Britain's treasure islands make G8 tax test for Cameron

Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:55am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

* UK seeks tougher rules on beneficial ownership at G8

* Tax campaigners say UK needs to do more on tax havens

* British tax havens are world leaders, activists say

* Tax at G8 could test Cameron's leadership

By William James and Guy Faulconbridge

LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - Pitching tougher rules on tax evasion to the G8 is a precarious undertaking for Prime Minister David Cameron. Britain's own tax havens are world leaders.

Britain's list of exotic Overseas Territories reads like an accountant's dream menu for a cash-rich Russian oligarch with something to hide, while British lawyers lead the field as gatekeepers for elaborate global mazes of offshore trusts.

Global tax evasion could be costing more than $3 trillion a year according to researchers from Tax Justice Network while as much as $32 trillion - twice the size of U.S. gross domestic product - could be hidden by individuals in tax havens.

"British tax havens are world leaders in providing a particular type of secrecy," said John Christensen, an economist who directs the Tax Justice Network and who began investigating offshore havens in 1978.   Continued...