Merkel says ‘Liechtenstein encourgaes lawbreaking’

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The FT reports that:

Angela Merkel, German chancellor, on Wednesday threatened Liechtenstein with isolation in Europe unless the Alpine tax haven moved to ease bank secrecy, as bilateral tensions grew over Berlin's handling of its spiralling tax evasion enquiry.

Ms Merkel, speaking in Berlin after a meeting with Otmar Hasler, Liechtenstein's prime minister, accused the principality's banks of "encouraging lawbreaking" in Germany by offering services allowing tax evasion.

She's right, of course. But this is also true of all tax havens, including all those sponsored by the UK.

This is their business model. They have no other. Why else do they, and all the banks who operate within them, work so hard to defend their secrecy? They know that without it they have nothing to offer anyone.

It's why secrecy, and not tax rates, are the core of this issue. Low tax without secrecy is of no use to those who use these places. It's the secrecy that makes sure they don't pay their tax.

Transparency, accountability and honesty. That's all I ask for. Now what's so unreasonable about that?