Tax havens are blacklisted by EU

John Riva

The papers made public some of the intricate ways the world's richest individuals and entities evade paying taxes using offshore havens.

Britain fought particularly hard against the list, afraid that its crown dependencies, including Jersey and the Virgin Islands, would be singled out.

The 17 countries that could potentially face sanctions for failing to bring their standards in line with the EU's published requirements, are South Korea, Panama, Bahrain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, as well as Barbados, Samoa, American Samoa, Grenada, Guam, Macau, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago, according to an ECOFIN announcement.

Other jurisdictions are understood to have been given leeway after suffering severe damage during hurricanes in the Caribbean earlier this year.

Senior officials from member states have whittled down an initial draft of 29 countries, with divisions still strong in recent days on who will make the final version.

"Tax havens will not disappear from our radars and we will keep the pressure on", he said.

Panama's president, Juan Carlos Varela, objected to his country being on the list, saying it is making progress against tax evasion.

"If EU governments really wanted to get rid of tax havens, they should be open about the fact that several EU Member States, such as Luxembourg, Ireland and the Netherlands, also have to fundamentally change their behaviour".

Other countries are reluctant to draw up common sanctions, believing that responsibility is better left to member states.

The EU originally screened a total of 92 jurisdictions and once the list is compiled it is expected to be continuously updated. "Unless we put a stop to all tax havens, the problem is just going to move from one place to the other", Eurodad wrote in a reply to the European Union decision.

The news comes as the European Union moves to clamp down on tax avoidance by non-compliant countries and discourage the use of shell structures overseas.

"If countries will be implementing them they won't be part of the tax list, if we see that countries are not implementing the commitments there is the possibility that they end up on this tax list", added Dombrovskis.

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