Tags: taxes | sarkozy | switzerland

LIGNET: Pressure Growing on Offshore Tax Havens

Friday, 09 Dec 2011 03:54 PM

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's sharp condemnation of countries he accused of acting as global tax havens is increasing pressure on Switzerland and discouraging some other countries from assisting non-residents in evading taxes, according to a new LIGNET.com analysis.

It is also having the effect, however, of driving funds to new tax havens that offer less security and, according the Tax Justice Network, a greater likelihood of corruption and involvement in criminal activity.

At last month's G-20 conference in Cannes, Sarkozy said flatly: “We don’t want to have tax havens anymore…Our message is very clear.”

He called on low-tax countries that have refused to cooperate with the West in tracking tax evaders to be “excluded from the international community.”

And then he took the bold statement of listing those countries by name: Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, Botswana, Brunei, Panama, Seychelles, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

The Tax Justice Network estimates that $11.5 trillion in assets are held offshore by wealthy individuals, and that taxes not paid worldwide might amount to more than $255 billion every year.

More than half the total holdings of wealthy individuals in Latin America are held in offshore tax havens, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group.

A good portion of the assets held offshore are invested in hedge funds that are, while technically offshore, controlled from the major financial centers – New York and London being the two largest.

In addition to individuals, many multinational corporations keep their money offshore, where they can execute complicated financial deals and also attract investors who might not want to invest directly in an American company because of high tax rates, regulation and also exposure to class-action lawsuits.

Sarkozy’s comments at the G-20 conference were followed by an agreement among the G-20 nations on the second day of the conference to cooperate in assessing and collecting corporate and individual taxes.

To read LIGNET.com's full analysis of this story, please click HERE.

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy's sharp condemnation of countries he accused of acting as global tax havens is increasing pressure on Switzerland and discouraging some other countries from assisting non-residents in evading taxes, according to a new LIGNET.com analysis....
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2011-54-09
Friday, 09 Dec 2011 03:54 PM
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