Panama Papers allegations not representative of the financial services industry: deVere Group

5 April 2016

Concerning claims of tax evasion on a grand scale outlined in the Panama Papers do not reflect the work of the wider international financial services industry, according to global advice firm, deVere Group.

deVere Group, chief executive Nigel Green, said that while, the allegations made in the documents were "very concerning", it did not imply that all investors with offshore investments have acted illegally.

Green said many of the documents in the Panama Papers dated back decades before transparency and disclosure was ushered in.

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He said an, "overwhelming majority of the offshore sector" only provide fully compliant and legal services for law-abiding clients, who are simply looking for more investment options, and better returns.

Green said, tax evasion is not only illegal and punishable by law, but it's a serious criminal global issue that needs to be tackled with vigour

The founder of the group said, the term ‘tax haven' was now out-dated, as global tax authorities exchange information, making it impossible to hide money.

"No longer can people stash assets on ‘treasure islands' and not expect to be caught", Green said.

Green said, the international financial services industry plays an important and positive role in the global economy and it's often overlooked by the media.

He said the press usually point fingers and question why people keep money offshore, or in "an account, in a jurisdiction different to the one in which the person currently lives".

Green said, in his experience of working with expatriates and international investors, who have transient lifestyles, that offshore accounts are simply preferred for convenience.

"They offer centralised, safe, flexible and international access to their funds no matter where they live and no matter to which country the individual moves to in the future",he said.

"Offshore financial centres allow... legal, bona fide international investment products to form part of a robust and sensitive financial planning strategy."

Green added that such centres help companies from getting taxed twice on the same income, "as they offer legitimate financial refuge for those in countries where there is economic and political turmoil, such as extremely volatile currency and confiscations of assets."

He concluded, as most financial centres are now well regulated, transparent and provide in-demand services for individuals and companies from all over the world, the Panama Papers underscored that more can still be done.

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What has he been smoking?

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