The Crown Dependencies do not deserve to be white listed

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The Telegraph has reported that:

A row has broken out between the Channel Islands and the European Union over a decision to leave the tax havens off a 'white list' of countries deemed to have satisfactory controls against money-laundering.

Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have been placed by the EU on an 'intermediate' list of financial centres which 'may' meet compliance regulations, angering the three Crown dependencies which claim they have done everything possible to put their houses in order.

There's one problem with their argument: they might have (just about) passed all the required legislation. But local professionals do not comply with the requirements to report suspicious transactions. And the rate of prosecution is so low (one in Jersey in 2007, none in 2006 when not a single suspicious money laundering transaction was reported to the police) that a sign might as well be put out over these places saying 'money launderers welcome here'.

Of course, that's not the local view. The Telegraph, again, notes:

Guernsey's finance minister Charles Parkinson claims the decision to leave the islands off the list was a 'political' one, following claims from some financiers that other EU countries did not welcome competition from tax havens.

'I am sure that there is no reason why we shouldn't be approved but obviously some countries in the EU loathe the idea that any tax haven could be respectable,' said Mr Parkinson.

He can bluster all his way to Castle Cornet but no one will believe him: the fact is these places do not have the capacity or will to implement the legislation they have passed, and the EU knows it. That's why they need to be closed down.

As the Tax Justice Network has consistently argued, tax havens cause poverty. Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are tax havens. They do cause poverty. Or worse. They have no right of any sort to be on a 'white list'. This is not politics. It's much more important than that. For some it is life and death.