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Post-Panama Papers sunlight on New Zealand Trusts

July 13, 2017   Beneficial Ownership, Blog, Secrecy


If you ever wondered what kind of response to a financial transparency law might indicate a corrupted financial secrecy industry, look no further. We reported recently on what’s been happening to trusts in New Zealand in our Offshore Wrapper (our weekly take on tax justice news – for which you can sign up here, don’t miss out). First, here’s what our very own George Turner reported on about a month ago, followed by interesting updates:

Redistributive hypocrisy: The growing dominance of tax haven USA

coffersWe’re delighted to bring you a guest blog by Lukas Hakelberg, a researcher from the University of Bamberg – one of our partners in the EC-funded COFFERS project. The blog outlines the motivation and key findings of a study by Lukas and a colleague, Max Schaub.

We’ve been raising the alarm about the global impact of ‘Tax Haven USA’ as the world’s biggest financial centre, increasingly an outlier, resisting broader trends towards tax transparency. The study by Hakelberg and Schaub uses the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index in addressing the question of whether this behaviour has effectively redistributed financial activity in favour of the US, and at the expense of other secrecy jurisdictions.

Worst fears realised? Jersey shares ‘old’ records of trusts and foundations

Life’s full of surprises, some pleasant, some not so much. Imagine you had undeclared offshore assets when the global financial crisis struck, and you’ve nervously watched the world move towards TJN ‘s proposal for multilateral, automatic information exchange. Until now you’ve probably felt ok, and that you had a choice between two moves. Either you could say ‘Ok, the game’s up – I’ll use an amnesty or some kind of disclosure facility, and go straight’; or you could decide to keep hidden, using the new loopholes that are being actively promoted in Switzerland and elsewhere.

21870055935_0a6dfe5d22_bYou probably weren’t worrying too much about the past though. Information exchange will relate to existing holdings, so you just need to get things lined up before it kicks in (from September 2017 or after). But as India’s Economic Times reports,

“The worst fear of those with secret offshore bank accounts and private trusts is coming true — some tax havens are ready to part with ‘old’ records and even details of trusts and foundations that no longer exist.”

The 3rd International Conference on Beneficial Ownership Registries in Buenos Aires


As we mentioned recently on our blog the 3rd International Conference on Beneficial Ownership Registries took place in Buenos Aires on June 21st-22nd at Argentina’s Central Bank. This was another successful event attended by the Tax Justice Network’s Andres Knobel, who reports back to us here on the dicussions there:

Britain’s first tax justice election? Our June 2017 Podcast

In our June 2017 Taxcast we ask – has the UK just had its first tax justice general election? Why was economic debate around the election so ill-informed? Are we seeing a popular shift towards tax justice in the UK and in the USA? Is this the beginning of the end of our long austerity winter? How much do people REALLY care about taxes, who pays them and who doesn’t?

Featuring: Vanessa Williamson, Governance Studies Fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes, John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network, Will Snell of Tax Justice UK and with brief appearances by President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Produced and presented by the the Tax Justice Network’s Naomi Fowler.

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