noimageThe ‘Panama Papers’ leaked over 11.5 million documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian Law Firm that has about forty offices across the globe. The documents show how the law firm has assisted many companies in hiding money so as to refrain from paying their taxes since the years 1970 to 2015. As a result of the leaked documents, approximately 214,000 offshore companies were listed as ‘tax haven’ businesses and among the long list are a number of Caribbean countries including Belize.


According to reports by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Lord Michael Ashcroft’s offshore company known as the Belize Corporate Services began using Mossack Fonseca in an effort to provide shell corporations for clients since the year 2006. The reports also indicate that the Belize Bank International (also under the BCS) established a new firm called MF and Company Limited with three of the Panama firm’s founders as the owners. The new firm allegedly worked along with BCS in establishing other companies and acting as registered agents here in Belize. This is an implication which Lord Michael Ashcroft, the billionaire Belizean investor, has denied. Ashcroft, through a spokesman, said the allegations are entirely false saying, and we quote These allegations are completely untrue, and the events as described never happened. The records upon which you claim to rely for those allegations either do not exist or have been falsified,”

 

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In response to the accusations being made by the ‘Panama Papers’, a release was issued by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) expressing their dissatisfaction as they believe that the Caribbean is being falsely labeled due to the fact that all CARICOM member states as well as associate members are devoted to, and are in full compliance with universal principles of a number of organizations including the International Monetary Fund/ World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP), the Global Forum of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Financial Action Task Force and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.


In the release CARICOM also stated that, and we quote “As more disclosures unfold with respect to the leak of these financial records, CARICOM urges caution by those making the leap towards moral indignation and the unjust labeling of the financial services centers in the Community, which have taken all necessary steps to ensure compliance with international regulations and standards. End quote.

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