Travers makes a come-back with new verbal attack

| 06/04/2011

(CNS): Although Anthony Travers is no longer the chair of the offshore sector’s industry body, he is still pulling no punches when it comes to media reports about the Cayman Islands which he says are incorrect. Hitting out at an article in Tuesday’s edition of the Financial Times by Nicholas Shaxson and John Christensen suggesting Cayman is one of four offshore centre which received the largest amount of illicit international funds, Travers returns to form with his verbal attacks. The newspaper, he said, should be ashamed for allowing itself to be used by “desperate ill-informed malcontents”, whom he describes as “left wing social engineers” in a statement Wednesday morning.

Having previously called Nicholas Shaxson, the author of Treasure Islands and an associate fellow of Chatham House, an imbecile, this time Travers says he and John Christensen, the authors of "Time to black-list the tax haven whitewash", are extreme left wing social engineers. The chair of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange describes the Tax Justice Network, of which Christensen is a member, as an organisation dedicated to the destruction of offshore financial centres and committed to high global levels of taxation and says the editors at the FT should be ashamed for giving the men space in the paper.

“In the interests of providing factual and objective information to which FT readers are normally accustomed, considerably fewer column inches should be attributed to the delusional rantings of those extreme left wing social engineers Messrs Christensen and Shaxson,” Travers said in his statement, reminiscent of the verbal punches he threw when he was chair of Cayman Finance.

“It is difficult to discern a thread of reason in their rant other than that this type of deliberate misstatement is the weapon of choice of the class warrior i.e. smear, mischaracterize and hope to live another day before the reasoned and factual refutation gains traction.”

He said that while such tactics of “the desperate” were understandable, the reason why the Financial Times should be a willing accomplice was less so.

“The evidence in respect of money laundering is clear,” Travers added, echoing the message he delivered regularly when he was chair of Cayman Finance. “Abacha – $4billion through the City of London; Mogilevich – $7b through Bankers Trust in New York; 400,000 IRS enquiries of UBS in Switzerland that bastion of the distinction between tax evasion and tax fraud and now Wachovia applying no due diligence whatsoever and fined $180m for laundering $378b from Mexican drug lords through Miami.”

He pointed to what he said was first class and “evidently highly effective anti-money laundering legislation and world-leading tax transparency already demonstrates the transparency which this laughably ill-informed pair of malcontents demand be introduced.”

Although Travers said the article was entertaining, he said it was better suited to the Comics Section of The Financial Times. “This is not the first time that the FT has misled its readers over the Cayman Islands and one wonders why they can bring journalistic excellence and accuracy to reporting the City of London or Wall Street but show utter ignorance and contempt for a small country such as Cayman. "It is irresponsible and reprehensible. Their editors should be ashamed,” he added.

Travers made his sudden departure from the local industry body in February after being its spokesman for more than two years, during which time he directly rebutted critics of Cayman at every opportunity. Roy McTaggart was appointed interim chair.

McTaggart said at the time he would be continuing the work started by Travers until a committee of the organisation’s members could find a new figurehead for the association. Since then McTaggart has made just one piece of correspondence public in which he rebutted a slight about the jurisdiction.  The letter was to Ronnie Campbell, MP, a UK parliamentarian who referred to the Cayman Islands as a tax haven during a debate in the House of Commons. Although, Cayman Finance may be continuing its work behind closed doors, it has made no other public statements.

See FT article Time to black-list the tax haven whitewash

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Comments (22)

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  1. UDP Supporter says:

    We need more good ex-pats like Tony Travers!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why do people think that we here in Cayman do not pay tax? Just because our tax collection system is not the same model of theirs doesn’t mean that we are a tax free country. Our model is based on consumption (indirect) and their model is based on fixed income (direct). Why is our way wrong and why do we have to do it the exact same way as they (USA/England) do? I hate the bullying by the big boys because we do things different. Never let it be said that Cayman is tax free. We pay tax (duty and other fees) on most items indirectly every day.

    It is the same way they treat other countries who do not have their same type of religion or democratic government. Their attitude is that those countries are doing it wrong and we must invade them! Come on people, that’s why there are border lines on the geographical maps. You do what you want in your country and we’ll do what we want in ours.

    • nauticalone says:

      “Why do people think that we here in Cayman do not pay tax?”
      Maybe because Cayman has marketed itself (Politically, econimically and otherwise) as a “tax free” locale ??
      Plus if Shell Companies are set up here for the pupose of “Bussiness Transactions” such companies “consumtion” is next to nil compared to their “monetary transactions”.
      It’s then left for us to pay ALL “consumption” taxes!
      Whereas if taxes were applied Internationally/equitably on all transactions, then Globally ALL would benefit from a more fair system.
      To continue on the model of the past few decades will continue the result of….”The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”.

  3. Anonymous says:

     The sooner Tony Travers has retired the better for all in Cayman.

  4. slowpoke says:

    Wow Tony, one mention of the Cayman Islands in an article about tax evasion and you have an apoplectic fit?

    At least now I understand that if I have a problem with A) the top 1% percent taking a quarter of a nation’s income; B) controlling 40 % of wealth; C) companies such as GE making US$ 14B profit and paying US$ 0.00 in taxes… While teachers are being cut, medical benefits are being slashed; roads are not being repaired… I am an:

    “extreme left wing social engineer”, “desperate” and “committed to high global levels of taxation”.

    Well, at least I can look someone less fortunate than myself in the eye and still sleep at night.

    (Oops, forgot, never question the private sector or the “Magic” hand of the free market in Cayman.)

  5. Richard Wadd says:

    The level of Ignorance among our people astounds even me.

    Here we have an "Expat" (should be ‘Expert’) who has adopted us, made this his home, and uses his extensive knowledge and experience to defend the very Industry that makes our way of life possible.

    So how do we respond to this? Like 04/06/2011 – 14:28 ??

    Thank your lucky stars for people like Tony Travers who stand up for us, when our own "Caymanians" ignore the 800lbs Gorillas.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This simple fact is that Mr Travers is the only effective representative  that Cayman has ever had All you anonymous crabs in the barrel are just that  

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is one Caymanian I am proud of..

  8. Anonymous says:

    It’s interesting the way Chatham House, or the Royal Institute of International Affairs, creates a common link between Shaxton and the FT.

    Michael Peel, technically the FT’s Middle East correspondent, wrote the January article promoting Shaxton’s book and featuring the now discredited Martin Bridger/Martin Polaine complaints. Peel is a former fellow of Chatham House, Shaxton is (I understand) a current fellow.

    In October 2009 Peel had been a featured speaker at a two-day Chatham House event. He shared the platform with Polaine’s business partner and Bridger was also present as a speaker. Based on accepted standards of journalism, he might have considered recusing himself from the January story because it could be alleged he had a conflict of interests in that he was associated with three of the main players.

    Now we have Shaxton and Christensen associated through Chatham House.

    This is a tabloid mentality hiding behind a veneer of respectability.

    And who owns the FT? Pearson PLC. And who is one of the top five shareholders in Pearson PLC? According to the Guardian on 1 March 2011 it’s the state-owned Libyan Investment Authority.

    What’s the saying? ‘Judge not lest you be judged’

  9. Anonymous says:

    Travers is not working for Cayman because he has to understand that this name calling and undiplomatic approach does nothing for Cayman other than bring more pressure on us from International Organisations.

    So my question for Travers is : who are you working for Tony ?

    Those who are praising Travers as being courageous ought to reflect for a minute and understand the harm he is doing to our financial services industry.

    Ask yourselves the question : Why is Travers not longer the Chair/Spokesman for Cayman Finance ?????

    • Voice of Reason says:

       Yes, far better to simply stick your head in the sand.

       Fool.

    • Michel Lemay says:

      Let me guess ?He new more then some and was an embarassement to many. I think WE ALL KNOW who is doing the greatest damage HERE and OVERSEAS. We should be signing treaties for repatriation and extradition instead of signing any more of sharing info. As you see it still don’t give us the reputation we deserve. And leave the deportees where they are. Far away !

  10. Michel Lemay says:

    Thank you Mr .Travers I find it gracious of you to still care even after the malacions attacks towards you in the past after your resignation. Your professionnalism overcome those who bashed you and some without a clue of your extensive knowledge. I find it admirable that you are still willing to defend us. Those of us who know you, know where your heart is, and we also know that you could go and live anywhere else in the world should you wish to. But your caring attitude should be a lesson for many of us. I am certain to hear more negative comments towards you after this response but frankly those are from persons who like to read their own articles and see how many thumbs up they can get because that’s all they have to offer. Respect sir.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Salute Mr Travers.  Why indeed if Cayman is such and easy money laundering vessel is it being done in the back yards of our attackers?  A few years back at the threat of blacklisting we adopted laws and regulations which certain States refused thereby defeating the equivalent domestic legislation. 

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yea! Go Roy go! You’re really taking them by the b@lls! Standing up for Cayman! Roy McTaggart for Premier!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I would love to see successful Caymanian business men like Roy or maybe Dan Scott run.  Unfortunately these are not the type that get into politics.  But anyway how about it guys….why don’t you help leadthis country that has provided you with such great opportunity?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Ouch!

  14. Anonymous says:

    mr. travers seems to miss the point(obviously to suit his own ‘argument’)…the issue is one of tax evasion not money laundering….
    apart from that, his insulting generalised rants do nothing for the cayman islands…

    • Anonymous says:

      We have exchange of information agreements with many countries however you cannot push your inability to police your own people on other countries.  If the honor system isn’t working in your country it is probably a reflection of a lack of faith in the application of funds collected partly due to taxation that supports a grossly unbalanced distribution of wealth. The Swedish pay heavy taxes but there is faith the funds are being used effectively and equitably. 

      The countries being attacked will never end.."zero tax"…."low tax"…"less tax than us". 

  15. Anonymous says:

    Rather than talk about “class warriors” and “extreme left wing social engineers”, which is just a sad reflection of how Travers sees the world, he should have criticised Shaxson’s and Christensen’s flawed logic in that they are decouncing TIEAs as not effective and a whitewash and then demand 60 of them as a requirement for a whitelisting.

    All this name calling is childish and weakens his arguments, if he has any; although they are not immediately apparent.

    It also makes his statements sound much more like “delusional rantings” than the FT article that he criticised as such.

    • nauticalone says:

      Very well said!

      And for those who say London, NewYork, Miami, Switzerland also have tax evasion issues….such arguments may well be true….but Travers would do better to “professionally” state the facts….instead of engaging in name calling, as such is NOT helpful.
      It may win our local elections….but will NOT deter the International community!
      Just state the facts, don’t engage with name calling!

  16. Thankful Again says:

    Thanks Mr. Travers. Like a true Caymanian….put um in there place yeah.