Offshore assets of 130 thousand world companies exposed. Andrey Goltsblat on Russia Today TV
Katie Pilbeam: Hello, there! Welcome to Business and me, Katie Pilbeam, this Friday evening, here in Moscow. Now, the Cyprus banking crisis has put the spotlight on offshore accounts, that’s for sure. But much like WIKILEAKS expose sensitive government data, a financial organisation has published the offshore assets of 130,000 companies from all over the world. Numerous individuals are also on the list. Now, the international consortium of investigative journalists has revealed that the value of assets kept in the Virgin Islands, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Cook Islands is estimated at $32 trillion. The consortium says the home of these companies has lost up to $1,6 trillion as a result. So, early today, I’ve got a legal perspective on the matter from Andrey Goltsblat.
Andrey Goltsblat: Saying ‘tax avoiding’ in this instance is probably not the right term, I would say ‘tax optimisation’, because ‘tax avoiding’ sounds like a criminal event, a criminal offence. But with the tax optimisation, obviously, the offshore accounts and offshore companies in BVI, Caymans, they obviously serve for the tax optimisation, this is why they created the local tax law as such as it is.
Presenter: So do you think that there need to be more laws in place to avoid this optimisation, as you call it?
Andrey Goltsblat: Well, it depends on each particular state of origin of money and what you’d like to achieve. If you’d like to collect more taxes from the companies which are registered on those jurisdictions, then, obviously, there should be some measures being taken by the country of money origin, or country of investments’ destination to prevent the tax optimisation by this way. Or those offshore paradises should be forced globally to change their local legislations, if the globe wants and the business wants to liquidate the tax optimisation on that jurisdiction.
Presenter: Do you think that this scandal that has come out, do you think that this will make a difference, do you think it will change the rules of the game, somehow?
Andrey Goltsblat: Well, I don’t think that the scandal itself will change the rules of the game, I think that everyone knew about it, probably didn’t know about the amounts, but, definitely, the current situation in Europe, the economic situation and recession will trigger some measures to be taken by European governments. That’s the first thing. And then probably the USA too will join, but that’s not because of the scandal, that’s because of the economic situation. I mean, that the scandal itself is just a trigger, which somebody pulled to raise the issue rather than make it a reason to change the tax treatment in this jurisdiction’s legislation.
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