Cracking down on corruption: world leaders meet in London

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Cracking down on corruption: world leaders meet in London

Foreign companies will have to publicly declare assets they hold in the UK.

Prime Minister David Cameron has made the announcement on money-laundering as part of a wider effort to stamp-out corruption.

Why has Cameron said this now?

World leaders are gathering in London for what has been described as an anti-corruption conference.

They are discussing what action to take against the problem worldwide.

*What about the so-called “tax havens” in the UK?

The Channel island of Jersey is only 9 kilometres wide and 15 kilometres long.

However, it manages an estimated 1.6 trillion euros of international wealth.

The authorities are watching today’s events in London closely.

While the island has historically low tax, it is not a haven, according to officials like Jersey’s Assistant Chief Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf:

“Every individual that wants to open a bank account in Jersey, that information is going to be transferred automatically on an annual basis to their home tax authority, so there’s no hiding place. So it cannot be said that Jersey is a tax haven. This is a label which needs to be consigned to the history books.”

Jersey maintains a private register revealing the beneficiaries of each company.

However, it has refused calls from leading economists like Richard Murphy, to sign up to a public one.

He is one of hundreds of leading economists who are urging the UK government to persuade its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories like Jersey to sign up to one.

“A tax haven exists to create legislation for the benefit of people who aren’t there and provides a veil of secrecy to make sure those people can’t be identified to be doing so. That’s how we now define a tax haven. This is what Jersey is doing – a low tax rate for the benefit of people who are not really in that island to undermine the tax system of another country.”