Gordon Brown has been right to criticise the Swiss. But they are right to point out there is trouble in his own back yard that needs attention. This from the Wealth Bulletin:
Doris Leuthard, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, has said the UK should clean up its own tax havens before pointing the fingers at others.
In an interview with the Austrian newspaper Kurier, Leuthard said the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has never indicated how he plans to abolish British tax havens.
This is true.
Leuthard, who is also a prominent member of the centrist Christian Democratic People's Party of Switzerland, added that Switzerland isn’t a tax haven.
This is blatantly untrue, as is this:
She said: “We are no tax haven. We have been cooperating with others for years and also work closely with the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development.”
This response is fair:
Alistair Darling, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, said last February: “I think it’s important there is transparency‚Ä¶It’s one of the things Switzerland has got to address. If it wants to be part of the international community, it’s got to be open.”
But if Brown is to win friends he has to make clear British territories including the Crown Dependencies must be on any new list of tax havens to suffer sanctions. Nothing else will do. It cannot be one rule for the Swiss and another for everyone else.
And we have to tackle the domicile rule and the secrecy that British trusts in combination with nominee companies allow. These issues have to be on the agenda as well, if not at the G20 (it will not do this level of detail) then soon after.