Friday, 4 January 2013


Across the other side of the pond tax evasion remains an important issue, on this side of the pond you get the impression that the Conservative part of the Con Dem Westminster government just hopes it will quietly go away. As a direct result of the US government’s pursuit if tax evaders Switzerland's oldest bank is to close permanently after pleading guilty in a New York court to helping US citizens evade paying their taxes. The Swiss bank, Wegelin (established in 1741) will pay $57.8 million dollars (£36 million pounds or 44 million euros) in fines to US authorities.

Once the fine has been paid then Wegelin will cease to operate as a bank. The bank had accepted that it had allowed more than 100 American citizens to hide something close to $1.2 billion dollars from the Internal Revenue Service for nearly 10 years. Wegelin, based in the small Swiss town of St Gallen, was started 35 years prior to the US declaration of independence. It is the first foreign bank to plead guilty to tax evasion charges in the USA. In recent year other Swiss banks have taken steps to prevent US citizens from opening offshore accounts to avoid paying tax.

US President Obama was 100% right to suggest that the governments of the world should jointly tackle the issue of tax evasion and tax havens. The problem is that successive Westminster Governments are involved in tax evasion and indirectly support tax evaders, as a significant proportion of tax evasive activities revolve around the UK Crown Dependent territories. By tackling the tax havens, the tax avoidance and the questionable dealings of the derivative traders, hedge funds and the off balance sheet trading then we might go so way towards dealing with the consequences of the worldwide financial crash.

I am shocked to discover that there is tax evasion here?
However, I suspect that nice Mr Cameron and the other 18 millionaires in the cabinet will do nothing to close the tax loopholes – so much for all of us being in it together? Perhaps it's just that we are ordinary taxpaying citizens just expect too much from government.

As the UK Government continues to be heavily involved in aiding and abetting tax evasion worldwide via British Overseas territories (including the Cayman Islands) and will actively fight in Europe to prevent open and transparent accountability and regulation for the City of London but won't chase up tax evaders.

Expecting the Tories or the party formerly known as New Labour to seriously tackle tax evasion is perhaps a little naive as they are part of the problem. The Lib Dems might deliver on electoral reform or any of the three Westminster parities to have an honest debate about Party funding before tax evasion is dealt with. Westminster helps to hide some £ 1.6 trillion pounds from various nations’ tax authorities, and some of the city banks are hand in wallet with drug dealers, dictators and terrorists when it comes to money laundering. Hmmm...Over to you then George...

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