Just a domestic chartered accountant

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Last week I was described by Geoff Cook of Jersey Finance as ‚Äò just a domestic chartered accountant’. He repeated the suggestion on BBC Radio Jersey last evening (1.23 in). Philip Ozouf, the finance minister of Jersey has also now made the claim in the States of Jersey, the local parliament.

It’s an interesting suggestion, worth exploring just a little since it is obviously the line Jersey has decided to use to dismiss the contributions to debate that I am making in Jersey, and elsewhere.

They are right to some limited degree, of course. I am indeed a UK chartered accountant. I am, to be precise a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. I also hold a practicing certificate from that Institute and was for many years a registered auditor. I was also a training practitioner.

And it is true I do practice in the UK – and have done for what is now half a lifetime. But I really think that if that’s the best Geoff can come up with he’s missing the point, just a little bit.

I’ve also written an academic work – ‚ÄòTax Havens – the True Story of Globalisation’, published by Cornell University press, the fifth biggest academic publisher in the world. I guess the experience I got in Jersey – where I seem to be the only person who’s ever called all the shots on the future of its tax system correctly - helped, but Geoff would like to ignore that.

And he also ignores the fact that I have been an employee of the World Bank (in 2009) and that over the last few years I have advised clients on taxation and contractual issues in many countries including Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Sweden, Denmark, the USA, the UK and, of course, Jersey as well as addressing conferences in locations as far apart as Santiago, Chile and Bergen, Norway, via a great many locations in between.

And that amongst the things I’ve done is create the concept of country-by-country reporting, now being considered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, European Union and International Accounting Standards Board.

I won’t go on. I don’t think I need to do so. I’m not in the game of blowing trumpets, and don’t want to be so. But equally, I do think that first of all dealing with the facts and not the man is important and second that if you’re going to deal with the man you might at least try to get some facts right. Whatever else the facts say – and I’m well aware that Geoff and others won’t be impressed by any of the above – they do suggest that I have at the very least some international experience as well as something to say on tax havens.

Which means that, as ever Geoff, you’ve got it wrong.

Now why don't you tell us the truth on zero / ten instead?