Austria Accuses United States, United Kingdom of Allowing Tax Havens
DUBLIN–Austrian Prime Minister Maria Fekter April 12 accused the United Kingdom and the United States of employing double standards in the fight against tax evasion, claiming that both countries allow domestic tax havens and money laundering in places such as the Cayman Islands, and in Delaware and Nevada.
“The debate on tax evasion cannot be a one-way street,” Fekter told journalists as she arrived for an April 12-13 European Union finance ministers meeting in Dublin.
The accusation came as European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, citing an estimated $1.3 trillion lost annually to tax evasion in the European Union, announced a special summit May 22 to consider pending European Commission proposals to combat tax evasion and close corporate tax breaks.
Facing intense pressure from the EU to join Luxembourg in becoming the last EU member states to lift bank secrecy laws, Fekter tried to deflect the attention towards the United Kingdom’s independent territories and certain U.S. states.
“Great Britain has money laundering centers and tax havens in its immediate legal remit–the Channels Islands, Gibraltar, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands. These are all hot spots for tax evasion and money laundering,” Fekter said, adding, “Just as bad are the states of Delaware and Nevada.
“They are tax havens and money laundering that have to be laid bare,” Fekter said.
The April 9 letter from the G-5 countries to the European Commission is available at http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/Content/DE/Pressemitteilungen/Finanzpolitik/2013/04/2013-04-09-PM25-anl1.pdf?__blob=publicationFile&v=2.