November 26, 2020

Cayman Islands’ Tony Travers says journalists who leaked the Paradise Papers should “be in prison”

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Chairman of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange, Anthony Travers, speaking on the BBC’s “Newsnight” television programme said:

“I have no idea what tax haven means and nor do you. What we are talking about is offshore financial centres that have complete transparency, the highest global standards and, incidentally, higher than the United States of America.

“What have we actually had from the Panama papers in terms of actual convictions in the for anything at all involving tax evasion or tax avoidance?

“The answer is nothing, certainly nothing statistically relevant. The Panama papers are fake news and this new leak from is fake news, saved to the extent that it is a criminal endeavour to hack people’s computers and these journalists should be in prison.”

Travers was being interviewed by presenter, Kirsty Wark. She asked him if it was true it was tax avoidance? Travers replied saying it was “complete utter nonsense”.

He said, “The tax avoidance you’re talking about that runs into billions of dollars is undertaken by Apple, Starbucks and Google. And that takes advantage of double tax treaty networks within , which don’t work. That’s where tax is avoided.”

When Wark claimed there were lots of companies that “actually take advantage of the tax regime in Cayman, in Bermuda and BBI and so forth “and these are not Google and they’re not Apple,” Travers said that was “complete heresy.”

He added, “Companies that invest in the Cayman Islands onward invest into onshore jurisdictions where there are markets and where there investments.

“They pay 100 per cent of the tax due in those jurisdictions. And furthermore, when the tax is distributed to its investors by virtue of the common reporting standard, you heard the Premier of Bermuda refer to, the recipients of dividends from those Cayman companies pay tax in accordance of jurisdictions of their residence of domicile. So there is no tax edge to investing in the Cayman Islands.”

Travers was more than a match for Wark when she exclaimed, ““Then why on Earth would you do it then?!”

Before Travers could reply, she answered herself: “Because the fact is lots of people do it because they don’t have to pay tax and they can also have a great degree of secrecy!”

And Travers came back with: ““No, you do not have secrecy whatsoever, you haven’t listened to what the Premier of Bermuda said.

“There is secrecy insofar as journalists are concerned, but there is no secrecy insofar as tax authorities, or law enforcement are concerned.

“They can ascertain the precise position in regard to any company in any overseas territory – Bermuda and Cayman included.”

Seeing she was on losing ground, Wark tried a different tactic trying to say there was a moral obligation to paying tax.

And Travers almost laughed out loud. Instead he said, “If you are saying, Kirsty, that tax should be paid on the basis of the morals as they are understood in the Houses of Parliament at the moment, let me tell you I haven’t had great difficulty in ascertaining what the proper test should be.

“What tax is paid on is the law. And we can remind Ms Hodge that her Government were in power from 1997-2010 that if they really didn’t like the international tax treaties which existed in Europe – which enabled tax avoidance in Europe by the major US corporates – they should have changed those treaties whilst they had the majority in the Houses of Parliament.”

Also appearing on “Newsnight” was David Burt, Premier of Bermuda and Minister of Finance. He said, “Bermuda has a robust regulatory regime and due to the new global regulations, every single UK national who has accounts in Bermuda that information is transferred automatically to her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

“So, there can be many reasons why many people can be in Bermuda but it cannot be to avoid taxes as we make sure that we report everything to the UK authorities.”

If you didn’t see the interview I urge you to find it. It was very entertaining. You can view part of the programme by searching Twitter for @BBCSimonMcCoy and from earlier this morning you will easily see a link with Mr Travers prominent visage – and the 5 minute interview is playable in our part of the world.

I’m sure someone will post it on Youtube.

However, in a story published in the Huffington Post UK their writer, Jasmin Gray, had a totally different view and blazed her story with the headline “Newsnight Viewers Mock Anthony Travers After Stock Exchange Chairman Dubs ‘Fake News’”.

Gray wrote “Newsnight viewers were quick to criticise Travers, calling his comments about tax evasion “arrogant and offensive”.

“If I were to write a cartoon capitalist, I couldn’t have done better,” one viewer wrote.

To read the story go to:

There is posted with the story a number of posts slamming Travers. None were posted praising his performance.

IMAGE: BBC Screen shot


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