OECD puts 46 countries, territories on tax list

17th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

The list included Switzerland and Singapore, as well as territories such as the Cayman Islands, Andorra and Montserrat.

Zurich -- The OECD has branded 46 countries and territories for "insufficient progress" in meeting standards on tax cooperation and banking secrecy, a Swiss newspaper reported Monday.

Swiss daily Tages Anzeiger reported that in a letter dated March 5 to British Chancellor Alistair Darling, OECD chief Angel Gurria had provided a list including Switzerland and Singapore, as well as territories such as the Cayman Islands, Andorra and Montserrat.

The list also included Costa Rica, Chile, Grenada, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Liberia, Panama, the Philippines, San Marino and Uruguay, as well as Gibraltar, Guernsey and Jersey and a host of Pacific and Caribbean islands.

France and Germany have been leading the charge to clamp down on tax havens, calling for an international "sanctions mechanism" to be imposed on territories that are on a list due to be prepared for a full G20 summit on April 2.

Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz said last week that the OECD list was drawn up at the request of the G20.

Amid the pressure, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Austria, Monaco, Belgium, Andorra and Liechtenstein -- all of which are on the March 5 list -- said late last week that they would relax their bank secrecy laws to provide more cooperation against tax cheats.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey also criticised the OECD for providing a blacklist, in remarks published Sunday.

"It is unacceptable that the OECD secretariat acts secretly on the orders of single member states. We have protested against this course of action. Such an error should not be repeated," she told newspaper NZZ am Sonntag.

AFP/Expatica

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