Brass-necked cheek

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I had this letter in the Jersey Evening Post yesterday:

I NOTE that Jersey is to ask major European banking centres to extend savings guarantees to Jersey to protect depositors in the offshore finance industry on which the Island's economy depends (JEP, 11 October).

I am simply amazed at the outright brass-necked cheek of this request. For decades Jersey has deliberately set out to undermine the tax revenues of all these places and has shown contempt for the systems of government they have operated, which it has sought to destroy by denying their governments the resources they need to fulfill their democratic mandates. But I would, nonetheless, say yes to Jersey, subject to some strict conditions. These are:

• The names and addresses of the beneficial owners (by which I mean warm human beings) of all accounts to be guaranteed must be provided to all authorities providing the guarantee, with them having the right to pass that data on to whomsoever they choose. If there is refusal to provide information on any account, then no guarantee is offered to anyone.
• There will be full participation in the EU Savings Directive henceforth, but with information exchange not just for the EU members but for all countries. That exchange will extend to companies and trusts. The tax withholding option will be withdrawn immediately.
• The full beneficial ownership of all companies (warm bodies for private companies - trusts will not be permitted as owners - although quoted companies are acceptable) will be put on public record, as will the names and addresses of all people who really control all companies in the Island, and the accounts of all those companies will be put on public record.
• The same information will be required on public record for all trusts, limited partnerships, cell companies and other entities that the Island facilities.

If Jersey said no to any of this then the answer would be simple: no guarantee is available. The benefit of the European welfare state can only be available to those who are willing to pay for it.