Panama papers: Guernsey treasury minister Gavin St. Pier says Guernsey is not a tax haven but a "low tax jurisdiction"

 
James Nickerson
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Guernsey is a British crown dependency (Source: Visit Guernsey)

Calls for urgent action from the Prime Minister to crack down on tax havens has been one of the fall outs from a leak of more than 11m files from Panama-headquartered law firm Mossack Fonesca.

But Guernsey treasury minister Gavin St. Pier has said that Guernsey is not a tax haven, but instead a "low tax jurisdiction".

Speaking to BBC's Wake Up To Money, St. Pier said Guernsey has a small, lean and efficient government, which means it doesn't need a complicated tax code like the UK.

Read more: Four things you may have missed in the ICIJ's Panama Papers report

"We are a safe haven – we are not a secrecy jurisdiction," St Pier said. "Our record is exemplary."

He added that Guernsey plays a vital role in international capital markets for those with legitimate business and channels investment to the UK and the EU.

On a more political note, he said that because Guernsey is a crown dependency it has a longstanding constitutional arrangement with the UK compared with overseas territories such as the British Virgin Islands.

Read more: Indiscriminate attacks on offshore centres fail to recognise how essential they are

Nevertheless, Cameron has come under pressure to clamp down on tax havens.

However, last year Sir Eric Pickles said that the government could end up forcing the UK's tax havens to reveal the owners behind offshore companies.

Last year the crown dependencies and overseas territories had resisted pressure from the Prime Minister to adopt public registers.

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