Friday, February 13, 2009

Links - Feb 13

** Also see our searchable archive of past story summaries; and Offshore Watch. **

The last (we assume) from the excellent two-week Guardian series on taxes, tax evasion, and tax havens.

The Swiss whistleblower
The Guardian interviews the whistleblower Rudolf Elmer at his hideaway in Mauritius. Worked in the financial industry for 33 years. Exposure to cayman, guernsey, other islands, made me think, and I started to understand what’s really going on – it’s a major problem. The future of society is at risk. Only the tip of the iceberg is prosecuted – but there is a system behind it, and that is the frightening part of it.

Taxation: Personal Savings
UK Parliament (
Feb 12) - Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax has been repatriated to the UK by each country adopting the withholding tax option under the EU Savings Tax Directive.

VAT: Channel Islands
UK parliament (Feb 12) - Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the effect on value added tax (VAT) revenue of VAT-free goods coming through the Channel Islands into the UK in each of the last three financial years.

Trouble in paradise: calls for Britain to seize control of Turks and Caicos
Feb13 (Times) - With no income tax, an array of unspoilt beaches and the security offered by its status as a British dependency, the Turks and Caicos Islands have become a haven for celebrities and their bank accounts. The idyllic image has been severely tarnished by an inquiry into allegations of political corruption. The claims are so serious that some observers believe that the British Government will now have to consider seizing back full control of the islands.

Half of all CDOs of ABS failed
Feb 10 (FT) - Almost half of all the complex credit products ever built out of slices of other securitised bonds have now defaulted, according to analysts, and the proportion rises to more than two-thirds among deals created at the peak of the cycle.

Rare glimpse into offshore world of big money and low taxes
Feb 13 (Guardian) - One of the more fascinating sets of records disclosed by Rudolf Elmer is, he says, the confidential investor list of an offshore fund run by the Carlyle Group.

Feb 13 (Guardian) - My home buildings insurer has just informed me that they have relocated to Dublin. I'm relocating my business with them back to an insurer which is registered in the UK. 
Sid Fewster 
Crickhowell. And more like this.

14,000 tax avoidance schemes and counting...
Feb12 (Guardian) - At the last count, since rules requiring the disclosure of tax avoidance arrangements to HMRC were introduced in 2004 there had been around 14,000 such schemes. Or so we thought. Now it seems these might be far from the limit of the problem, as many "promoters" of schemes are refusing to play the game.

Tax avoidance laws: the spirit v the letter
Feb 13 (Guardian) - Defending his bank's cross-border tax avoidance scheme before the Treasury select committee yesterday, the Lloyds Banking Group chief executive, Eric Daniels, said: "I would tell you that we do not do anything other than adhere to the spirit and letter of the law". The letter, sure. But the spirit? Text of court documents here and here.

Daggers drawn: Conflict at HBOS
Feb 12 (Guardian) - Paul Moore, asked what prompted him to break a gagging order he agreed to as part of his settlement terms with HBOS, the former KPMG partner says he has been greatly motivated by his faith.


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