‘Tax dodge’ TV show condemned

Posted on

‘Tax dodge’ TV show condemned ¬ª Business ¬ª This Is Jersey.

The Jersey Evening Post has written:

DAMNING allegations on the BBC’s Panorama programme that a Jersey bank worker advocated dubious tax dodging have been dismissed as ‘sloppy journalism’.

Treasury Minister Philip Ozouf said that there were so many unanswered questions from last night’s prime time report that it was impossible to draw any firm conclusions from the programme.

This is ludicrous: he did so himself, saying:

However, he said that comments made by the Lloyds TSB Offshore worker, who was caught on secret camera explaining how to ‘get around’ EU tax rules, appeared highly inappropriate and were being investigated.

And he said that he would instruct the Jersey Financial Services Commission to use its own undercover customers to ensure that banks were operating within the rules.

So at the very least he thinks the BBC used a valid technique and found a real problem. So much for sloppy journalism.

And another Jersey official has chosen to comment inappropriately:

John Harris, the director general of the JFSC, said: ‘I do not think it was the BBC’s finest hour. I don’t think the programme was entirely right.’

He stressed that Jersey had very robust and comprehensive anti-money-laundering systems in place, as evidenced by the recent IMF report.

Two comments again. First, if the programme was not entirely right, why not? I have seen the whole transcript of this interview. It is right, let me assure you.

As for the IMF report - it is now shown to have been asking the wrong questions and thereby getting the wrong answers. That's the reality of the assessment programme. The BBC rumbled that in one simple exercise that has shown the truth about what happens in Jersey.

But as ever its politicians and officials exonerate abuse. This is unsurprising. The place is an secrecy jurisdiction after all: secrecy jurisdictions are places that intentionally create regulation for the primary benefit and use of those not resident in their geographical domain. That regulation is designed to undermine the legislation or regulation of another jurisdiction. To facilitate its use secrecy jurisdictions also create a deliberate, legally backed veil of secrecy that ensures that those from outside the jurisdiction making use of its regulation cannot be identified to be doing so.

If you can deliberately set out to create and support a secrecy jurisdiction you can easily gloss over a programme that shows the abuse you deliberately permit through creation of the veil of secrecy that only secret filming could crack.