Travers takes on another US senator

| 08/06/2010

(CNS): Following comments made about the Cayman Islands financial services industry by US Senator Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota) on the floor of Congress recently, the chair of Cayman Finance, Tony Travers has written an open letter to him stating that his comments regarding tax secrecy and "ridiculous loopholes" are not true. Travers, who has said he will seek out and correct every public statement by influential people that he believes is false where Cayman is concerned, told the senator that most of what Americans think they know about the Cayman Islands is wrong.

This is not the first time Travers has taken on those who use Cayman’s name in vain when it comes to what he sees as misunderstandings or myths about the country’s role in the world’s economy. In his latest correspondence to Washington, Travers sent an open letter on Wednesday morning to the senator following the remarks Dorgan made during a recent debate on financial regulatory reform. The senator had implied that the Cayman Islands is a "tax secrecy jurisdiction" with "unbelievably ridiculous loopholes".
In his letter Travers wrote, “Neither of those claims is true.” The Cayman Finance chair pointed out, as he has now on numerous occasions both verbally and in writing, that the Cayman Islands has full tax transparency with the United States and with 27 members of the European Union.
“The US Department of Justice has had complete authority to access needed records in the Cayman Islands since 1990. Profits and capital gains made in the United States by Cayman Islands investment vehicles are fully taxable under United States law,” Travers wrote. “The anti-money laundering legislation of the Cayman Islands has been evaluated by the International Monetary Fund and by the Financial Action Task Force and is found to be superior to that of the United States and most EU jurisdictions.”
He pointed out that Cayman is a member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and has full "regulator-to-regulator" disclosure with all other IOSCO regulators.
The chair of Cayman Finance stated that the jurisdiction’s financial services sector is enormously important to the economic growth of the United States as the preponderant flow of capital is from the Cayman Islands into, not out of, the United States.  “Most of what Americans think they know about the Cayman Islands is wrong. It’s time to learn how our financial services industry is working to promote economic growth in the United States and around the world,” Travers wrote.

Category: Business

Comments (49)

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  1. Dagny says:

    "I’m Confused" is asking for the true position of what role Cayman’s financial services industry provides.  I commend this person for asking the question instead of posting some ill-conceived and ill-informed rhetoric that does nothing except nurture an already monstrous level of ignorance on this issue.  Let me see if I can help shed some light on the matter.

    Cayman exercises its sovereign right to set its own tax rates.  It has, over the years, chosen to go down a path of consumption taxes – you pay as you play.  There are no corporate or personal income taxes in Cayman.

    This model makes it an attractive place to pool resources from institutional investors from different countries.  Please reread the previous sentence.  Cayman provides a platform where resouces from around the world (99% of them by institutitional investors, not individuals) are collected.  These funds are then invested into infrastructure projects, capital markets and the like across the globe – hydroelectric dams in Brazil, windfarms in southeast Asia, skyscrapers in Chicago – the list of potential examples is as long as your immagination will let it run.  The possibility of what can be created and built is limitless and if you think one step further down the chain of events, you will realise that labour is needed to build these projects.  Labour = people at work and therefore increased economic activity all all levels.

    The original dollar that is invested is taxed when it is first earned.  When profits are redistributed back to the original investors (institutional investors, remember) they must also pay tax on them.  You can see now that the only time there is not a tax imposed on the transaction is the time that it is gathered in the Cayman Islands.  The tax man still has his opportunity to collect his fairshare (or more).

    There is nothing morally reprehensible about this model whatsoever.  Any business owner will tell you that it is prudent to do what you can to reduce your expenses.  This is not cheating – this is sound business practice.  If you buy only the most expensive supplies and do not negotiate better deals for your transactions, you will not be as profitable.  The same is said for taxes.  The Cayman Islands offers a service based on completely legitimate and legal provisions in the US laws that have been written in complete awareness and support of these types of transactions.  The lawmakers in onshore jurisdictions knew that the benefits of increased economic flows were far more valuable than attempting to keep every dollar made in the US within the US.  We live in a global economy.  There are lots of other options and a prudent business person will simply relocate to somewhere where her business has a better opportunity to be more competitive and therefore more profitable.

    Politicians over generations have sold people on the combination of the two words "moral" and "taxation".  Apparently handing over the cash that you have worked hard to make is morally correct, although there is no  reciprocation of moral correctness on Government’s side to be equally responsible for being ultra careful in how it is spent. 

    Financial services practitioners are not the ‘evil-doers’.  There are undoubtedly thieves out there who will attempt to take what is not theirs, but this has no bearing on the business model of the Cayman Islands.  And please don’t come back on this with stories about Enron, Madoff and Parmalat, etc.  It is well documented that the Cayman entities were not where the fraud was perpetuated – all of that sinister work was done in the fingerpointing home countries of the fraudsters.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dagny – generally a good response. Next time leave out the "sovereign right" concept. Cayman is a colony and therefore does not have such a soveign right. The authority of the local legislature to set domestic taxation rates only exists for so long as the UK permits and it could be revoked by the UK Parliament at any time under the existing Consititutional arrangements. 

      • Flo says:

        Dagny is right. As far as the right to set tax is concerned, we are a soverign country as this is a matter of internal government.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry Flo – the concept of "sovereign rights" has a clear meaning in law and Cayman has no such rights as a matter of either Cayman Islands law or international law and will not have such rights until such time as it is an independent country and recognised as such by sovereign states. The ability to raise revenue as part of the limited self-government that Cayman has, has nothing what soever to do with any sovereignty of the Cayman Islands.

    • Slowpoke says:

       

      While I agree that there is in fact some good that comes from our financial industry, to suggest that this is the catalyst behind the “little people” building dams for their even less fortunate counterparts, to have a little running water and occasional electricity, is disingenuous and offensive.

      When Lehman and Goldman Et. Al know that they are pushing “S****Y” products and are using our lack of regulations to enhance their profits and bonuses, there is in fact a problem. And, while you can claim that the fraud was not perpetuated here, as no law was broken, theredoes remain an ethical issue (morality is another matter).

      My friends in the legal/ financial industry knew what they were doing supporting these transactions. Just because slavery was legal at one point, does not absolve us from responsibility.

      • Dagny says:

        Earning a living is a requirement in this life.  There are important contributors to the economy at all levels.  I would never be so base as to divide people into groups and call one ‘the little people’.  Who are they?  Do you mean labourers?  If so, that is what is entirely offensive.

        As another point of clarification, can you not see that it is not our lack of regulation that allows bad transactions to be created in another country?  If a bad deal was created in the US and has moved its way through their own regulatory regime, why is the fault supposedly at Cayman’s feet?

        You are not alone in this faulty logic.  This view is rampant because blame deflecting politicians in countries much bigger than this one have been singing this song for years – it is much easier for them to point the finger at someone who does not have the same level of clout to fight back than it is to take responsibility for their own lacking systems.   The unfortunate thing is that you and others like you have just swallowed the hook without giving the major economic contributors in Cayman the decency of a small effort to understand before you make uninformed public statements.

        Finally, I cannot speak for your friends who may have done something that they shouldn’t have, but – they are your friends.

        • Slowpoke says:

          Ah,  the "if you understood, you would see it my way" argument.  As I stated at the outset, I do think there is some good that comes from our services.

          However, my point is that  it is not quite "all is good", as you imply.  Again, I am talking about some kind of ethical responsibility that I (a dreaded minority liberal) think the financial industry should espouse, whether from a large or small country.   

          My friends all acted legally and I am sure that we share many common friends.

          That said, I think it would be best to leave it at "we respectfully disagree". 

  2. For anyone – let alone the spokesperson for your offshore financial services industry – to suggest that the Cayman Islands – as a jurisdiction – has historically not assisted US taxpayers in avoiding and evading taxes and to further state and/or imply that Cayman has fully co-operated with US authorities investigating tax matters is ridiculous. Is anyone in Cayman actually naive or ignorant enough to believe such nonsense?

    The reality is that Cayman has historically stymied tax investigations and generally made it difficult for foreign investigators, as evidenced by the clause exempting fiscal offences when Cayman’s Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law was introduced in 1998/99.

    I can remember the late Dick Marston, formerly a member of the White-Collar Crime Investigative Team, based in Miami, telling me in the 1990s that the Cayman authorities had, essentially, declared him persona non grata due to his efforts in investigating financial crime and his vigorous attempts at attempting information about criminals who were operating in Cayman.

    Others in the USA who have either been involved in the process of obtaining information or who are knowledgeable about it have told me similar stories about the Cayman authorities stymieing investigations.

    On August 31, 1999, OffshoreAlert published an article about a Cayman Islands banker who had been recommended for prosecution by the Royal Cayman Islands Police in 1992/93 for allegedly failing to comply with the terms of an MLAT request while serving as an officer of Euro Bank Corp.

    After the bank was served with a court order compelling the production of all records relating to Euro Bank client Richard Bertoli and others who were being prosecuted for fraud inNew Jersey, the bank produced just three pieces of paper. On one of these, it was claimed that all records had been destroyed.

    A disbelieving RCIP obtained what is believed to have been the first search warrant issued under the Cayman-USA MLAT and discovered hundreds of relevant documents in a banker’s box at Euro Bank.

    After receiving a police report recommending that the bank oficer be prosecuted, Cayman’s Attorney General conveniently allowed the six-month statute of limitations to expire.

    The above is reality and a far cry from the fantasy-world that Cayman Finance seems to live in.

    David Marchant

    • Anonymous says:

      David,

      You seem to forget that the US General Accountability Office has recently reported that the US does not, or is unable to, cooperate with foreign requests for tax information and information relating to organised crime when the bad guys use corporate entities  domiciled in Delaware and a number of other states. That is on top of the reality that the US refuses to enter into tax information arrangements with 3/4 of the countries on the planet. Before you get all high and mighty with your anecdotes relating to what may be the historical speck in Cayman’s "eye" – consider the lumber yard in your own "eye".

      • It is absolutely not true that the U. S. does not co-operate with foreign investigations and it is easy to prove this because the U. S. is such an open society.

        Each month, OffshoreAlert obtains details from the U. S. courts of requests for judicial assistance that are made with the U. S. Department of Justice by foreign countries, e.g. Russia, Ukraine, UK, Colombia, Brazil, etc. Many of them concern criminal investigations into organized crime and tax fraud and many of them concern evidence that is believed to be housed in Delaware.

        Once a request for assistance is made to the DoJ, the DoJ sends it to the U. S. Attorney in the jurisdiction where the evidence is believed to be located and the U. S. Attorney then makes an application to the local federal court for the appointment of a Commissioner to collect evidence.

        Once an application is filed with the court, the court typically takes a few days before granting it. I have never come across a situation where a request was refused. The process is quick, efficient, and transparent.

        These MLAT requests are published each month in OffshoreAlert and the documents are available in a searchable database on our web-site for anyone who wants to educate themselves about this subject.

        So many requests are made in Delaware (most of which concern tax fraud investigations by eastern European countries) that OffshoreAlert actually published an article about this on April 15, which anyone can read free of charge by going to http://www.OffshoreAlertConference.com/2010/articles.asp and scrolling down to the article headlined ‘One office address stands out in criminal investigations – and you’ll never guess where it is’.

        All of the above is easily verifiable because, as I have already stated, the USA is an extremely open society and the information is in the public domain, so there is no excuse for anyone to continue to believe that the US does not co-operate with outside tax investigations.

        David Marchant

         

         

         

         

         

        • Anonymous says:

          David – your patriotism is admirable in a way I suppose ,but you really ought to read more. Rather than referring to your own publication you might want to consider other sources before dismissing reality.

          The US provides cooperation to tax authorities in countries with which it has treaties or TIEAs – these represent only about 1/4 of the countries on the planet. Check it out yourself – the lists are on the IRS website. http://www.irs.gov/businesses/international/article/0,,id=96739,00.html  At the same time the US allows non-resident entities from 4/4 of the countries on the planet to earn income from deposits tax free – you do the cooperation math. 

          Here is the link to the GAO report which clearly shows that although the DOJ may request information on Delaware and other state entities – there is generally no information for the DOJ to retrieve or provide to other jurisidictions  because there is no requirement for the beneficial owners of companies to provide it. So much for openess and transparency.  http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06376.pdf

           

          By the way, you might be interested to know that Brazil – one of the countries you suggest receives excellent cooperation from the US – put US LLCs on its new target list just this week – although they were quite polite about it. http://www.fazenda.gov.br/portugues/releases/2010/junho/r080610b.asp

           

          • Any member of the public can see the level of co-operation that the USA gives to other countries by going to http://www.pacer.gov (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) and, after opening an account, searching US federal court records and downloading court filings, including thousands of requests for judicial assistance that have been made over many years by foreign countries investigating tax fraud and other serious financial crimes.

            The evidence is there for all to see.

            I would point out that most of the crimes reported about by OffshoreAlert are committed by US nationals and the crooks are assisted by both onshore and offshore banks, attorneys, accountants and other professional service providers. The problem is not any one jurisdiction but people, regardless of nationality.

            However, the measure of a jurisdiction is not that crime is commited in the first place but what it does when such crime is detected.

            While far from perfect, the USA is light years ahead of any other jurisdiction when it comes to holding crooks accountable for their actions. That is not me being patriotic (I am, after all, a British citizen, not a US citizen) but just being honest based on my extensive practical experience of investigating financial crime in many countries.

            OffshoreAlert is anti-crime, not anti-Cayman or anti-anywhere nor pro-USA or pro-anywhere.

            I agree that Delaware is a disgrace when it comes to facilitating serious financial crime and that’s why barely a month goes by without OffshoreAlert reporting about alleged criminal activity in Delaware, if nothing else through our monthly reports of MLAT requests that are made in the USA by foreign countries. OffshoreAlert also put out a press release as recently as April 15 about how a specific office address in Delaware was at the centre of an international crime-wave and, at our recent conference, we devoted an entire session to the crime-friendly nature of Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming.

            However, the USA comprises more than these three states and much of the criticism of Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming actually comes from within the US by people who consider the situation to be a national embarrassment.

        • Caymanite says:

          XXXX 

          If you want to compare like to like, comment on this story where a simple study proved that "it is much easier to circumvent prohibitions on banking secrecy" in OECD countries and especially the US than it is in Cayman.

          http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/03/30/tax-havens-have-stronger-governance-standards/

    • Anonymous says:

      David, there is little point in harking back to what may or may not have happened 10, 15 or 25 years ago. The point is that Travers’ statement is correct as at 2010. You are correct that for a long time Cayman insisted on what is the basic common law principle of not enforcing or assisting in the enforcement of the revenue laws of another jurisdiction. There is nothing inherently immoral about that.  

      • I only ‘harked back’ to many years ago because Tony Travers stated that "The US Department of Justice has had complete authority to access needed records in the Cayman Islands since 1990".

        He created the impression that Cayman has been willingly complying with requests for information from foreign countries for at least two decades which is simply not accurate. The reality is that Cayman has been dragged screaming and kicking into co-operating with foreign investigations into fiscal matters.

        I agree with you that the situation in Cayman today is much better than, for example, when OffshoreAlert first started publishing in 1997 and long may it continue. Cayman is definitely headed in the right direction.

        It is important to recognize, though, that this change came from without not from within, i.e. it was forced on Cayman by foreign governments and agencies.

        Regarding morality, it is subjective as to what is moral and what is immoral and it will vary person to person.

        By my personal standards, it is immoral to refuse to co-operate with foreign investigations into financial crimes that are extremely harmful to specific victims and, often, the general public.

        I deal with victims of financial crime on a regular basis and have extensive experience of the financial, emotional and psychological devastation that is caused. Shame on any jurisdiction that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for law enforcement to hold their tormentors accountable for their actions.

        • Caymanite says:

          Of course Travers is absolutely correct — that is precisely what the 1990 Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty states.

           

          XXXXX

        • noname says:

          Even the crazy Christian Aid and Tax Justice Network list the US as the #1 tax secrecy jurisdiction.  You have a lot of stink to clean up in your own backyard David, before you can call in the olfactory police on Cayman.

           

          Take a look at any of the FATF and IMF reports over the last few years – Cayman has by far a more superior regime than that of the US and just about any other finger-pointing country you may wish to compare us to

    • Caymanite says:

      Dave –

      The time machine has dropped you off in the wrong decade. This might come as a surprise to you, but we are in 2010. Sorry if our current transparent regime doesn’t give you anything to write about.

    • noname says:

      David,

      You need to update yourself a little.  See you can fastforward a few years to 2008.  Have a look at the GAO report.  This is the link so you don’t need to go to a great deal of effort to find it, although it does run a little more than 50 pages.  See you can make it all the way through to the end before you make any more ridiculous statements.

      http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08778.pdf

  3. PaperCaymanian says:

    More of this please. Perhaps he could make some noise in Hollywoods direction as well. The two largest money laudering centers in the world are London and New York yet we seem to be the scapegoat for every tax evading criminal on the planet.

    • Legal Beagle says:

      We were and crap sticks.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, Hollywood, starting with Matt Groening.  Remember the Simpson’s episode where Bart got the cheque from Krusty the Clown, stamped "Cayman Islands Holding Co." and showed the IRS, who then charged Krusty with tax fraud and seized all of his assets?

      In another episode, I think it’s Fat Tony, the Don of the Springfield mafia, hides out in Cayman…

  4. Transparency says:

    You want transparency?  Ask for the public register of directors and shareholders of a Cayman exempt company.  There is your transparency.

    • Macman says:

      If a request is made

       

      then by law the information must be supplied.

    • Chris Johnson says:

      Transparency; you are only half way there. Cayman is virtually the only financial jurisdiction where you cannot ascertain who the directors are of a single company. You can in fact find this information out in the B.V. I., the Bahamas and Bermuda to name but a few jurisdictions. Shareholders of ordinary companies you can find out from the registered office. But try it and you will meet resistance. You will prevail eventually. I am not sure if everyone should be entitled to the names of shareholders of exempted [not exempt] companies for say hedge funds so I have no issue here.

      What is clear however is that our Companies Law needs to be shredded and a new one written in its place. Look at other jurisdictions and you will note that they are on the ball with their new laws and amendments. I just fail to see how this jurisdiction dropped the ball. I guess affluance [ and influence ] and lethagy are contributory factors.

      More especially Cayman needs laws to protect minority shareholders. There is just too much fraud taking place on minority shareholders in this jurisdiction, many subjects being Caymanians. Cayman lives in the past and rests on its laurels. This needs to be remedied. Lets not procrastinate any longer and that includes getting rid of the Confidentiality Preservation Law which is clearly inhibiting our progess in the financial industry and antaganizing the US and the European countries.

  5. Rectus femoris says:

    I’m confused. Is this Travers fellow saying that the Cayman Islands doesn’t help American corporations and wealthy individuals duck out on paying billions in taxes each year? 

    That seems absurd to me. Why in the hell else would all these billions of dollars be here if not to evade/avoid taxation? 

    Didn’t the US Congress pass laws long ago that allowed rich Americans to take advantage of tax shelters like us in order to beef up profits while paying less to Uncle Sam? 

    I’m not accusing Travers or anyone else of lying because I’m not a financial expert. I’m just asking a sincere question here. I am genuinely curious about this constant denial I keep hearing about Cayman having anything to do with people dodging taxes. 

    What’s the true position? 

    • Anonymous For Cause says:

      I don’t agree with much of what Mr. Travers has to say on domestic Caymanian politics, however I have to give him credit for taking on the misinformation campaign being conducted against the Cayman Islands.

      Mr. Traver correctly stated there is full tax transparency between Cayman the US. In other words, if corporations are here to reduce their US taxes they are doing so legally within US laws with full discloure to US Authorities.  Hence the GAO had nothing bad to say about the Cayman Islands financial industry after making a direct assessment. 

      US States offer tax concessions for corporations to relocate to their cities.  The difference is that it offers employment in the US which understandably makes it more acceptable to US politicians.  But what about free trade and the level playing field? They are quick to bring that up when it suits their end, otherwise it does not exist! They who have power will use it to gain advantage against the less powerful, its always been that way and always will be (except when their attention is focused elsewhere).

    • Hold it now says:

      Who dodges more than USA.  Who wants to control the world finance beside USA?

    • Hmm... says:

      I am not a financial expert either as no doubt this blog will show. Yet several weeks ago there was a lovely exchange of poison pen letters between the Travers fellow and a man named Andre Iton that may help to answer your question, albeit indirectly.

      In it, if I remember correctly, Iton wonders aloud whether the quick buck from which the country has historically benefited from facilitating the facilitation of evasion/avoidance, or whatever, was worth the fact that we are now in the headlights of the people who want to do away with the loopholes in their own countries that made that process possible.  He also made some interesting points about the country’s rejection of any other form of sustainable income and the motivation behind it.   

      Travers response was to suggest that 1) Cayman Finance had failed in its remit to educate the public about exactly what it does 2) Iton was stupid 3) As the 800lb gorilla in the room the Financial Services industry could and would continue to do whatever it damn well pleased and would apologise to noone particularly prissy moralists.

      I recommend looking up the articles on the CNS site. It was priceless on any number of levels, particularly when a number of other financial engineering genius types waded in.

      Hope this helps.

       

      • Caymanite says:

        Proclaiming at the beginning of a statement that you have no idea what you are talking about does not excuse you from the responsibility of making said statement.

        If you do go back and look at the exchange and read the comments of Mr. Travers’ that you refer to, you will see that he was trying to help the uneducated (such as yourself) understand the basics of a financial transaction and how the world of finance works.  It appears that you didn’t understand even that part.

        Not everyone has the brains and the ambition to get into the business of finance (or any business at all, for that matter).  But – just because you do not understand the nature of the business does not mean that you may call it immoral or illegal or insist that the people who work in the industry are pirates and thieves. 

        Whether you like it or not you benefit from the activity of finance.  Whether you like it or not, Cayman operates a legitimate, legal and valuable collection of services.  There is no shame for any Cayman financial services practitioner for the job that they do and they so they should continue to do it.

        If you are going to make blatent comments in the press, do so after you have taken the time to do some serious reading on the topic at hand – and just to be clear – reading comments of CNS posters does not constitute serious reading.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is nothing stopping a US person owning shares in a business that is set up in Cayman. Let me give you an example. If I am a US tax resident person and I create a computer game and sell worldwide I can register my company here and sell it through that vehicle. So long as I can prove that the management is done offshore (i.e. have local directors, auditors, legal advisors etc.) all income from the sale of that computer game is not subject to CORPORATION TAX. If I then pay myself a dividend from the Cayman company to my personal bank account that is subject to personal INCOME TAX (big difference). By setting up a Cayman structure I avoid corporation tax and therefore have more to distribute by way of dividends. The whole point of an offshore company is to faciliate international trade in a tax efficient manor. What the US have the hump about is the US shareholders of Cayman companies not declaring these dividends as income and thus not paying their income taxes. Incidentally – if you look at the amout of tax that Uncle Sam says it is owed, and how much it thinks is hidden down here I think you’ll find the number is less than 1%. Hope this helps

    • Truth and fact says:

      But Rectus you are enjoying the tax haven too,  So dont kick the cow that is giving you milk.

      • Anonymous says:

        There is also a lot of milk in the drugs trade. Maybe if someone had kicked that cow a bit harder when the guns were coming in along with the drugs we wouldn’t be having armed robbery as an everyday occurrence.

        Right is right, and wrong is wrong. If we are willing to accept a little bit of wrong because most of what we do is right then we will have to listen to the international condemnation for that.

        For every person who grabs a gun and robs a liquor store, gas station, restaurant etc. we have thousands who try to make Cayman a better place to live, yet they do not make headlines.

        Headlines are precisely headlines and nothing more. But where there is smoke, usually there is fire. I do not work in the finance industry, but as long as we have a "confidentiality" law, we will have questions to answer.

        Tony can blow all the smoke that he wants, but as long as Uncle Sam has citizens evading taxes they will keep going after them, and our company registration that allows the true ownship of companies to be hidden will always be a target.

    • Jab-Jab says:

      The true position is that there is a line between tax avoidance and tax evasion, not a stroke. Tax avoidance is legal. Tax evasion is illegal. The idea behind ‘tax free’ jurisdictions like Cayman is that you can conduct legitimate business through Cayman and avoid taxes in your home country. If at any time you make taxable income/profit/etc. from these businesses then you should pay those taxes, otherwise it becomes tax evasion. Others have provided better examplesof this than I can. (I particularly liked the software example.)

      The problem comes in telling the difference between the two, particularly for some of the complex financial arrangements that are created. Especially if you’re a politician trying to explain this to people not in a position to avoid taxes. Another problem is that, particularly in the past, tax evasion may have occurred. Of course, since it was illegal its impossible to say how much, if any, did occur. But, again, others will hopefully give some concrete (prosecuted) examples, rather than heresay, to help answer your question.

      A further issue is how much taxes individuals think other people should be paying. To some, the idea that you can avoid taxes at all is anethma. They reject the idea that tax avoidance, though legal, should be allowed. That’s obviously a philosophical question for each individual to answer. However, it does complicate the issue because no one is saying that Cayman "doesn’t help American corporations and wealthy individuals duck out on paying billions in taxes each year" (as you asked), just that what its doing is legal. Its also seen by many as not being immoral. However, issues of philosophy aren’t as clear cut as legality.

      So what Cayman is saying is that we help people avoid taxes. What we are accused of doing is helping people evade taxes. What Travers and similar are trying to do is draw out that distinction to the public. Good luck to them. They’re going to need it climbing that mountain. It all depends on what you mean by "dodging taxes".

    • Anonymous says:

      You clearly don’t understand that there is a difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. Tax avoidance is legal. Tax evasion is not.

      The use of tax shelters and tax neutral jurisdictions such as Cayman is legal tax avoidance.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Now here is a man who is really trying to help Cayman in the eyes of the world.

     

    And guess what he does not need to fly all over the world with a bunch of cronies in first class at our expense to do so!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I hate to be a spoilsport, but what Mr Travers has to say is entirely irrelevant in the US. More generally, no one in the US cares what anyone in the Caymans thinks about this subject. The lawyers and bankers in New York and Connecticut who use Cayman structures could influence the debate, but will they stick their necks out to overcome the perception of decades of stinky business in the Caymans? It’s easier to move to a location that John Grisham hasn’t written about. Best of luck to Mr Travers in his quixotic endeavors.

    • noname says:

      Excuse me – what the h**l do you know about what is relevant in the US? 

      What basis are you using for your analysis?  Are you able to say for certainty that the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act would have been stopped in its tracks if not for the efforts of Cayman Finance?  I would suggest that someone up there is listening.

      Perhaps Travers should follow your lead and do nothing other than make little bleating comments on a localnews site rather than spending the time and energy to get the TRUTH out about the function of offshore platforms and how these platforms are an integral part of global capital flows.  

      Reading comments such as this make my blood boil.  It is the ignorance of such opinions placed for the whole world to see that perpetuates the problems Cayman faces.     

       

  8. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately politicians in the US and politicians in Cayman are they essentially the same. The truth for them is irrelevant. It is what gets headlines, votes and private deals that counts. Dorgan and others like him know the facts in relation to Cayman but they get "line inches" in the printed press and TV coverage when they slam Cayman. "Open" letters from Mr. Travers (to the extent that they get noticed) also provides the attention for Dorgan and his friends consider as rewards and may just be counter-productive. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    > Travers who has said he will seek out and correct every public statement by influential people that he believes is false where Cayman is concerned, told the senator most of what Americans think they know about the Cayman Islands is wrong.

     

    Thank God for Tony and Cayman Finance!

    At least someone is taking an active stance toward the irresponsible and ignorant rhetoric being spewed about Cayman by people in influencial positions.

     

    • Moto says:

      And just what effect have his letters had so far? None and it is unlikely that they will. Perception of Cayman is pretty well impossible to change which is unfortunate but true. We are also kidding ourselves about transparency in Cayman. It does not exist.

      • Backstroke says:

        It shouldnt be left to Mr. Travers to defend Cayman alone.

         Our government /DOT ,Every time I see a movie or soap opera where the scene is about financial fraud / hiding their money in the Cayman Islands, it boils my blood. They should not allow them to portray our Island in this manner, its not good publicity.

        Mr. Travers you have my thumbs up for defending our Island

        • Anonymous says:

          Moto sure isn’t going to do anything to help. What Moto doesn’t understand is that we have just as much access to Bloomberg and Associated Press. This works as long as we have intelligent people speak on our behalf. Thank you Mr. Travers.

      • Twyla Vargas says:

        Dont be jealous of the man for being a knowledgeble Caymanian.

      • Anonymous says:

        Change takes time.

        • That works both ways. It will also take time to change the culture of non-cooperation that, for many years, was a mainstay of Cayman’s banking industry and Government and which was one of the island’s main promotional tools.

      • Anonymous says:

        Moto, I’m sure you are also a believer that the world is flat!

         

    • Twyla Vargas says:

      I could not let the day pass without supporting Mr Travers on this, and other standing motions he had to take regarding Cayman.   Its a dirty job, and someones got to do it.  So Mr Travers, I say take them on, you have my support.

      Americans need to cool it, and realize that this little 21 by 9 rock has many itelligent people.   Not too long ago an american doctor asked me what kind of clothes we wear hear on the Island.   If it was grass skirts.   I was so shocked, I sad when I go back home I will send you some magzines about us.   I sent about 10 which he put in his office reception area, after comming down here and purchasing a condo on seven mile, along with half of his rich friends.   Let them all know Mr Traves, that we still are the Jewel of the Caribbean.