Friday, April 12, 2013

Government Investigates Global Leak of Information on BVI Companies

The BVI government is investigating the ways how the US-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) received information on BVI companies, which is private. According to BVI Premier and Minister of Finance Dr Orlando Smith, this is an “illicit” leak of information used to attack the BVI financial services industry, which is actually fully compliant with the law and international guidelines.

The names of many BVI offshore company owners have been published by ICIJ, in collaboration with the Guardian newspaper and other international sources. This became the result of the leak of internal files of offshore incorporation agencies in the British Virgin Islands and some other tax havens – one of the biggest information leaks in history, which revealed many individuals and the details of their financial dealings through offshore accounts

This leak has already caused global reaction from governments and politicians. For example, Britain’s prime minister David Cameron is under pressure to act against the secretive offshore industry at June's G8 summit, as leaked evidence continued to show that politicians and tycoons from all over the world have used the BVI to hide their funds. Also, this week the European Commission announced an action plan to combat tax fraud and evasion, which was approved by Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Orlando Smith said in his statement: "While the overwhelming majority of persons use international financial centres for legitimate purposes, there are those that will abuse the system. Where wrongdoing is discovered, appropriate enforcement action is and will be taken. We continually review our legislative regime to ensure transparency, co-operation and compliance with international standards."

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