Controversial author to face off against Ridley

| 09/02/2011

(CNS): The controversial author of the latest work criticising offshore centres will be featured at this year’s OffshoreAlert conference across the table from the former chair of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. Nicholas Shaxson, the author of Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World, says that bank secrecy, far from being "dead", is still vibrant. He will be one of a number of speakers set to appear at the watchdog conference in Miami in April. Shaxson will participate in a session entitled "OFCs or Tax Havens: Good or Bad for the Global Economy" alongside Tim Ridley, who will argue that offshore financial centres benefit the international financial system.

Speaking to conference organisers, Shaxson criticised the world’s major countries – and the media – for starting and perpetuating the "myth" that there was a new era of bank transparency.

"In April 2009 G20 leaders declared that the era of bank secrecy is over, and mandated the OECD to launch a crackdown with a black, white and grey list of tax havens," Shaxson said. "Much of the world’s media believed the hype. Unfortunately, the blacklist system turned out to be a whitewash. A few pinpricks have been made in the opacity, it is true, but basically the OECD’s standards of information exchange are so pitifully weak that the secrecy system is pretty much as vibrant as ever."

He said tax havens corrupt capitalism by providing one setof rules for wealthy elites and insiders, and another set for the rest of us.

"They are distorting markets,” he added. “Multinationals get to out-compete more nationally-based smaller firms that can’t access the same abusive tax strategies … The financial crisis has thoroughly discredited the notion that the most ‘efficient’ economic system is one where the tax burden is shifted downwards from the wealthiest sections of society towards the poor. There is nothing at all ‘efficient’ about the offshore system."

Shaxson is one of a number of speakers and experts booked to appear at what is becoming a key date on the financial services sector calendar.

Thorny subjects such as the importance of WikiLeaks, corruption in soccer and doing business with “dodgy clients”, among many others, will be examined over the three day event. Organisers said this year’s conference will focus on fraud detection and prevention, anti-money laundering, financial compliance, intelligence-gathering, and general risk management, all with an emphasis on international business transactions, particularly those conducted in and through Offshore Financial Centres.

OffshoreAlert Conference Programme

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Business

About the Author ()

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Umm, I thought the whole point of capitalism was one set of rules for the wealthy elite and another for the rest of us…

    Also I wasn’t aware that the Cayman Islands discriminated between SMEs and MNCs. Wherever is he getting his information from?