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UK tax committee to ask Overseas Territories to give evidence in London

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Apr 16, CMC  –Bermuda is likely to join other British Overseas Territories (BOT) in giving evidence before British legislators as part of an investigation into tax avoidance and evasion.

A government spokeswoman said while Bermuda had not yet received the British newspaper The Guardian, quoting an opposition Labour MP, said that ministers from the Bermuda government are to be asked to attend sub-committee hearings in London.

Paradise papersThe sub-committee of the Treasury Select Committee launched its investigation in the wake of the Panama and Paradise Papers leaks.

Chairman of the sub-committee, John Mann, who is also a Labour MP, wrote in the newspaper that he wanted to “hear from the dependencies and territories themselves”.

Mann said Britain should “regard it as a matter of national shame that the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories that fly our flag give shelter to the wealth of the world’s financial elite”.

He said half of the 240,000 shell companies used by Mossack Fonseca to help the wealthy dodge tax were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Mann said that BVI was “far from alone” in looking the other way “as the world’s financial elite used its legal structures to hide their wealth from prying eyes”.

 

“Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are on the EU greylist of uncooperative tax jurisdictions. If they do not co-operate further, they may be placed on the blacklist,” he wrote in the newspaper article.

Mann said he would be chairing a “Treasury sub-committee inquiry into avoidance and evasion, aiming to unpick the failures of policy and resourcing that have allowed the tax base to be undermined”.

The Paradise Papers — secret files from Bermuda-founded law firm Appleby — were released last June by journalists looking into the offshore activities of some of the world’s most powerful people and companies.

The Paradise Papers were unveiled just over a year after 11 million documents were leaked from secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which sparked international investigations and fresh promises to crack down on tax cheats.

British parliamentary committees cannot force individuals resident outside the UK to appear before them, according to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette newspaper, which carried The Guardian story on Monday.

A series of hearings on tax abuse, the practices of major accountancy firms, individual tax avoiders and evaders and the use of the UK’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories are to take place over the next six months.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER
 

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Apr 16, CMC  –Bermuda is likely to join other British Overseas Territories (BOT) in giving evidence before British legislators as part of an investigation into tax avoidance and evasion.

A government spokeswoman said while Bermuda had not yet received the British newspaper The Guardian, quoting an opposition Labour MP, said that ministers from the Bermuda government are to be asked to attend sub-committee hearings in London.

Paradise papersThe sub-committee of the Treasury Select Committee launched its investigation in the wake of the Panama and Paradise Papers leaks.

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Chairman of the sub-committee, John Mann, who is also a Labour MP, wrote in the newspaper that he wanted to “hear from the dependencies and territories themselves”.

Mann said Britain should “regard it as a matter of national shame that the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories that fly our flag give shelter to the wealth of the world’s financial elite”.

He said half of the 240,000 shell companies used by Mossack Fonseca to help the wealthy dodge tax were incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Mann said that BVI was “far from alone” in looking the other way “as the world’s financial elite used its legal structures to hide their wealth from prying eyes”.

 

“Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are on the EU greylist of uncooperative tax jurisdictions. If they do not co-operate further, they may be placed on the blacklist,” he wrote in the newspaper article.

Mann said he would be chairing a “Treasury sub-committee inquiry into avoidance and evasion, aiming to unpick the failures of policy and resourcing that have allowed the tax base to be undermined”.

The Paradise Papers — secret files from Bermuda-founded law firm Appleby — were released last June by journalists looking into the offshore activities of some of the world’s most powerful people and companies.

The Paradise Papers were unveiled just over a year after 11 million documents were leaked from secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca which sparked international investigations and fresh promises to crack down on tax cheats.

British parliamentary committees cannot force individuals resident outside the UK to appear before them, according to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette newspaper, which carried The Guardian story on Monday.

A series of hearings on tax abuse, the practices of major accountancy firms, individual tax avoiders and evaders and the use of the UK’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories are to take place over the next six months.