In Brexit Tug-of-War, EU Aims at City of London’s Tax-Haven Empire

If only everyone would ignore the EU’s own tax havens!

The European Commission last year published its first ever tax-haven black list. On it was an eclectic mix of 17 far-flung jurisdictions including Panama, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Macao, Bahrain, Barbados, Namibia and Trinidad and Tobago, though eight of them, including Panama, have already been removed.

Conspicuously absent from the list were EU countries accused of facilitating tax avoidance, such as Luxembourg, Ireland, and the Netherlands. Also not included were British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies, despite them being named in earlier EU lists and some being implicated in the Paradise Papers scandal. But that could be about to change.

According to The Independent, the screening process is set to restart in “early spring” for British territories including Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands:

Other British territories – Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey – promised to try and address EU concerns to stay off the list, which will now be reviewed annually.

The Independent has been informed that as things stand it looks like Bermuda will be given a clean bill of health by the EU, but that outstanding questions remain for the Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla.

According to one recent study by Berkeley academic Gabriel Zucman, there is £1.4tn of “off shore wealth” located in the UK, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Bermuda and Cayman Islands alone.

The City of London is not just a place where the infinite threads of global finance meet, it is also the center of a vast, secretive web of tax havens cast across the globe. The “City of London Corporation” itself has functioned for centuries as an offshore island inside Britain, even inside London, a tax haven in its own right

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