Though offshore banking jurisdictions have recently been the subject of worldwide scrutiny for being illegal tax havens, compliance officers should be able to separate facts from fiction, according to Carlyle McLaughlin Jr., chairman of the board of directors for the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority. While the Islands still face issues of determining who the beneficial owners of accounts in other countries are, the idea that the jurisdiction is a haven for money launderers and the criminal elite is the stuff of Hollywood, he said, noting that critics often confuse secrecy with the privacy protection the country offers to legitimate businesses....
The leak of millions of records purporting to show widespread exploitation of offshore financial centers by global leaders, lenders and criminals is expected to draw governmental scrutiny of illicit finance, however unevenly.
FATF's latest round of mutual evaluations is proving "much more intense" resource-wise than past examination cycles, according to Calvin Wilson, the executive director of the intergovernmental group's affiliate organization in the Caribbean.
A "quantum leap" in efforts to improve global financial transparency, including the passage of a U.S. anti-tax evasion law, has mitigated the compliance risks of offshore banking centers in recent years, says Martin Livingston, a partner at the Cayman Islands branch of law firm Maples and Calder.
U.S. tax authorities and a Senate investigatory team are looking into reports that the Cayman Islands branch of Bank Julius Baer helped American accountholders hide taxable revenue, according to the former chief of the bank's Caribbean operations.