‘We Will Be Aggressive In Defending Reputation’

November 7, 2017 | 14 Comments

“We will be aggressive in defending our reputation as we have nothing to hide,” Premier David Burt said following the release of the Paradise Papers, with the Premier adding that Bermuda is an “open, transparent jurisdiction” with a “vigorous regulatory framework.”

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Premier Burt, who also serves as the Minister of Finance, said, “I am here to give you an update on where Bermuda stands on the stories dubbed Paradise Papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ] that are currently being run in the international media and the articles and interviews that are anticipated in the coming days and weeks.”

16-minute live video replay:

Premier David Burt continued, “Last week, the Rt. Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in the UK parliament, was misinformed about Bermuda and I issued a statement in the UK and to all Bermuda media, correcting the record.

“The London Representative Office sent a letter to Mr. Corbyn’s office providing the facts about Bermuda, our comprehensive regulatory requirements and that Bermuda is a recognised leader in tax information exchange and transparency.

“I must highlight, we are a recognised leader in international tax compliance with 114 treaty partners who receive information by request and automatically for tax purposes.

“Last night and earlier today, I conducted a series of interviews with the UK media to continue to tell Bermuda’s story and to reiterate that we take these matters extremely seriously.

“The messages that will be shared by me, our partners and stakeholders is that Bermuda’s infrastructure and economy have supported businesses which cover a quarter of the world’s catastrophe insurance claims, helping many of the planet’s most vulnerable people. We have a world class reputation with a robust regulatory system.

“We share information with law enforcement agencies and we are required to turn around requests for information within 24 hours under agreement with the UK National Crime Agency [NCA]—reflecting the island’s long-held commitment to deterring money-laundering and financial crime. Bermuda also shares this information with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

“Any OECD approved tax authority can request and receive information from Bermuda, under the more than 100 tax-transparency treaty relationships, including TIEAs and the OECD multi-lateral tax treaty agreements.

“More importantly, Bermuda automatically shared financial account information about tax payers from all early adopter countries to the OECD common reporting standing [CRS] including the UK.

“In relation to the UK, this information was automatically shared in 2017. In addition, for more than two years, Bermuda has been sharing information automatically with the US under the US FATCA inter-government agreement.

“In the coming days, I will conduct as many interviews needed to continue to set the record straight. We will hold meetings with officials in the UK and Europe to ensure our message is delivered clearly and openly.

Audio of an interview the BBC did with Premier Burt:

“We will be aggressive in defending our reputation as we have nothing to hide,” the Premier continued.

“My message today is simple: Bermuda is an open, transparent jurisdiction. We have a vigorous regulatory framework.

“More than 100 tax-transparency treaty partners can request and receive information from Bermuda.

“Bermuda was one of the early countries to join the Base Erosion Profit Shifting [BEPS] OECD group known as the Inclusive Framework – which Multinationals in Bermuda must report their income on a Country by Country Basis.

“We automatically share information via “Common Reporting Standards” with Tax Authorities in 34 countries including the US, UK, France and Germany.

“Whenever we receive evidence of wrong-doing we have the means and teeth to force compliance based on our legislation coupled, with strong law enforcement and regulatory cooperation. In the past, we have taken decisive action again individuals or corporation who are non-compliant. We will continue to do so.

“Bermuda is not a place to hide money, in fact you cannot hide money or avoid tax in Bermuda as tax authorities receive that information automatically.

“Bermuda is committed to transparency, cooperation and compliance. We will not tolerate any who fall below our globally leading standards.”

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Comments (14)

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  1. Rada Gast says:

    I hope the Premier and any other government official talking about this refers to the Paradise Papers as “hacked” information, rather than “leaked” information.

    This information was obtained by a criminal act, that of hacking into the IT system of Appleby. It was not leaked by some employee who thought this was information that the public needed to know.

  2. Ignaorance says:

    Oh man, give me an illegal swizzle, I need one.

  3. alistair says:

    the problem is that the Paradise papers allege that the BMA fined Appleby and kept it secret – that undermines any effort at transparency and if the Premier is for real, and if it is true, then the Premier needs to instruct the BMA to put that fine and its reasons into the public domain now

  4. sandgrownan says:

    “Our reputation” would be so much better if we didn’t have a a certain someone who ran a ponzi scheme.

  5. Warwick West says:

    hacked or leaked…………..makes no difference to anyone except Appleby!

    The rest of the world’s braying crowds could care less.

    Only that it exists. Not how it got there.

  6. ConcernedBermudian says:

    Tax structures are created by each country to make money to run their countries. The UK gov (who are causing a ruckus) created their own tax structure that they feel is best for them. Bermuda, completely legal, has a different tax structure so don’t get mad that Bermuda’s tax structure is not the same at the UK. There is nothing illegal to this. Its called good business.

  7. Commoncents says:

    Bermuda Appleyby’s were hacked.

    You need to support the Premier who has done a great job in defending Bermuda’s integrity on the BBC

    We have received many emails from contacts around the World. One said is the Queen in touble.

    We have to get together and support a Bermuda Icon (formerly ASK).

    They have done nothing wrong.

    This is serious.

  8. Caveat E says:

    Our buses are run utilising tax money… but there cancellations erry day.
    Taxation without representation, when you need investigation there is no one to represent you… Only when it suits them.

  9. Realist says:

    We need the wisdom, experience, maturity and track record of Bob Richards back at the helm.

  10. Joe Bloggs says:

    I agree that the effect of the “Paradise Papers” (a label intended to remind people of the “Panama Papers”) will be perception and not fact. There is no way Bermuda can escape unscathed, but we can and should try to minimise the damage to our reputation.

    But still, I cannot help but wonder what would happen if I were to steal millions of documents from a leading law firm in Delaware (a US state of questionable regulatory standards). I suspect that the full force of US intelligence services would be used to find me and the full force of the US military used to eliminate me. Heaven forbid that secrets about US politicians and businesses should be “leaked” from a US law firm!

  11. spider says:

    If Appleby can’t do business here they too will be moving offshore.

  12. Holden M says:

    This is exposure worldwide good or bad let us make use offit and just embrace the free advertising…. Make lemonade.

  13. Don’t get upset… Roll with it.. Tell thank you for the exposure publicly…

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