Politicians whipping up a frenzy over the Paradise Papers tax haven revelations are misguided, according to the boss of a leading expat financial advice firm.
deVere Group CEO Nigel Green has spoken out against comments made by Britain’s Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and former US presidential candidate George Sanders.
He accused them of ‘out of control sensationalism’ and failing to understand how global finance works.
“Corbyn implies the Queen, rock stars, and multinational firms, amongst others, must apologise for benefitting from legal, tax-efficient schemes,” said Green. “Meanwhile, Sanders maintains that money in offshore accounts illustrates the movement towards an international oligarchy.
“This hyperbole is unhelpful, misleading and demonstrates their monumental naivety. It’s time to set the record straight.
Not getting away with anything
“The notion that most individuals and firms in these allegations are getting away with mitigating their taxes liabilities legally is absurd. It is akin to someone getting away with driving at 50 mph in a 50 mph zone.
“Tax is a legal impost and individuals and corporations have a duty to comply with the law and organise their financial affairs to pay what is legally required of them.”
The Paradise Papers are a leak of more than 13.4 million confidential client documents mainly from international lawyers Appleby.
The documents reveal how thousands of wealthy clients took advantage of mostly legal offshore avoidance schemes to minimise the taxes they paid.
Most of the schemes involved shell companies in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. Other offshore centres detailed in the papers include Malta, the Isle of Man, British Virgin Islands and the Channel Islands of Jersey and Guernsey.
Green explained that offshore financial centres are mostly transparent and tightly regulated.
“They offer a sought-after service for wealthy individuals and multinational organisations,” said Green.
“Although the leaks highlight more needs to be done to improve the co-operation of some centres, the real issue is tax evasion not legal tax avoidance.
“Internationally-mobile individuals and firms typically find that offshore accounts are a sensible option because of their convenience. They offer centralised, safe, flexible and worldwide access to their funds no matter where they live and no matter to which country the person or firm might relocate in the future.”