Post Panorama

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The Jersey lobby have been spitting fire and indignation post Panorama on Monday. Things like:

It is good to see the record is starting to be put straight once and for all on this matter. I work in Jersey finance and Panorama was just a one sided, out dated opinion of what goes on in Jersey. I also question the reasons for us actually paying the BBC License fee in they cannot even accurately report on the Channel Islands anymore. I think it is time for John Christensen to perhaps return to the shop floor in Jersey for a few months because his knowledge of our industry is now outdated and his comments actually amount to lies. Panorama over all, made the TJN look out of step with the truth and this was backed up by the UK treasury. Jersey finance and many other leading finance people have torn its allegations to shreds over the past 48 hours and rightly so.

There's more in that vein here.

I have, of course, already made the point that Jersey deliberately supports tax evasion. That is indisputable. It is proven to be true: its refusal to information exchange under the EU Savings Tax Directive is now recognised as part of the reason for the necessary reforms of the EU STD which will simply ignore for tax purposes all the structures put in place in the island for tax planning because they are known by all tax administrators to be used for abuse. If ever there was rebuttal of the pure propaganda (and it is no more) that flows out of Jersey Finance and the finance industry in Jersey then this is it.

But I'll defer to John Christensen who has made this comment:

Dear Richard

Just to correct some of your correspondents, Stephen Timms made it clear that Jersey has made some progress with cooperation with the UK government, but further progress is required.

But what about cooperation with other countries? How many TIEAs has Jersey negotiated with non-OECD countries, i.e. the developing countries that are most adversely affected by tax evasion? Why, for example, did the Jersey authorities chose to ignore a request from the Chilean government to negotiate a TIEA?

How many exchanges of information were actually implemented in 2007 and 2008? We know that the number of requests for information exchange is very small indeed, which is largely due to the nature of the TIEAs that Jersey negotiates, based on the OECD "by request" model. This model is far too timid and has virtually no deterrent effect since the burden of providing evidence is stacked against the requesting nation. In other words the TIEAs that Jersey has negotiated are to all intents and purposes, virtually useless in preventing tax evasion.

Why did Jersey opt out of the European Unions Savings Tax Directive automatic information exchange process? The latter in particular demonstrates that Jersey has engaged in window dressing rather than serious efforts to curb tax evasion.

Why aren't the details of beneficial ownership of Jersey registered businesses publicly available?

Why is there no information whatsoever available about trusts?

Until we can see clear progress on all of the above, and in particular on acceptance by the Jersey authorities to fully engage in automatic information exchange with all countries, OECD and non-OECD, we will continue to treat Jersey as a tax haven that engages in facilitating criminal activity.

Best wishes

John Christensen

That is cool, reasoned analysis based on facts. The sort of thing you don't get from Jersey itself.

And I'll just add this: it's not good enough to say 'we're doing all that's expected of us' when that standard was set by criminal states such as Switzerland where one of the leading banks is now clearly shown to be engaged in systematic tax evasion, hiding behind the bank secrecy laws which Jersey reproduces through the use of nominees and trusts. That's just saying 'we're happy to be part of the criminal class that set these rules'. Jersey could opt, for example, to be a full member of the EU STD. It did not do so. It shows no signs of doing so. That's why every single thing we say about it is wholly justified.

The place is clearly dedicated to supporting illicit activity that undermines financial stability, denies tax to the countries that rightfully are due it despite which Jersey Finance has the nerve to say they're not a tax haven. I'll tell you: I've looked at every list of tax havens I can find for the last thirty years. There isn't one which hasn't got Jersey on it (or Guernsey and the Isle of Man come to that). So this claim is the action of a state in denial of the widespread perception of what is the truth.

Rather like Jersey Finance as a whole.