Labour leader Ed Miliband has once again been invited to come to Jersey to learn about financial service regulation after his “tax havens” broadside earlier this month.
Mr Miliband made headlines with a letter that told offshore centres such as Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man that if elected, he would give them six months to open their books or face international blacklisting and sanctions.
"I am writing to put you on notice that a Labour government will not allow this situation of delay and secrecy to continue," he wrote.
"Billions of pounds is being siphoned off into tax havens where our authorities cannot discover even the true ownership of firms registered there, let alone the scale of wealth hidden away."
Chief Minister Ian Gorst has now revealed the letter that he wrote back to the Labour leader, in which he describes his “disappointment” over the attack, and set out a robust response.
He explained that Jersey is one of the few jurisdictions that already has a central registry of beneficial ownership, that the Island is vice-chair of an OECD working group on global standards for automatic tax exchange, that the Island has the same OECD rating as the UK, US and Germany, and that we have signed 36 Tax Information Exchange Agreements to hand over documents to foreign government investigators looking into tax avoidance.
He wrote: “As Jersey Ministers and officials have reiterated many times in past discussions with the Labour shadow team, and as I discussed with you in Glasgow, the Island is fully committed to compliance with international standards of financial regulation, anti-money laundering, transparency and information exchange.
“As I have said in the past, and most recently in my letter to you in August, I would be happy to meet you, your shadow Treasury team and economic advisers to discuss tax transparency and disclosure. I should also like to renew my invitation to visit Jersey to see for yourself how the financial services industry operates and is regulated here. I look forward to hearing from you with a date for a meeting.”
But Senator Gorst's letter did not go down well with everyone in the States - St Helier Constable Simon Crowcroft lambasted punctuation errors and a "glaring, elementary spelling mistake in the third paragraph that even a Year Eight student would not make", referring to the misspelling of "practises" in the letter.
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