On Sunday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released an investigation uncovering tax evasion by nearly 336 prominent politicians and politicians. Called the Pandora Papers in reference to Pandora’s Box, the report accuses these personalities of forming nearly 1,000 offshore companies, more than two-thirds of which are in the British Virgin Islands.
“The Virgin Islands are specialized in fast and cheap registration of companies, assures Alex Cobham, director of the British NGO Tax Justice Network. So these regions know it’s not serious, they say, “we will do it in 2023 or when all other countries have done it”.
According to the NGO, the government is dragging its feet
For NGOs, the British government is dragging its feet on the financial transparency of its overseas territories and the dependence of the British Crown (which also includes Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man). “The main player (in the global tax avoidance network) is the United Kingdom and its network of overseas territories,” says the director, who calls on EU policymakers to keep a close watch on the UK government during the time of Brexit.
“There is a real danger that the United Kingdom, at the time of Brexit, will return to the post-colonial model of tax jurisdiction with the city at the centre,” he concluded.
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