Richards: EU Blacklist “Unjustified And Baseless”

June 18, 2015

[Updated] Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Bob Richards said today [June 18] that the European Commission-published “blacklist”, as part of an action plan to crack down on multi-national companies trying to avoid paying tax, is unjustified and baseless.

Countries were included on the list if 10 or more EU member states had them listed on their own national blacklists. Bermuda appears on the list of 11 EU member states.

Bermuda has signed a large number of tax information exchange agreements with countries around the world and today has 80 treaty partners because of signing the Multilateral Tax Convention [a multilateral TIEA].

Those 80 partners include all G20 countries, all OECD countries except for one, and all EU countries except for two because those three countries have not yet signed the international standard on tax matters, the Multilateral Convention.

Minister Richards added, “At least five of those 11 EU member states that have us on their national blacklists have not performed their obligations in one way or the other.

“Two of the five were to give beneficial recognition to the Multilateral Tax Convention in their blacklist criteria; one is still in the process of considering recognition of the Multilateral Convention; one has not kept their promise to send Bermuda documents to sign to take us off their list; one of the two EU member states earlier mentioned has not even signed up to the Multilateral Tax Convention; and; one publically announced earlier this year that it had taken Bermuda off its blacklist. We have been waiting for their cooperation.

“It is surprising then that we would be labelled as “uncooperative.”

“A closer scrutiny of this latest development reveals something wrong with this process.

“To be included on this new “uncooperative” list, one would have to be “black-listed” by 10 or more EU member states – not 9, 8, 7 or 6. Why they used 10 speaks to a lack of transparency.

“Not all EU members agree on how they compile their blacklists. Some are based on a combination of tax transparency concerns and low tax rates; others are triggered by low tax rates alone, and some are triggered by a lack of a tax information exchange agreements.

“Domestic tax policy is recognized by the UN, WTO, IMF the OECD and the G20 as a jurisdiction’s sovereign right to implement. Any national list whose trigger includes low or no income tax should be disqualified.

“If there had been consultation, we would have had the opportunity to point out that at least five of the 11 countries named as black-listing Bermuda had either not performed their obligation required to consummate a tax information exchange agreement with Bermuda or had failed to keep their promise made to Bermuda to amend their legislation to remove us from their black-list.

“Bermuda prides itself in being a highly cooperative business centre and has gone the extra mile to be ahead of the curve in this respect.

“I shall address this matter further in my Ministerial Statement to Parliament.”

Update 6.05pm: “We’re concerned the EU has labelled Bermuda among ‘non-cooperative’ jurisdictions,” said Ross Webber, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency [BDA].

“It points to misunderstanding and a lack of education about Bermuda’s economy and, more fundamentally, an imbalanced process. Our jurisdiction has proven one of the most transparent and compliant international financial centres in the world. Our 80-plus global treaty partnership and OECD white-list standing attest to that.

“We actively support global efforts to tackle corruption, tax evasion, terrorism financing and money laundering—but this report does not help advance such a goal. Bermuda’s economy supports hundreds of thousands of jobs globally and leading economies rely on us. In discussions like this, it’s critical that financial centres that add value—like Bermuda—are differentiated from those that do not.”

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Comments (26)

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  1. swing voter says:

    Forget the airport uncle Bob. That EU blacklist issue needs to be given priority

    • Redman says:

      No, they need to carry on with the airport as it has nothing to do with this.

      Besides it’s clear that no matter what we do there is an agenda and it will never be enough.

      • Jus' Askin' says:

        How can You say that?

        He is not attending to his duties and the airport should not be on his plate. Have You ever wondered why the Finance Minister has taken the lead on an airport development, when we have a Tourism & Transport Minister.

        Bob just don’t get it, they are telling us “Do as I say, Not as I Do”

        The agenda is to soil our reputation and the government needs to step up to the plate. We have been down graded and blacklisted :-(

        • Redman says:

          @ jus’ Askin,

          So by your rationale our Ministers are capable of only doing one thing at a time out of the many in their entire portfolio???! Sighs.

          Besides Mr Richards & the previous PLP Finance Ministers have been addressing this for years now. Both Govt’s have signed TIEA after TIEA & despite addressing every issue we are still seeing these headlines.

          He went so far as to lash the UK Govt on a similar issue when he was interviewed by the BBC. However I bet you were one of those who took him to task for having the guts to tell Britain & the others that they are wrong as we are just little Bermuda & Mr. Richards are ‘out of our league’ (my words) as some have suggested.

          Except for the business/ownership registry or something or other that Britain wants us & the other Colonies to set up, (you know, the same one that they don’t even have themselves? lmao) this and the previous Govt have bent over backwards to set the record straight yet we see the same labeling over & over. So what does that tell you? IMO no matter what we do it will never be enough in this shell game.

          But by your reckoning the Minister needs to drop everything and devote 100% of his time to this one issue, yeah that’s clever. Not!! I get it, you don’t want the airport built under the present arrangement. Please just say that as your reasoning doesn’t fool anyone & you come across as being disingenuous.

    • Raymond Ray says:

      @ swing vote: Thanks for the up-date Mr. Larry Burchall. “The tide appears to have ebbed.” (Read Mr. Larry Burchalls comments.)
      I’m far-more confident in our,(One Bermuda Alliance) Government in right-siding our “ship”…The Opposition Party, (P.L.P.) haven’t introduced a damn thing to convince me nor the vast majority of voters that their Party can lead Bermuda without sinking us all!

      • Oh right says:

        Dislike x100. I dislike all of your posts. You always post garbage.

  2. Rhonda says:

    Is the Minister of Finance, now singing the praises of tiers.

    • Redman says:

      @ Rhonda,

      It’s TIEA’s for goodness sake. Sighs

      Senate material? LOL

  3. Jus' Askin' says:

    This is Not Good :-(

  4. Terry says:

    Rule Britania.

  5. Mockingjay says:

    P.L.P did a good job in making this happen (and got lip from U.B.P/oba especially from SpongeBob, and now they’re F!@#ing up a good thing that was laid for them.

  6. Truth (Original) says:

    This is ridiculous.

    It is very rare that we find a reason for the Governor of Bermuda to speak up and intervene on a matter regarding Bermuda, however, I think it is appropriate that he stick his neck out, earn his paycheck and speak up on behalf of Bermuda regarding this injustice.

    It is obscene to me that Countries that have not themselves met the standard are allowed to sit in judgement on smaller nations that have.

    I am hopeful that investors see this for what it is, politics.

  7. Alvin Williams says:

    The governor is not going to speak up on behalf of Bermuda; that is not his role.
    He is the diplomatic representative of the British government and therefore his interests is not focus on Bermuda’s interests; but on the interests of the United Kingdom government.
    One day we will come to understand that and act accordingly.

    • 32n64w says:

      So you complain the Governor is more concerned with protecting the UK’s interests but simultaneously offer unwavering and blind support to the PLP who continually advance their own party’s interests rather than the island as a whole. Hypocrisy much?

  8. Bermystyle says:

    And what do those morons in the EU have to say for themselves? They’ve screwed up all of Europe…I wouldn’t pay attention to those scaremongers. How do these people get elected? Just baffles the mind!

    • Happyhols says:

      That’s just the point – the EU fat cats are largely unelected and unaccountable and too busy enjoying the benefits of the EU gravy train to bother about small detail like accuracy.

  9. Jeremy Deacon says:

    if it is unjustified why are they saying it? clearly we are not getting the message thru. so why is that? what does the london office do? is there a govt campaign to stop this misinformation?

  10. Rhonda says:

    When it comes to the OBA, it is always the fault of someone else…

    • Kangoocar says:

      Rhonda, funny you say that, ever notice when it comes to the plp and their incompetence, it is always YOUR opinion it was somebody else’s fault????

    • 32n64w says:

      Still waiting for the PLP to apologies for bridling us to the yoke of foreign financial lenders to the tune of $2,000,000,000 (and growing daily). When can we expect to read their mea culpa for enslaving current and future generations to the whims of our non-Bermudian debt holders?

      • Raymond Ray says:

        Don’t hold your breath 32n64w :-(

      • Rhonda says:

        as long as you say plp… need to look at the actions of the OBA…. what a mature positions to have…. when caught in any situation… just say …… Well look what s/he did..

        Oba is in a fight with themselves…they don’t know if the support Tax agreements or not…

  11. campervan says:

    Quote, ” Bermuda’s economy supports hundreds of thousands of jobs globally and leading economies rely on us”
    Sorry Ross, but those hundreds of thousands of jobs are supported by the insurance industry (that is currently domiciled in Bermuda) and the leading economies rely on the Insurance industry, not Bermuda itself.
    If it relocates to, for example the City of London the support for those hundreds of thousands of jobs will be the same.

  12. sue sue says:

    open a law suit this black listing cant be allowed slander

  13. Encyclopedia says:

    When you are a dot on the worldmap, you have zero clout. Face the fact and accept the reality.

    Just as the saying goes “If 10 people say you are drunk, you’d better lie down”.

    Can’t keep declaring Bermuda does not hide dirty money and the world does not believe it.