(CNS Business): The local body representing the offshore sector has described a recent Oxfam report on tax havens as “the same purposefully misleading rhetoric pretending to be research that Oxfam has published and republished for years”. Cayman Finance said the analysis was biased and “intentionally inaccurate and misleading information”, as it accused the global charity that has been helping the world’s poor and vulnerable people for well over 70 years of advancing an agenda and harming countries they do not ‘like’ in the process.
In a statement Tuesday, Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott claimed that the Oxfam report published this week, outlining the issues that major tax avoidance by the mega wealth and huge conglomerates cause, was “alarmism” that was “unsupported by the facts”.
He said that international policymakers recognise the “vital role the Cayman Islands plays in the global economy”, as he advanced the idea that Cayman connects law-abiding users and providers of investment capital and financing around the world, which benefits both developed and developing countries.
Scott added that last year alone, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation invested more than $400 million in ten different Cayman-based investment vehicles to support critical telecom, energy, agriculture, technology, venture capital and manufacturing development projects in more than 24 developing countries.
“Oxfam continues to use a misleading and overly simplistic definition of what a tax haven is. Its assertion that a zero tax jurisdiction is a key criterion in defining a tax haven is simply not correct. Cayman Finance believes that any criteria used should be transparent, objective and meaningful,” he said.
Scott said that a definition of a ‘tax haven’ is a place providing shelter for illegal or inappropriate transactions and a jurisdiction that engages in practices that supports or conceals transactions relating to tax evasion, which is illegal.
“The Cayman Islands is not a ‘tax haven’,” he said. “The Cayman Islands is an efficient and effective tax neutral jurisdiction that does not add additional taxes and has been recognised for decades as a strong partner in combatting global financial crime including money-laundering, terrorism financing, corruption and tax evasion. The Cayman Islands has gained the reputation of a transparent jurisdiction by meeting or exceeding globally accepted standards for transparency and cross border cooperation.”
He said this jurisdiction provides a tax neutral platform that allows parties domiciled in countries that have differing laws, regulations, tax rules and customs to do business with each other.
“In the fight against tax evasion, the Cayman Islands has implemented global standards for best practices for transparency such as US/UK FATCA and being an early adopter of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard, which provides automatic exchange of tax information with countries around the world,” Scott added.
He continued, “Aggressive tax avoidance requires legal mechanisms or treaties, such as double taxation agreements, to be in place between countries to legally transfer tax bases from one country to another to aggressively reduce taxes. The Cayman Islands does not have any double taxation agreements or similar arrangements. As such, the Cayman Islands is not a jurisdiction used for aggressive tax avoidance schemes.”
He said that Cayman Finance hopes all jurisdictions will adopt the globally accepted standards for transparency and cross border cooperation as it is critical that they apply equally to all jurisdictions.
Scott stated that Cayman attracts investment capital and financing which is pooled and invested back into opportunities across the globe – often benefitting the citizens of the developing countries that Oxfam purports to speak for. “Oxfam would benefit from spending its time and resources to properly understand the tremendous value the Cayman Islands provides globally,” he added.