Travers takes aim at ‘delusional thinking’ on offshore finance

| 28/07/2016 | 19 Comments
CNS Business

Anthony Travers defending the Cayman Islands

(CNS Business): Anthony Travers, a former Chairman of the Board of Cayman Finance, took aim at critics of low-tax jurisdictions as he joined documentary film maker, Jaques Perretti, on a panel at the IBC Transcontinental Trust Forum in Geneva last month looking at the media portrayal of the offshore industry. Dismissing those critics as “delusional”, Travers said Perretti’s documentary about Cayman, Britain’s Trillion Pound Island, which aired on the BBC earlier this year, contained “grotesque mischaracterisations” and that the filmmaker was influenced by the Tax Justice Network.

Defending the sector in an edited video, in which Perretti’s contribution and the debate has been edited out and posted on YouTube, Travers said there were “five fallacies” in Perritti’s film and accused him of conflating the right to privacy, which he said was lawful, with banking secrecy, which facilitates tax evasion.

Travers insisted that banking secrecy does not exist in the Cayman Islands. He also said that there was benefit to local people from the offshore sector as it creates jobs and feeds the indirect tax system. He said the third fallacy was the claim that tax havens don’t benefit onshore jurisdictions, as he pointed to the onshore investment from institutions registered offshore.

Claiming confidence that tax was paid on all the money invested in Cayman, as the cash would be spent somewhere onshore at some point, he criticized Perretti for how he presented tax avoidance. He maintained that it was perfectly legal and those who did not like it had to understand it was onshore laws that were the problem, not tax havens.

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Category: Finance, Financial Services

Comments (19)

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  1. Bigal says:

    So we are not a tax haven ???????????????

    Hahaha yeah right ! Unna can come up with all the jargon unna want . But i have been living here all my life. And besides working in the industry myself , I have friends in high places who laugh at the notion that we dont assist in tax evasion.

    We may appear to have strict compliance but
    Its all fine print nonsense to hide the truth in a mountain of documents. I walk this road every day and YES Cayman is a tax haven .

    Problam is locals are conditioned to believe the global community is stupid .Or that they are jealous of our finance industry.

    Take a closer look people. How often do you read of local firms/banks under investigation or being fined !

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  2. Anonymous says:

    It's about time we started to attack the onshore US domiciles in Delaware and Nevada amongst others. No transparency at all and blatant tax avoiding machines. How can anyone respect the U.S. if they police us globally if we use USD but don't clean up their own shop.

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  3. Richrd Wadd says:

    It took me 3 1/2 months to get a Business Account opened (in CAYMAN) for a new venture we started, in a Bank that I have been with for more than 30 years ... yet it took me only 20 mins to open an Account in the US with $5k cash and my passport ... who's fooling who?

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  4. SKEPTICAL says:

    Why is it always Tony Travers who has to stand up and defend Cayman in these situations - never a government spokesman. Is it because they are frightened, or simply lack the intellectual capacity to put together a cogent response. There silence on these issues is deafening.
    CIG should be very grateful that, time and time again, Travers has the knowledge and energy to step up to the mark, on the island's behalf.

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    • S says:

      Skeptical, where have you been living all these years. Government officials and politicians have been speaking out on this for ages. Let us get real here, Mr. Travers is much more qualified to take up this cause just because he is an attorney who has works in offshore centers , been to court to represent clients in offshore centers, written more papers and attended more offshore forums than any other person on this island. More power to Mr. Travers for speaking up on our behalf. There are not many who has this kind of knowledge and the skill to present it as he does. He is always willing to do this so what exactly is your gripe. Perhaps next time around you could take his place and we will be the judge of that.

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      • Chris Johnson says:

        Clearly you missed the point of the blog from Skeptical.. He was complimenting Travers for all his hard work and I agree. Government needs to be more proactive in these matters as indeed I am!

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    • Anonymous says:

      They lack the intellectual capacity and the testicular fortitude, Skeptical.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To be fair to the gov't, the arguments are highly technical and would require someone deeply immersed in industry to properly handle such questions. (US Congress for example would be lost on this versus one of the large US law firms such as Skadden or Schulte.

      Tony does this with such intellect, confidence and wit that it just sounds better!

      At the firm where I work, if we saw any indication of tax evasion we would kick the client to the curb in half a day. Not sure how one would actually do this now with FATCA (or the international equivalent)?

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    • Michel Lemay says:

      Tony as always been there for the betterment of the Business/ Investment/ Strong advocate all over the world for the Cayman Islands since I had the pleasure to meet him , many tides ago.He does not get intimated by anyone. At lest he stands up for us. Many others that like to critisize him often don't do much themselves.

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    • Anonymous says:

      To be honest, I'd rather it was Anthony at least he knows what he is talking about. Every time a government spokesman opens their mouth it seems like a drastic case of damage limitation ensues. I mean just look at the contributions made on the Perretti film that is the subject of this debate by the governor and government spokesperson - pretty embarrassing and really not helpful at all - just showed how little real knowledge they had of the financial industry and the offshore sector generally.

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    • pproved? says:

      The financial sector should be expected to do its own defence and PR work. It is not the governments job to shill for them.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    We all owe Anthony Travers a debt of thanks. Finally, someone is stepping up and correcting the misconception that the Cayman Islands "hides" onshore wealth from the tax man and launders drug money. Historically, not enough effort has been made to present the facts to the world; the fact that the legitimate offshore industry, particularly the Cayman Islands, is a legal and integral component of the global financial industry. The government has made little effort to clean up Cayman's global image abroad. I think its high time that the Cayman Government took legal action against any publication or media outlet that portrays the Cayman Islands as some sort of illegal tax dodgers paradise. The reputational risk of letting that type of faux "journalism" continue is too high for the continued economic well-being of this country to bear.

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    • pproved? says:

      I say go for it. Nothing but good could come from putting those journalists on trial!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    The only problem with using Travers to front up the case for the Cayman Islands (or BVI where his law firm also has interests) is that he doesn't seem to realise that simply attacking your critics is counter-productive.

    Remember how Nick Shaxton turned the tables on him in 2011? In a few days Travers' comments did more harm than Shaxton's book had ever done because they were so easy to summarise and convincingly (if inaccurately) rebuff.

    Most of what Travers says is probably true (although I have my doubts about some of the claims made on the BBC last year) but the instant he resorts to calling critics imbeciles and delusional it all falls on deaf ears.

    He also seems to be conveniently side-stepping cases where there is genuine tax avoidance and tax fraud taking place. You can describe it as exploiting loopholes or taking advantage of the tax laws if you want but in certain countries (China for one) the rules are clearly being bent pretty hard and the authorities are fighting back. That might be bad for business here but in the end it's simply their laws being enforced.

    Remember when HMRC used the EUSD to force UK banks to release information about money they had helped customers stash away over here in 'tax free' investments that were actually liable for tax in the UK? Don't remember much coming from the good Mr Travers over that little scam and it involved some pretty heavy hitters in the UK banking business.

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    • Anonymous says:

      But what you dont realize is that almost every service provider (law firm, accounting firm, administrator and director) in Cayman will drop a client if there is any sniff of tax evasion. With FATCA, UK FATCA and the upcoming Common Reporting Standard, this should be impossible even if one tried.

      Some of the alarmists at places like the Tax Justice Network (the equivalent of climate change deniers) should realize that accounting firms here have large tax COMPLIANCE teams. I know my friends at Deloitte have a 15+ person US tax compliance group, that prepare returns filed with the IRS.

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  7. Jack Irvine says:

    The reason Mr Peretti's contribution (such as it was) is edited out is that he took cold feet and demanded the organisers did not put the entire video onto the web. In other words, he can dish it out but he can't take it.

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    • What evidence, if any, do you have to support this claim?

      FYI, the organizers do not need his permission to publish the video. If they commissioned and paid for the recording, they own the publication rights.

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  8. pproved? says:

    Yep, it's all legal.

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