Business Monday: Graham: No tax haven
The Financial Services Commission (FSC) of Barbados has added its voice to the “Panama Papers” scandal, which erupted over the past week. Chief Executive Officer of the FSE, Randy Graham, has rejected the details of the leaked documents which suggests about 34 companies from Barbados are involved.
“Barbados is not a tax haven by any definition of the word you use,” said Graham. “If you go to OECD, IMF, however they use it, our tax regime does not apply differently to any category of company.”
In the past weeks, papers leaked from one of the world’s largest offshore law firms, Panama-based Mossack Fonseca, which mentioned more than 214 000 trusts and companies in more than 200 countries are being used for tax avoidance. Graham believes there is no need to be concerned about these developments where Barbados is concerned.
“There is a lot of information that is out there now about the so-called Panama Papers. Frankly we don’t know enough to say whether or not Barbados has been touched in any material way at all.
“Barbados is an International Financial Centre, we have international companies registered here, any company registered in Barbados can benefit from the Tax regimes that we have and you saw that our legislations allows us to set the tax rates that we set and we are not exempting people or creating any cloud in Barbados for any Tax exemption.”
The CEO remarked, “The report states there are 210 000 companies leaked to the ‘Panama Papers’, so even if there are 34 Barbados companies listed, that is not even a drop in the bucket in terms of the full quantum of companies and there is nothing to suggest at this point that Barbados has been touched in any legal way.”
Graham defends his country’s image, claiming that Barbados is a responsible International financial centre and expressed the Commission’s commitment to pursue investigations as necessary. “We have legitimate companies in Barbados – they have structure, they have systems here, that they have staffing here, they are under the regulatory guidelines and once these companies are released, if the names come out, we will look at them to see if there is anything that we need to do as a country but we are not in the business of any tax haven.”
Graham expressed his disappointment with what he believes to be unfair speculations surrounding the named Barbados-based companies in the ‘Panama Papers’.
He said, “They pull Barbados in and then we go under this cloud of grey and now we have to spend a bunch of resources responding and confirming our position as a well regulated jurisdiction and that’s the unfortunate nature of it.”
He continued by saying, “And we will respond, but it is totally unnecessary if you ask me, because you are going to pull this country into this report, for 34 companies that you say out of 210 000 companies.
“Now when you look at the Panama Papers release, UK, USA, Luxemburg, they have thousands of companies, but nobody is speaking about them. At this point, we are just looking for data, but even if we are touched, its not in any material way.” (KW)