Bermuda

Bermuda: UK involved in France ‘BlackList’ issue


By added on 24/09/2013

With the support of the Governor, the Ministry has secured the involvement of the UK Government which is engaging the French authorities at the diplomatic level, Finance Minister Bob Richards said on Friday [Sept 20] in the House of Assembly, reports Bernews.

Last month France added Bermuda to its “list of uncooperative tax havens”, joining Botswana, the British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Guatemala, Jersey, the Marshall Islands, Montserrat, Nauru, and Niue on the list.

It was announced via the international press, and Minister Richards said the Government was “concerned in the manner in which this matter was announced to the international media without any initial consultation with the UK and not going through the proper channels that exist between the UK and France.”

In a Reuters report about the matter, they noted that according to data compiled by the French government through to August 2011, Bermuda had responded to all French requests for information.

Answering a Parliamentary Question from Shadow Finance Minister David Burt over what actions are being taken over the ‘blacklist’, Minister Richards said the Ministry has secured the involvement of the UK Government who are engaging the French authorities, and also noted that Ministry of Finance officials have arranged meetings with their French counterparts to resolve France’s concerns.

The full response given by Minister Richards in the House of Assembly is below:

Ministry of Finance officials have contacted counterparts within the French Ministry of Finance to seek clarification regarding this action as we seek an early resolution to this matter.

The Government of Bermuda is surprised by reports that we are to be included in France’s list of offshore financial centers with which France has issues, particularly as Bermuda has an existing exchange of information agreement (TIEA) with France. We currently have 39 bilateral transparency agreements, which include 90 per cent of the G20 countries.

The Government is also concerned in the manner in which this matter was announced to the international media without any initial consultation with the UK and not going through the proper channels that exist between the UK and France.

With the support of His Excellency, the Governor, we have secured the involvement of the UK Government which is also engaging the French authorities at the diplomatic level as we seek answers on this matter.

I can advise that Ministry of Finance officials have arranged meetings with their French counterparts to take place in the very near future to resolve France concerns.

I will update this Honourable House and Bermuda via a press statement when there is additional news to report on this matter, which l anticipate to be before the next legislative House Session.