Politicians should take responsibility for the Paradise Papers rather than trying to score cynical political points, the boss of one of the world’s largest independent financial services organisations has said.
Westminster has been engulfed in political mudslinging since the release of the damning financial data on Sunday, which implicated the queen amongst other high profile figures in significant offshore investments.
But for high-profile politicians to complain and take the moral high ground when it is they who have the powers to change tax laws and regimes “smacks of political opportunism and hypocrisy”, deVere CEO Nigel Green believes.
“The notion that the majority of individuals and firms in these allegations are ‘getting away’ with mitigating their taxes liabilities legally is absurd. It is akin to someone ‘getting away’ with driving at 50mph in a 50mph zone.”
“Tax is a legal impost and it is individuals and corporations duty to comply within the laws and organise their financial affairs in order to pay what they are required legally.”
“Whilst the ‘Paradise Papers’ do indeed highlight that more needs to be done to increase efficiency and cooperation in some regards and jurisdictions, the current furore is distracting attention and resources away from the serious global issue of tax evasion.”
As well as calling out “grandstanding politicians” for being “misinformed, hypocritical and naive” on the Paradise Papers debate, the deVere boss also highlights that the vast majority of international financial centres are now transparent and appropriately regulated.
In his belief, “they provide a sought-after service for individuals – and not just the uber rich ones– and organisations across the globe.
“Indeed, they are an important, legitimate and beneficial cog in the global economy.”
Mr Green goes on to say: “Internationally-mobile individuals and firms typically find that offshore accounts are a sensible option because of their convenience. They offer centralised, safe, flexible and worldwide access to their funds no matter where they live and no matter to which country the person or firm might relocate in the future. Also, they provide a greater selection of multi-currency savings and investment options.
“Other, often ignored, benefits also include that they can assist firms from to avoid double taxation on the same income, and that they offer legitimate financial refuge for those in countries where there is economic, social and political turmoil.”