Denmark shows how to go fishing, and get a good catch

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Denmark has set a new precedent in tackling secrecy jurisdiction abuse. It’s been reported that:

The Tax Ministry of Denmark has released new data and launched an investigation into the vast amounts of transactions Danish entities and tax havens. The investigation is part of the Ministry’s Project Money Transfer, which began with request to national banks to provide extensive information on customers’ money transfers to countries considered to be tax havens by the Tax Ministry.

The requests were met with immediate opposition from banks, a move which raised public interest and built up awareness of a situation that could becomes the country’s biggest tax scandal ever. Initial investigations into the transfer data revealed evidence of at least 450 companies whose sole and purpose is to pipe capital from one jurisdiction into another, sometimes low tax, jurisdictions. Between the years 2007 and 2009, 85 of the 450 companies had recorded transactions exceeding DKK 100 million (approx. USD 18.2 million).

There’s no doubt some of the money reported is legitimate.

And I am equally sure some will not prove to be so.

What is welcome is that this opens up whole new areas for enquiry – indeed (as was discussed here in Bergen yesterday) this type of enquiry does allow for what has quite incorrectly been called fishing trips and which should instead be called the pursuit of hot money.

I hope authorities rapidly follow suit in making such enquiries, and where conduit arrangements are found that information is shared.