INSIDE THE WORLD’S TOP OFFSHORE TAX SHELTER

http://www.newsweek.com/2014/01/17/inside-worlds-top-offshore-tax-shelter-245078.html

Shona Pitman grew up in a rough patch of a $2 trillion-dollar island.

Reared in Nicholson Park, a neighborhood in Jersey once so dangerous the school buses took the long way round it, she was acutely aware she did not belong to the island’s elite.

Yet she considered herself lucky to be living in a tight-knit community on a chocolate-box seascape, even as material riches transformed her island paradise before her eyes.

“Growing up here used to mean something,” she said. “We used to be quite community-spirited. There was a great tourism industry, a lot of employment, farming as well. Finance has come in now. So much is geared toward that, the other industries that were so much a part of our lives are mostly gone.”

Born on the island of Jersey, in the Channel Islands, 14 miles off the west coast of France, Pitman knew of no other home than one that answered directly to the queen of England. Neither a part of the United Kingdom, nor the European Union, Jersey is a Crown dependency, meaning it is accountable to the queen, but governs itself.

The island has its own parliament, judiciary and treasury, which prints its own currency stamped with

the queen’s visage and pegged to the British pound. For purposes of free trade, Jersey is treated as part of the European Union and falls under many of the U.K.’s international treaties and compacts, but it has its own constitutional rights separate from the U.K., tracing back to the year 1204.

In practice, Jersey acts as a sovereign nation that freely grants its loyalty to the queen in exchange for certain special protections, such as the military defense of the island.

A so-called peculiar possession of the British Crown, Jersey is 45 square miles (about the size of Boston) with a population of around 100,000. The islanders speak English, but due to their close proximity to Normandy, their surnames, buildings and street names are often French. Some islanders still speak the old native tongue of Jèrriais, a Norman dialect.

Jersey’s roots stretch back more than a thousand years. A family still living on the island, the de Carterets, once owned the lands that became the state of New Jersey.

The island is known for its history of pirates and Viking invasions, stunning castles, award-winning beaches and seafood, Jersey cows and Jersey cream.

And it is also known for warehousing nearly $2 trillion of the world’s wealth.

In 2013, Jersey quietly rose to the top spot of the global rankings of offshore tax shelters, as measured by the Global Financial Centres Index, edging out the Cayman Islands, Monaco, Gibraltar, the British Virgin Islands and Cyprus. Yet because it is so small and tends to shirk publicity, many have never heard of it.

For the uninitiated, a tax shelter is a legal way to minimize or decrease taxable income and, therefore, tax liability. A 401(k) plan is technically a tax shelter, but the legality of some tax-efficient vehicles can be murky, particularly when they are used illicitly to conceal paper trails or earnings for purposes of wrongfully reducing one’s tax burden. For its part, Jersey eschews the term tax shelter, preferring international finance center.

Jersey is not much interested in attracting celebrities or press, but the Channel Islands have long been a magnet for big names and banking royalty, such as the Barclay Brothers, British real-estate mogul David Rowland, British Formula One champion Nigel Mansell and Welsh pro golfer Ian Woosnam.

In Jersey, much ink has been spilled over the residency of Scottish entrepreneur and ex-owner of Rangers Football Club, Sir David Murray, and septuagenarian property tycoon David Kirch, who topped last year’s London Sunday Times Giving List for passing out £100 holiday shopping vouchers to Jersey’s pensioners.

When you fly into Jersey’s airport, one of the first things you’ll notice is an airfield crowded with private planes. The walk to baggage claim is lined with billboards targeting what Europeans call “Henwees,” a term adapted from the acronym HNWIs, for high-net-worth individuals.

The island is encircled by gorgeous beaches, lighthouses, marinas and yachts. The cobblestoned main street that shoots through the island’s single town of St. Helier – named for a reclusive holy man martyred by Saxon pirates in 555 A.D. – today is the stomping grounds for an A-to-Z list of bulge-bracket banks (42 of them, at last count) from ABN Amro to UBS. In the warmer months, you’ll occasionally see a harpist at the top of King Street, her instrument tilted toward the crowds.

In a brochure containing pictures of Jersey’s yacht-filled marinas and the glass-and-steel towers making up St. Helier’s downtown financial district, Jersey Finance, the island’s nonprofit group representing Jersey’s top-grossing industry, boasts the “largest workforce of any offshore financial center,” with “innovative arrangements” for a Who’s Who of global clientele, including “ultra-high-net-worth” families,” investment managers and most of the global banks. The bulk of Jersey’s business comes from Britain’s financial district, the City of London, but Jersey is increasingly attracting comers from Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

In the third quarter, the latest for which Jersey Finance has statistics, the island reported 667 new companies incorporated, up from the prior period, bringing the grand total to 33,272. That’s roughly 740 companies and more than $40 billion of wealth sheltered per square mile on an island otherwise known for its pastoral landscapes, country estates and epic ocean views from each of its 12 parishes that make it a favorite honeymoon island for Brits.

Jersey also has cropped up in headlines for attracting well-heeled clients such as the mammoth Swiss trading firm Glencore Xstrata (of Marc Rich fame) and Brevan Howard Asset Management (one of Europe’s largest hedge funds). Both have hung shingles in Jersey in recent years, with a Jersey-based law firm handling Glencore’s $10 billion public float in London and Hong Kong.

For many who follow the financial industry, Jersey came into the spotlight when Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre stated that Jersey-based companies arranged the Abacus deal that made New York hedge fund manager John Paulson billions, and led to Goldman paying half a billion dollars in a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In a statement to Newsweek, Jersey’s financial regulator, the Jersey Financial Services Commission, stated the case has not yet been settled and interactions with the SEC are “confidential and cannot be disclosed to third parties.” It added, “Proceedings in relation to Mr. Fabrice Tourre are ongoing.”

Geoff Cook, chief executive officer of Jersey Finance, readily acknowledges that Jersey has been exploited by some in what many consider to be “abusive tax-avoidance” schemes, but he is quick to add that Jersey observes tax information exchange agreements with 33 jurisdictions and is in advanced negotiations to ink around a dozen more.

He also points out that Jersey has come down hard in cases of severe abuse, such as when an associate of former Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha deposited millions of misappropriated public funds on the island. In response, Jersey’s Royal Court ordered the repatriation of the funds and slapped the associate with a six-year prison sentence in February 2011. “Jersey has no desire to host abusive business,” he told Newsweek.

Jersey’s financial industry now looms so large, it dwarfs every other sector of the island’s economy, including its once-thriving agriculture and tourism industries. It generates the lion’s share of government revenue.

Continue here: http://www.newsweek.com/2014/01/17/inside-worlds-top-offshore-tax-shelter-245078.html

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thanks to intrigued for the link..

all roads lead to..jersey..

check it out..

401

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~ by seeker401 on May 2, 2017.

2 Responses to “INSIDE THE WORLD’S TOP OFFSHORE TAX SHELTER”

  1. Reblogged this on UZA – a people's courts court of conscience.

  2. The Shangrila of high finance and “non abusive ” tax dodging.

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