Bermuda’s Business Development Agency (BDA) has published a statement in response to recent reporting about offshore financial centres’ supporting tax evasion, after the publication of the so-called “Panama Papers”.
The leak last week of 11.5m private tax records from legal firm Mossack Fonseca in Panama has led to increasing speculation about major political and corporate figures and entities engaging in tax evation with the collusion of offshore tax shelters.
The BDA said media coverage of the leak “perpetuates the myth that all offshore financial centres are the same”, adding “Bermuda is different”.
The BDA statement stresses Bermuda’s “reputation built on transparency, compliance and cooperation” as differentiating hallmarks from other offshore hubs.
“Homogenising “offshore” and dumping all international financial centres into one bucket synonymous with immoral, illegal and nefarious activity is inaccurate and ill-informed,” said the BDA.
“The EU provided a strong endorsement of Bermuda’s robust, mature, and proficient regulatory environment by awarding equivalency with its own EU Solvency II regime. Bermuda is one of just two non-EU countries to be awarded that distinction,” said the statement.
The press release notes the US National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ designation of Bermuda as a qualified jurisdiction, and that Bermuda-domiciled re/insurers paid 9% of 9/11 claims, and paid out $35bn in US catastrophe claims over the past 12 years.
The statement also references that the island was also the first offshore financial hub to qualify for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ‘white list’ of jurisdictions that have implemented internationally agreed tax standards – as opposed to those blacklisted as tax havens.