist here) would surely already be nervous every time they fly through Miami.  For the rest of us, relax.  Cayman is agreeing to recognize tax fraud and assist in existing tax crime investigations onshore.  The burden of evidence still lays on the shoulders of the onshore revenue authority and Cayman has only recently begun to recognize tax fraud. 

    Further, the OECD is not a government agency, it is an economic intellectual enclave based outside Paris that publishes economic policy papers (ironically, members themselves are often criticized for their immunity from tax).  A blacklist, even if Cayman were to be erroneously placed on one, is at most a symbolic topic for government guidance and academia discussion.  The OECD has no power of enforcement, they have no Navy to blockade shipments to us, nor do many G20 nations genuinely care to follow their guidance – everyone just needs to relax.

    The challenge for Cayman will be in fostering a spirit of cooperation whilst securing the privacy of its law-abiding customers.  Given that Cayman has not in the past done much in terms of International Relations, this may be a more difficult perception to change and we should expect a skeptical reception.

     

     

      

  2. Twyla M Vargas says:

    NOTE TO TWYLA, JESUS SAYS

    I refer to your response and comments, well taken, but just cant see where it is a sin against God.  Maybe some other persons who a specialist in BIBLE TALK can  tell me where, not paying taxes is a sin against God.  I cant find it in my bible under Mat.22. 15-22. That says something else.

  3. anon says:

    Twyla, please do not let the detractors get to you. I got you the first time. It was actually a complement to the Jamaicans in saying that they are very resilient people. 

  4. Twyla M Vargas says:

    YOU ARE ALL WRONG AND SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH

    I always heard my Grandmother say these words "If you are not sure about something, ask someone who knows better than you, dont ask an idiot, because he will tell you foolishness.  

    Let me tell you something, I am one person who tell it like it is.  What I really meant in the joke is that Caymanians need to know survival like Jamaicans,  In that if they ask a Jamaican they would be able to tell them how to get off the BLACK LIST.     That is what I meant when I said if you are in Hell stay close to a Jamaican.    How nieve of some  person to take it in the wrong way.  I AM NOT PREJUDICE, I AM BLACK.    But some persons whomever you are just dont get it.   I would suggest next time find out from someone before you respond negative.

    Let me be very honest, Jamaicans play a very important role in Cayman.  Yes some of you have cause big problems here, but, and I use the word but, you are better than many who live among us.   I am sorry that you misinterpet my joke.  It meant  that you are the best .not bad.  Blessed

  5. Twyla M Vargas says:

    JAH DREAD

    My Brother, in the faith, you talk sense, they just was not able to understand the Joke.  And it means exactly as you see it.   You see they cannot read and understand the word the way JAH give it to his chosen  few.  Blessed

  6. Twyla M Vargas says:

    RE: FOOT NOTE TO TWYLA

    NOW EVERYBODY TAKE OUT YOUR BIBLES AND READ THIS.  You read for your edification, and I read for mine.

    My dear friend, you are wrong again.  Before I bring bible talk to you, let me know when did I ever told you that  am a christian.  Listen, my friend.  I am a spiritual person who believes in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. So get something right. for once.

    BIBLE TALK NOW  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I refer to your quote, in your footnote comments.  (That Jesus said it is a sin not to pay taxes.) and you continued to Quote Mathew  Chapter 22 Verse 15 to 22.

    I do not know what bible you were reading from, but my bible, HOLY BIBLE KING JAMES VERSION says this in where you quoted.

    CHAPTER 22 OF  THE BOOK OF MATHEW says this, and instead of Verse 15 I will begin at verse 14.  "FOR MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN"

    VERSE 15:   Then went the Pharisees, (and we know who they are) and took council how they might entangled him in his talk. (Otherwise trick him)

    VERSE 16:  And they went out unto him their deciples with Herodidans, saying Master, we know that thou art true, and teaches the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man; for thou regardest not the person of men.

    VERSE 17:  Tell us therefore, what thinkest thou?  Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?  (pay taxes)

    VERSE 19:   But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said ‘WHY TEMPT YE ME, YE HIPOCRITES"?

    VERSE 20:  "Show me the tribute money," and they brought unto him a penny.

    VERSE 20:    And he said unto them, "Who is this image and superscription"

    VERSE 21:   They said unto him, "Caesar,s"  Then said he unto them  "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar,s and unto God the things that are God,s’

    VERSE 22:  when theyhad heard these words they marvelled, and left him and went their way.

    NOW YOU TELL ME WHICH BIBLE YOU FOUND WHERE JESUS SAID IT IS A SIN NOT TO PAY TAXES..   I am not a professing christian, but YOU CANNOT MATCH ME WHEN IT COMES TO THE BIBLE.    I dont want you to think for one moment that you are smarter than me BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT  So Stop trying to talk foolishness, do your homework before you talk something you do not know.   Blessed.

  7. JahDread says:

    I am notsure who the respondents are to Twyla’s "joke" about Jamaicans, i.e. whether you are Caymannian papaer or not or Inn Transit; but you obviously dont understand the gist of teh joke which speaks to their ingenuity and abillity to survive.  Strange how words can be interpreted and uneccesary resentment caused.

    Let Us All Get Along

  8. whodatis says:

    Honestly, I dont believe that the PPM is to be blamed for whatever now transpires with our financial industry.

    Many other players in the "offshore tax haven" game have been found scrambling to rush together and sign agreements and coalitions with one another and "onshore jurisdicitons" (Switzerland , Hong Kong, Singapore)

    This whole thing is much bigger than some political party in the Cayman Islands.

    Furthermore, there is much going on behind the scenes, don’t you guys doubt it for one second!

    Do you honestly think that the highest salaried workers in jurisdiciton such as ours and others have been idly standing by as they watch their livelihoods sail away over the SMB horizon?!

    I think not!!

    The overall outcome of this will be a great reduction in the levels of secrecy that our clients have enjoyed, plus a few more issues here and there…yes, many will be stung – but we will still be able to coninue doing what it is that we do.

    At the end of the day, MONEY controls this world – NOT Barack Obama…"big business" controls money and "big business" likes places such as the Cayman Islands.

    The true bosses of America, the "Federal Reserve Bank" and its obscenly wealthy American, British and European private owners, are hoping to close down "offshore" jurisdictions as we are a big pebble in their shoe – they want nothing more than to centralize the majority of the world’s wealth under the umbrella of their banking system. They’ve obviously been using Sarkozy as their mouthpiece at this G20 meeting – let us see what happens now.

    All the best Cayman…

  9. Julie says:

    Please Cayman do not let the PPM government now throw this all on the expats and divert your attention away from them. I am a Caymanian and we need to stick together as Caymanian – Born and Papered. The PPM will once again seek to divide and conquor us.

    Like another poster said: The PPM are now the ones on watch it was their turn to provide and protect us. They should not have spent so much money. We should be in a much better financial standing so that we could weather any financial storms that come our way. It would not have mattered as much, if we had better prepared ourselves financially we would have been in better standing. Mr. Solomon said on rooster’ time and time again" the best form of independance is financial independance. No one listened. Please Cayman listen now. lets come together and fight this.

    Calling all Caymanians – born, papered and those at heart. Please vote this government out. We cannot, must not, let them continue. They have failed us, they have not taken care of us, they have left us like a lamb to the slaughter. Open your eyes before it is too late. They will try to say this was all apart of their plan (5 year plan)and that we must let them finish the job they have started.

    Remember they saw this financial down turn coming 18 months ago as well – and they did absolutdly nothing, they sat by, continued with thier plans, did not try and save a penny for a rainy day, a day they said they knew about. NO.

    If they did nothing then, what can they possible do now. The monies that the G20 nations want is the very monies that is keeping this country from falling. Because our economy depend on it. If it is all taken away, what will we have to pay back the 650 million plus, how would we attract more persons to invest in a failing economy. Remember Finance and Tourism are the building blocks of our economy.

    I pray for us all.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Ms. Twyla U cracked me up with that little joke!….too funny:))

  11. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has escaped being blacklisted. But this does not address the wider issue as to why we neglected to do anything and out the country at riosk. secondly and more importantly, the oecd has agreed to increase global regulation and to target hedge funds which represents more than 50% of the reason that our financial industry has been growing over the past 15 years. so lets not celebrate just yet. there is a lot more to come. the oecd countries are nto going to stop until our financial services business has been severely contracted and we need to be thinking of ways to diversify our economy..

  12. Anonymous says:

    The Governments of Cayman for too long have had an attitude (along with many of the wealthier Caymanians – alot who got rich from land inheritance) that Cayman was untouchable and invincible.  If they had an attitude of humbleness and not been so egotistical, lustful and greedy for fortune, fame and power, they would not be so worried as they are now.  Well, it is a good thing sometimes to be humbled.

    I wish any future politicians luck with Cuba opening up to the US for Tourism which will cause a decrease in Tourism here, and Tax Havens going under strict regulations that will cause a decrease in offshore banking here in Cayman, i wish them great luck to try to win over that, cause Cayman is dependant on Tourism and offshore Banking.  If any Politician wants to be realistic, they are going to have to realize that we will have to downsize Cayman.  I say accept the reality, keep a postive attitude and make the best of it.  Learn how to downsize and be happy and cheerful about it.  Because the only 2 choices really is either to be happy or cheerful about it, or be miserable and angry about it?  I think the wiser choice is to be happy and cheerful. 

    a note to Twyla:  Jesus says it is a sin to evade paying taxes to your Government.  (Matt 22:15-22). If people from other countries put their money in Cayman offshore banks to avoid paying taxes to their Governments, then they sin against God.  You Twyla claim that you are a Christian, so just to let you know, tax evasion is a sin against God, and that is what the topic of the G20 summit is all about, clamping down on people who evade paying tax to their country and putting their money in other countries that are Tax Havens with offshore banking like what Cayman is, so that their Country cannot touch the money.  People in the US evading paying their taxes and putting their money in Tax Havens has caused alot of the collapse of the Global Economic System – the Recession.  Cayman is a major part along with other Tax Havens of the collapse for that reason being it is a Tax Haven.  That is why Cayman is in jeapordy of being blacklisted by the US and the G20 Nations, or if not blacklisted will get so much regulations that it would cause a decrease in offshore banking here.  I mentioned that because i’m not sure if you really understand the big picture of all this fuss over Tax Havens.  Offshore banking means people who do not live here bank their money here in what is called offshore banking.  They don’t live here. (They don’t want to live here, so it’s not a matter of status grants.)

    Caymanbuilt up too fast, that was the problem.  It reminds me of the get thin quick diets that make you lose weight fast but then you gain it back fast afterwards and gain even more than before thus becoming unhealthy.  Speed kills sometimes.  Too much greed!!!

    Humbleness is Godly.  It is a good thing to be humble.

    I say we learn more of how to be humble and care and share, then it won’t be so bad for us afterall.  Why do we want to get so rich anyway – the wealth is never equally shared, most are struggling to survive, and the ones who get wealthy usually won’t even help people in their family or extended family because of more greed to get more wealthy and don’t even want to help or share?  What is it all for? To take to the grave with them?  And why do we want such an overpopulated island anyway?  So that there will be no fish, conch or lobster left in the sea to get for food?  What is all the money for?  Most of the population is struggling to survive, so we who are struggling to survive really don’t care what happens, because our life is a struggle already anyway.  I guess it’s only those who have some riches or wealth that are worried, cause the rest of us who is the most of us who are struggling to survive are probably not really worried, what difference does it make to us?  We already live suffering lives. 

    • Anonymous says:

      "a note to Twyla:  Jesus says it is a sin to evade paying taxes to your Government.  (Matt 22:15-22). If people from other countries put their money in Cayman offshore banks to avoid paying taxes to their Governments, then they sin against God" .

      You are confusing tax evasion (a criminal offence) with tax avoidance (legitimate tax planning so as to minimise or defer taxes). There is obviously no sin with tax avoidance. If if defer my land purchase so that it get the benefit of the recent reduction in stamp duty I have avoided some tax. Avoiding tax is reasonable, prudent and sensible.  The major attraction of Cayman is tax avoidance, not tax evasion, whatever Senator Levin would have you believe.

  13. Anonymous says:

    If the offshore business dries up. Expats will not be allowed the option to stay. Our work permits will be terminated and we’ll be shipped off assoon as the government can arrange it, so that ‘real Caymanians’ can get what few jobs are left.

    When the country is doing well (because of the overseas business), expats find it incredibly difficult to get status and to jump through all the hoops set by the government just to get a work permit. If we do hit hard times in cayman I think the locals and the government will regret treating the expats like second class citizens for so long.

    I can’t remember any Caymanians making a stand for giving MORE status applications, usually they are moaning about the expats ‘thieves’ taking their jobs and birthrights. We’ll see how the feelings can change when they realise how important expats are to the community.

     

  14. Anonymous says:

    "The era of banking secrecy is over"

    Read this and tell me if we have time to vote for independents that are still wet behind the ears.

    http://www.londonsummit.gov.uk/resources/en/PDF/final-communique

  15. richard wadd says:

    ….. on another point, has there been any Press Conference or International Press Release made by our Government to give the Cayman (Legitimate Offshore Financial Centre) position on this whole G20 ‘scape-goat’ Lynching to the World Media???

    Is it due to a lack of Intellectual Ability?? Or do they just not give a sack of manure??

    If, as Timms says in this article, we ‘are not the cause’, then how can we be said to have ‘played a major part’???

    This is a clear case of Lynching, and WE are to be the victim !!

  16. richard wadd says:

    Re: Twyla’s comments.

    While I am always interested in reading Twyla Vargas’ comments as they tend to provide provocative perspective on current issues, I will have to STRONGLY dis-agree with her comments & ‘Jamaican’s joke’, as it is VERY misleading.

    IF we have only one lesson to learn from Jamaica, it should be that if you truely want to ruin a good thing, put them in charge.

    This is why we study History, so that we are not Doomed to repeat its’ failures. The proverb goes, "A wise man learns from his mistakes, but the Wisest men learn from the mistakes of others".

    The one thing I most admire about ‘old-time Caymanians’, is that when they were building the foundation of this country, they used the knowledge gained from their exposure to the world, to set in place what they wanted, and to set aside what they did not want.

    If we had followed Jamaica from the 1960’s, just look where we’d be now.

    We don’t need Jamaicans to solve our problems, we need the Caymanians who have the ability and knowledge to stop watching from the sidelines and STEP-UP to the Plate. This is our childrens future, take an interest in your country.

    I hope that Burns Connoly is just the first of a New line of Political thinking that we so desperately need at this time.

  17. Anonymous says:

    why jamaica got to be seen as hell.  if the few greedy and corrupt caymanians hadn’t done what they done over the years this wouldn’t have happened.  don’t go blame being close to jamaica as the reason you racist !!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Big Mac, Mr. Tibbetts or the people of Cayman, could not have done anything to stop the G20 from what ever they decide on the banking.    People please do not be fooled, read for yourself and follow the G20 news.

    • Anonymous says:

      They may not have stopped the G20 from making decisions on banking, but at least Cayman wouldn’t have been threatened to this extent if Alden or Kurt had cooperated earlier. If they had made contact with the forces that be a year or two ago to show that we were willing to work with them on the regulation issues.

      So you don’t be fooled that "it was out of our control, we were misled, we were misinformed, blah…blah…blah!" Enough with the excuses, what’s done is done and it was on your watch and you failed! Now kindly get out of the way so that the rest of us can clean up YOUR mess PPM! It’s going to take 4 years just to find out ALL the damage they have done and the rest of our lives and children’s to fix it!

      • Anonymous says:

        Here is some factual information on the issue. It is not merely a Kurt & Alden issue.

        "I think everyone is clear that Cayman needed to enter into these agreements and has done so late in the day. However, since your primary focus is on allocating blame and deeming the government to have been dishonest not to have entered into them sooner here are some facts for you to consider:

        1. Cayman gave a commitment to the OECD to enter into tax information exchange agreements ("TIEAs") with the other countries in 2000. Mr. Tibbetts was LOGB from November 2000- November 2001.  In 2001 a TIEA was negotiated with the U.S. It was actually signed some two weeks after Mr. Bush took over as LOGB.

        2. During his tenure from November, 2001 until May, 2005 the UDP Govt. did not negotiate any TIEAs with any other country. Indeed, Mr. Bush forcefully resisted the implementation of the EU Tax Savings Directive.  This directive required automatic provision of information on interest paid to EU citizens on savings income outside of their home state to their home state tax authorities,to enable such authorities to then apply the relevant level oftax to that income. 

        3. A number of our competitor jurisdictions for example, Bermuda, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man have also only recently (within the last month) entered into various TIEAs with other countries, including some of the same countries as the Cayman TIEAs. 

        The requirements of the OECD, the G20 etc. are not "international tax laws". There is also nothing inherently dishonest about not enforcing another country’s tax laws. Indeed, it was a long-standing principle of international law that no country should be required to do that. However, the political reality is that these are powerful countries which have the means, and now the will, to cripple our economy, and we therefore have little choice but to comply."

      • Anonymous says:

        Breaking news!

        Three tier list to be published. Tier 1 (those who have concluded the necessary agreements) sounds as if it will include Cayman. Three countries on Tier 3 – Phillipines, Costa Rica and Uruguay.    

  19. Twyla M Vargas says:

    WE NEED MORE STATUS GRANTS

    If that is what it takes to hold people with their money so be it.  Its their money and they should be able to do what they want to do with it.

    What troubles me is those persons who live among us enjoy everything we enjoy, but want to see bad happen to Cayman.  I call that SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY.

    This is a joke I heard and I do not want anyone to feel offended.  They say if you find yourself in HELL and want to come out, stay close to a Jamaican, he will get you out.   Blessed

    • Anonymous says:

      STATUS GRANT : Lets see how many of these people will stay and help if Cayman falls.   We will see how many are here for the right reasons

      • Anonymous says:

        What a cruel comment – we all stayed through IVAN and helped everyone out no matter where you were from, what you looked like, or what color your skin was.  We’re still here – no matter what. We’ve been through the best and the worst just like you – that’s what makes a good citizen so sorry, but we’re not going anywhere despite your efforts.   I’m so sick and tired of people like you.  Move on and focus on more important things like kindness to others, compassion and  your own life.