The release of the so-called Paradise Papers has been criticised in Guernsey as politically motivated by the island’s chief minister and by the chief executive of trade body Guernsey Finance.
The release of millions of files from the law firm and corporate service provider Appleby earlier this week has shone a light on the murky world of offshore tax havens and the way the rich, famous and large corporations – from UK royalty to Bono and Facebook – have avoided or minimised tax liabilities through the use of elaborate artificial structures.
But the release of the information has been criticised at the highest level in Guernsey, a UK dependency and offshore fund centre which is mainly used for alternative funds like private equity and real estate.
The island's chief minister Gavin St Pier said that the release of the documents was just a “well-planned ongoing political campaign” designed to strengthen the EU’s position in Brexit talks.
Meanwhile, Guernsey Finance chief executive Dominic Wheatley said that the documents had been stolen following an illegal and unacceptable hack of files.
“The sensationalist reporting is deliberately designed to undermine the legitimate business acts of offshore centres,” he said.
“The coverage has attempted to portray that a lack of transparency exists in offshore finance centres, but in the case of Guernsey that is simply not true.
“Early adoption of global initiatives such as the Common Reporting Standard evidences our long-standing commitment to global standards of transparency and information exchange – standards that have been endorsed by the likes of the OECD, the EU and the IMF.
“Privacy and valuing client confidentiality as we do in Guernsey should not be conflated with secrecy. Indeed, we are completely committed to making available verified and accurate data in a timely manner to appropriate tax and criminal investigative authorities.”
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