I have had very large numbers of comments from secrecy jurisdictions, and the Isle of Man in particular, over the last few weeks.
So on Friday I wrote a challenge, saying:
But to me there is just one question that really needs answering by these places, and it is this. If they are so adamant that they are committed to fully transparent and accountable financial services why do they steadfastly and persistently refuse to fully exchange information under the terms of the EU Savings Tax Directive, an option that is completely and openly available to them, but which they refuse to embrace?
There is only one possible explanation for their action, and that is the desire of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man to protect tax evaders using accounts in their domains from discovery by their domestic tax authorities. No other explanation is possible.
Now we know that the EU wishes to extend the Savings Tax Directive to all companies and all trusts, a matter on which I will write more next week after I have made a presentation to the EU Parliament on the issue. This measure is particularly targeted on offshore jurisdictions including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
These three jurisdictions (and others like them) have a choice if we are to believe that they are as transparent, accountable and clean as they claim. They can fully embrace the existing EU STD by committing themselves to full and open tax information exchange and we will call that a step in the right direction. They can then welcome the new STD with open arms, with its extended commitments to full information exchange and say that it will help them eliminate all tax evasion, and we will praise them.
But if they do neither we will know exactly where they stand. You can either be on the side of tax evaders on this issue, or on the side of upholding the rule of law in your neighbouring countries. There is no ambiguity. It is one or the other. Right now Jersey Guernsey and the Isle of Man are firmly positioned on the side of the evaders.
They have a choice. They can change their minds. But will they, and very soon? That is the question to which we need an answer. That is the question that this Commission must pursue. Without a positive answer no undertaking given by any of these jurisdictions has any meaning. I can be as blunt as that.
No one, not one person, has chosen to comment.
Why is that?
Is this the question they dare not answer because it shows what they are really about?