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An investigation into banks who use tax havens

02 March, 2009

Now that taxpayers are footing the bill, a spokesman for the Treasury has apparently called for an independent review into tax haven use of British banks and wants ministers to disclose the cost of banks operating offshore.

Many of Britain’s major banks have widespread operations in tax havens. It has been said that Lloyds alone have more than120 offshore companies and that the Royal Bank of Scotland operate in Jersey and the Cayman Islands.

As quoted by the Guardian, Gordon Brown, at his monthly press conference in Downing Street, said that he wanted the whole world to take action, and that would mean action against regulatory and tax havens in parts of the world which have escaped the regulatory attention they need. The changes made would have to apply to all jurisdictions around the world.

US president Barack Obama singled out the Cayman Islands during the US presidential election campaign, but it is understood that Gordon Brown will meet with the Italian prime minister just before the mini-summit in Berlin on Sunday.

The HMRC have estimated that the offshore tax havens could extend to anything between £3.7bn and £13bn and if a world wide crackdown were to take place many of Britain’s largest companies would be highlighted. It is illegal to avoid paying tax and it is only fair that everyone comes clean, and while most countries will not want to damage the economic competitiveness of major companies, it is believed that billions of pounds will be sourced by tightening the regulations of markets.

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