Last updated: November 10, 2017 at 12:32 pm
At least three Caribbean countries mentioned in the recent Paradise Papers leak are seeking to defend their reputations, insisting that they have done nothing wrong.
The Paradise Papers, a leak of 13.4 million files, reveal the hidden wealth of some of the world’s leading corporations and well-known individuals.
The material comes from two offshore service providers and the company registries of 19 jurisdictions described as tax havens, including Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
But Bermuda’s Premier and Minister of Finance David Burt has insisted that his territory is an open, transparent jurisdiction with a vigorous regulatory framework.
“We will be aggressive in defending our reputation as we have nothing to hide,” he said.
“Bermuda is not a place to hide money, in fact you cannot hide money or avoid tax in Bermuda as tax authorities receive that information automatically. Bermuda is committed to transparency, cooperation and compliance.
“We will not tolerate any who fall below our globally leading standards.”
To press home his point, Burt noted that more than 100 tax-transparency treaty partners can request and receive information from Bermuda; the British overseas territory was one of the early countries to join the Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS) OECD group through which multinationals in Bermuda must report their income; and Bermuda automatically shares information via the Common Reporting Standard with tax authorities in 34 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany.
“Whenever we receive evidence of wrong-doing we have the means and teeth to force compliance based on our legislation coupled, with strong law enforcement and regulatory cooperation,” he added.
“In the past, we have taken decisive action again individuals or corporation who are non-compliant. We will continue to do so.