23 June 2017   Leave a comment

The Financial Times ran an article on the use of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) as a tax haven.  The FT has a strict paywall so unless you are using a computer at an institution that has a subscription the link will not get you to the article.  But the article estimates that the BVI registers about $1.5 trillion of corporate and personal wealth:

“Offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands have assets of more than $1.5tn, more than twice the sum estimated in 2010.

“Two-thirds of the offshore companies registered in the BVI are used for “corporate structuring”, and more than 140 listed businesses in London, New York and Hong Kong have a unit in the BVI, according to research carried out on behalf of the BVI government.”

The money is probably not physically present in the BVI but governments which wish to tax that wealth has no idea who owns it.  The BVI claims not to be a “tax haven”.  According to Lorna Smith, interim executive director of BVI Finance: “The BVI has never been a secrecy jurisdiction. We adhere to privacy for clients.”  If one can tell me the difference between secrecy and privacy, let me know.  Just for information, the BVI is about 58 square miles and has a population of about 30,000 people.


Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Egypt have issued a list of 13 demands to Qatar before they will lift the blockade on the small country.  The demands are extensive, including a demand that Qatar reduce its diplomatic representation with Iran, a demand that ignores the fact that Iran and Qatar share one of the world’s largest natural gas fields.  The states are also demanding that Qatar shut down its media outlet, al Jazeera.  The Washington Post has a good article on why Saudi Arabia hates al Jazeera so much.  Qatar was given 10 days to comply, but it is extremely doubtful that Qatar will accede to all the demands.  Kuwait is trying to mediate the crisis, but these extreme demands suggest that there might be little willingness to make any concessions.

Posted June 23, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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