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Why Fiction is Clouding Fact - A Comparative Review of Jersey’s Efforts to Counter Financial Crime

February 2009 - Finance. Legal Developments by Baker & Partners.

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An article published in the Observer newspaper on 14 December 2008  contained the utterly misconceived assertion that ‘The financial crisis began with the collapse of the structured investment vehicles, which accountants and lawyers working offshore put together’. The article went on, rather brazenly, to state that ‘transparency and openness’ are ‘virtues that the offshore banking industry hates with a passion’. Those statements are made without reference to any empirical evidence. The article could simply and accurately be regarded as a misguided ramble by someone with little knowledge of his chosen subject, were it not for the fact that it is another example of the misplaced but increasing hostility to offshore financial centres. That hostility has certainly intensified as a result of the global financial crisis. We have seen politicians on both sides of the Atlantic applying pressure; the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Bill in the US Senate and, in the UK, the announcement in the pre budget report of a review of the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories  are further examples to which the EU’s indirectly discriminatory White list , President Sarkozy’s recent call for a ‘crack down’ on tax havens  and Joseph Stiglitz call for them to be ‘shut down’  can all be added.

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