Leading financial experts claim that the UK government’s new clampdowns on bank accounts held offshore will not strongly affect popular offshore location, the Channel Islands.
New laws to help lessen the vast sums of money lost through tax evasion are being put in place, and some offshore jurisdictions may be hit hard and suffer a loss of business due to their secrecy policies. However, the Channel Isles, including Jersey and Guernsey, already have rules in place to combat tax evasion.
Speaking to BBC News the chairman of Jersey Finance, Geoff Cooke, said: “Tax evasion has been a crime here since 1999, firms are obliged to report any suspicious transactions including what they think might be tax fraud or a non-disclosure. If you were a tax dodger you wouldn't come to Jersey to hide your money as it is corporative, transparent and very well regulated. I don't think we'll lose very much business as a consequence of this because we don't actually by and large have that kind of business.”
In fact it is thought that the clampdown could establish the Channel Isles as the go-to destination for safe and legal offshore dealings and thus actually improve business.
The chairman of the Guernsey International Business Association, Paul Meader, said: “Other places have set their stall out with perhaps less clarity, shall we say, and have been prepared to accept some bad apples at the bottom of the barrel. Certainly in terms of corporate business there will be more enthusiasm to come and do business in a place like Guernsey, which is well recognised and well regulated."
He added: “We encourage good business to come to this island, we discourage bad business.”