A book review by Ritchie

There is no excuse for this. I have written on this subject with my colleagues Ronen Palan and Christian Chavagneux, and we are not alone. For those uncomfortable with the term “tax haven”, as far back as 2009 I proposed an alternative definition of such states: “secrecy jurisdictions”. The latter term has become widely used in official discussions on this issue,….The first concern to note is that his book is not the first serious economic assessment of wealth hidden in tax havens. Oxfam published one in 2000, I was co-author of another in 2005,…..I have campaigned against tax haven abuse for more than a decade…..I do believe that the necessary data exist……One example he gives is the success of the global movement towards automatic information exchange on account balances held in tax havens to the tax authorities of their rightful beneficial owners. I well recall being told by UK Treasury officials in June 2009 that this process, which I was calling for, would not happen in my lifetime. Such exchange commences next year, and I have every intention of witnessing it……..Similarly, I well recall the outright opposition to the form of multinational corporation accounting known as country-by-country reporting that I created in 2003, and, again, being told that this would never happen…….Second, country-by-country reporting can form the foundation for the unitary method of taxation of multinational corporations that Zucman proposes. This is unsurprising, as I had designed country-by-country reporting with that intention in mind……..This point on country-by-country reporting is important. All taxation is dependent on being able to find where the asset to be taxed is located. Country-by-country reporting permits any tax authority to determine what proportion of the sales, employees and assets of a multinational corporation are located in its jurisdiction. Having done so, it can then, by apportioning global profits using a weighted formula based on these essential indicators of real economic presence in their country, estimate how much profit of that company is likely to have really arisen in, and so be taxable in, their jurisdiction…….that I welcome this book…….even if I wish he had got more of his definitions and history right and had been a little more courageous when it came to making his estimates. …….

Richard Murphy is professor of practice in international political economy, City University London, a UK chartered accountant and director of Tax Research LLP. He is author of The Joy of Tax (2015) and co-author, with Ronen Palan and Christian Chavagneux, of Tax Havens: The True Story of Globalisation (2010). In 2013, International Tax Review named him the seventh most influential person in international tax.

Sorry, whose book was being reviewed?

88 thoughts on “A book review by Ritchie”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    He is the Bette Midler of the tax debate: “But enough about me. What about you? What do you think of me?”

  2. Worstall, you know damn well that that review does not read like you imply.

    But still, as long as you think you’re the original thinker behind raising the level of income tax allowance, then your grasp on reality is clearly questionable.

  3. I learnt years ago to spot this personality type. It’s dead easy on the Net, because writing opinion in a forum where people can respond is exactly what brings it to the fore. Doesn’t even matter what their opinions are or whose side they’re on: AVOID. You might even think one of these people is on your side because they happen to agree with your opinions. But, sooner or later, they’re guaranteed to stab you in the back. So still: AVOID.

    I do understand why so many people can’t see it. I have at least two of them in my family, and it still took me a long time to properly figure out. It is much easier on the Net, though. That book review is a classic.

  4. “For those uncomfortable with the term “tax haven”, as far back as 2009 I proposed an alternative definition of such states: “secrecy jurisdictions”

    Is this true? Probably not.

    “unlaundering dirty money abroad: US foreign policy and foreign secrecy jurisdictions”

    http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/unmialr18&div=8&g_sent=1&collection=journals

    Ethan Nadelmann 1986…

    Financial Havens, Banking Secrecy and Money-Laundering

    “In some offshore financial centres and bank secrecy jurisdictions”

    https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/172/29937.html

    United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention 1998

    https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/172/29937.html

  5. Ritchie is an irretrievable narcissist and borderline psychopath.

    He cannot therefore be expected to have the brain wiring that gives credit to or acknowledges or empathises with others, or to take account of the beliefs and opinions of other people, particularly where these conflict with his own.

    It’s rather a pity for us all that physically, objectively he’s a two bagger, as if he had turned out to be an Adonis, none of this would be happening as he would spending all his time preening himself in front of the mirror.

  6. “Arnald

    Those other papers don’t define the term [secrecy jurisdiction]”

    Jeez, Arnald, what do you think those earlier papers meant when they used the term?

    Even the most dull of intellects might have been able to work out that what “secrecy jurisdiction” meant by looking at the two words.

    Secrecy

    and

    Jurisdiction

    If you needed Murphy to define what the term meant that says much about you.

    If Murphy wants to claim he invented the term that’s up to him.

    But for you to support his claim on the basis that no-one knew what was being talked about when ‘secrecy jurisdiction’ was mentioned until Murphy came along to shine light on a dark, deep, mysterious term is just laughable.

  7. AndrewC

    Read the fucking link. I’m not supporting any claim, merely pointing out a lack of definition.

    Talk to anyone in a “secrecy jurisdiction” and they will tell you with great passion that they don’t understand the term and how it may apply to where they live.

  8. Arnald

    The point is that Murphy claims to have proposed the term. The clear implication is that he created it. The TJN piece may not, but he has in this book review.

    Secondly, the definition is old. The US Senate committee on Government affairs, crime and secrecy. 98th Congress published a report listing secrecy jurisdictions (and to have a list one must have a definition) in 1983. See note 60 of this

    http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/iclr/vol21/iss2/5/

    Murphy is guilty of gross exaggeration at the very least here. (And given his penchant for untruths, I think we can go further in reality). It’s a lot like Al Gore inventing the internet.

  9. Arnald,

    Tim’s quote is full of ellipses, so we can reasonably expect it to look really bad because obviously he’s highlighting the more egregious bits and might be making Murphy look worse than he is for a laugh. When we read the original, we get to see that, in context, unredacted, the writer really is that narcissistic.

    —————————————-

    First two paragraphs: OK. They’re preamble.

    Paragraph 3: The first problem with this book is that it doesn’t copy my work. Here’s a link to my Website. Here’s some explanation of my work.

    Paragraphs 4 & 5: The next problem with this book is that it doesn’t copy my work. Here’s some explanation of my Work.

    Paragraph 6: Another problem with this book is that the author disagrees with me about something else. However, it turns out the book’s actually rather good because the author campaigns on my side of my pet cause.

    Paragraph 7: Another good thing about this book is that the author makes a suggestion I approve of.

    Paragraph 8: Yet another good thing about this book is that the author agrees with me about another thing. He even gives an example that enables me to talk about how right I am.

    Paragraph 9: Which reminds me of some other stuff I am right about.

    Paragraph 10: I’m talking about how right I am because one of the things the author is right about can work thanks to me and my ideas.

    Paragraph 11: Here’s some explanation of my beliefs.

    Paragraph 12: I agree with the author where he agrees with me.

    Paragraph 13: Academics are wrong when they don’t copy me. But this academic is copying me, so he is better than other academics. However, he didn’t copy me enough, so he really needs to rewrite his book with more of my ideas in it.

  10. Arnald

    Using swear words doesn’t make you any bigger or tougher.

    Ken pointed out that Murphy’s oft repeated claim to have invented the term ‘secrecy jurisdiction’ wasn’t supported as the term had been used before.

    You leapt in to say the term hadn’t been defined before.

    You’re a slavish supporter of Murphy.

    What other conclusion could be expected other then you were supporting Murphy?

    “Talk to anyone in a “secrecy jurisdiction” and they will tell you with great passion that they don’t understand the term…”

    So what? The people using that term long before Murphy used it understood what they meant and so would have the people reading it.

    Besides, how can they still be ignorant of the term now that the mighty Murphy has spoken?

  11. S2

    Isn’t it entirely valid to review a book from one’s own perspective and field of knowledge? He’s allowed to agree or disagree. He’s allowed to have an opinion. He points out where he thinks omissions are made. He’s allowed to recollect in context. Any non-fiction book review will contain part or all of those devices.

    The only bit I found unnecessarily “narcissistic” are the “I invented” statements.

    He has been campaigning for a decade or so on subjects the book describes and so he uses that experience to criticise.

    The major factor with any of your opinions here is that you simply don’t like him. If you wrote a book review, say, on the Tax Havens book he co-authored, would you not have to prove your credentials in order to come from a suitably educated position?

    He does blow his trumpet very loudly, but then why not? You don’t force yourself into positions of influence by sniping from the sidelines.

  12. AndrewC

    “Using swear words doesn’t make you any bigger or tougher”

    Tell Worstall and everyone else here the same thing and maybe they’ll al become as pious as you.

    “You’re a slavish supporter of Murphy”

    Not slavish, no, but when it comes to the tax haven business he is absolutely correct.

  13. Arnald,

    What, do you think I’ve never read a book review before? I don’t know how they go? I am familiar with the form. And no, they’re not all like that.

    But hey, if you’re right, it should take you about a minute to find another just like it, probably in the same section of the THE site. Go on.

    > Isn’t it entirely valid to review a book from one’s own perspective and field of knowledge? He’s allowed to agree or disagree.

    Murphy at no point makes the distinction you just made by putting those two ideas into separate sentences. He has no perspective other than whether Zucman agrees or disagrees with him. He fails to exhibit any understanding that any other perspective could exist. As usual.

    Read the review again. Now tell me whether Zucman presents his ideas clearly. What’s his prose like? Does the fact that English is not his first language make the book difficult to read? Does he back up his ideas with good evidence? Are there flaws in his logic? How good is his research? After reading a good review, we’re supposed to at least have an idea about these things.

  14. Arnald

    November 5, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    AndrewC

    “Using swear words doesn’t make you any bigger or tougher”

    Tell Worstall and everyone else here the same thing and maybe they’ll al become as pious as you.”

    When teacher told you off in school did you say that it “wasn’t fair” because other boys were doing it as well?

    Pretty wet.

  15. “Arnald

    when it comes to the tax haven business [Murphy] is absolutely correct.”

    Tax havens? I thought they were secrecy jurisdictions?

    Make your mind up.

  16. Army of Shite

    When you are in a hole, best stop digging….

    Squander 2 nails it totally – as for this sentence from your last reply, which is as always somewhat difficult to follow….

    ‘If you wrote a book review, say, on the Tax Havens book he co-authored, would you not have to prove your credentials in order to come from a suitably educated position?’

    It has been proven on numerous occasions by Tim, Andrew Jackson, Frances Coppola and others that Murphy’s knowledge in this area is in fact, despite his own high opinion of it, extremely limited, as it is in almost every other field upon which he cares to pontificate.

    His ludicrous definition of ‘secrecy jurisdictions’ (Admittedly TJN and he have parted company since he helped generate it) is of no assistance to anyone barring those NGOs and others who hope to procure government funding and political power for policy critiques of and legislative assaults on sovereign states. If Murphy is ‘suitably educated’ to pontificate on these matters I think anyone is.

  17. Arnald

    I am of the view that Murphy has nothing useful to say about tax havens. His bizarre beliefs about economics and finance mean that his understanding is less than zero – he keeps banging on about money that disappears into tax havens as if it were not recycled and invested. If you mean that Murphy says tax havens are bad, that is a viewpoint that I find myself in agreement with – but that doesnt really suggest expertise on the part of Murphy.

    His book review is a “me, me, me” piece that very much follows the pattern alluded to by S2, and does not follow a standard book review pattern.

  18. Van_Twat

    “It has been proven on numerous occasions by Tim, Andrew Jackson, Frances Coppola and others that Murphy’s knowledge in this area is in fact”

    Not on the machinations of secrecy jurisdictions they haven’t.

    “His ludicrous definition of ‘secrecy jurisdictions”

    What’s ludicrous about it?

    “assaults on sovereign states.”

    Most secrecy jurisdiction are British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies. Other counties have their own satellite jurisdictions. So you are wrong.

    “If Murphy is ‘suitably educated’ to pontificate on these matters I think anyone is”

    Except you it would seem. You obviously don’t have the faintest clue.

  19. ken

    Have you read Tax Havens…

    Hardly a book from a “less than zero”. Unless you care to elucidate.

    “as if it were not recycled and invested”

    But how and who do those companies belong to? Nobody knows for the main part and that’s the point. Tax fiddlers and criminals? There’s a high probability that a lot of that money is washed through a series of linked companies.

  20. S2

    I’ve done worse manglings of Patty’s handle.

    “It’s that you’re so bad at it”

    Because you know everything!

  21. Arnald

    I have just skimmed the Kindle preview. A basic intro piece with some polemical bits on tax havens. Nothing in it that surprises or shows any great depth of knowledge.

    It’s also not clear to me that Murphy is an equal co-author of this book. It isnt anything special, but it is far above his usual output – and if page 50 “half the global stock of money goes through tax havens” is anything to go by, Murphy doesnt seem to have to have understood the book he supposedly co-authored.

    Murphy regularly claims that money goes into tax havens and is lost to the world as a result – and no he isnt claiming that we dont know who owns it, he just seems to think it disappears. His two co-authors are academics and have doctorates and any credibility that accrues from the book is more likely theirs.

    I see that one of his co-authors is also at City University.

  22. “Most secrecy jurisdiction are British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies. Other counties have their own satellite jurisdictions. So you are wrong.”

    Indeed, and that’s another thing invented by Prof Murphy: Colonialism. (And, given what goes on in Delaware, it’s time to review American Independence).

  23. Murph seems particularly desperate for attention these days, as evinced by his recent post with the title “50 shades of tax evasion”. Given his outrage over Cameron’s joke, it seems an odd thing to do unless he thinks he is being ignored.

  24. @Arnald

    “So where do those trillions go? Re-invested, recycled? Bollocks.”

    So what do you think happens to the money? Hidden in a giant biscuit tin and buried on a beech?

    You don’t get super-rich by doing that with your money.

    Even the report you link to refers to banks managing investments and talks of a return on the money.

    You really ought to stick to what you’re good at. Just as soon as you find out what that is.

  25. Arnald

    You ‘ll have to be more specific. Yes, lots of money flows into OFCs.

    The money doesnt end up in a vault, hidden away like a dragon’s hoard. Without reinvestment it could pay no interest – indeed it would have difficulty paying operating costs. Money in an offshore centre is redeposited with other banks or is used to buy assets elsewhere. Indeed much of the tax haven/OFC/secrecy jurisdiction money flows represent FDI using a tax efficient vehicle.

    Is some of this dodgy? Undoubtedly. But it doesnt disappear.

    Murphy is economically and financially illiterate and is barely capable of talking about basic accounting, let alone tax and certainly has no business talking about policy.

  26. S2 @ 1.09pm

    Hilariously accurate: that made my day.

    The Murphatollah will be fuming about your comment, too.

  27. The Murphatollah will be fuming about your comment, too.

    Due credit to Arnald here?

    Without his tireless input and encouragement, S2 may not have bothered…

  28. Arnald>

    “Isn’t it entirely valid to review a book from one’s own perspective and field of knowledge?”

    Fair enough, so you’re agreeing that Ritchie’s a pig-ignorant neo-Nazi liar, as expressed in that review? I thought you’d never be that honest with yourself about the complete scum you’re supporting.

  29. Andrew>

    “So what do you think happens to the money? Hidden in a giant biscuit tin and buried on a beech? You don’t get super-rich by doing that with your money.”

    Obviously not. One gets super-rich doing it with other people’s money.

  30. Arnald
    Secrecy jurisdfiction was invented to prevent the Nazis stealing that part of the wealth of Jews that they had imprisoned for being Jews that was stored for safety outside Germany.
    That is a historical fact.
    Swiss residents pay income tax. Switzerland is not a tax haven – unlike Bermuda which has transformed itself from a third world country to a first world country since it switched from taxing income to taxing consumption. Bermuda is not a secrecy jurisdiction. (Switzerland still is, with the exception of data supplied to tax authorities in a small number of countries).
    I have to say, based on the vast majority of my conversations with Murphy, who did not believe in the cash basis option for income tax when I told him about it, that he is pig-ignorant.

  31. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Isn’t it entirely valid to review a book from one’s own perspective and field of knowledge?”

    When I read a book review I want to know what the books about and some of the detail that is likely to attract me to buying it. I don’t mind the reviewer passing comment where it is their area of expertise, especially egregious errors. The Economist sets the gold standard in that respect and I’ve bought and enjoyed a few books they’ve reviewed. The latest

    What I don’t expect is the reviewer to sell me their own book or views of the world.

    That review is terrible and self serving and I learned nothing about the quality of the book. Obviously the THE editors don’t care, but its hardly likely to be a place where people start looking for ideas on what to read if that is the standard of the reviews that pass their, very low, bar.

  32. “Swiss residents pay income tax. Switzerland is not a tax haven”

    A fact to which my tax return will attest.

    In fact, an unmarried person on average earnings in certain cantons will pay a greater proportion of their income in tax than a person on average earnings in the UK.

    And as far as the lower-tax cantons are concerned, what you don’t pay in tax you pay in rent instead. On which the landlord is then taxed.

  33. Not just secret jurisdiction he’s also still claiming country by country reporting and that he worked out all the details.
    I’ve had the occasional online exchange with him on this and he’s woefully optimistic and totally delusional about what it really means. Funnily enough pointing out that Starbucks does UK and other country reporting so shouldn’t he be praising them doesn’t get much of a response.

  34. @BniC
    I *did* point out to him that when he was a pactising accountant, UK GAAP required segmental reporting for every country that was significant (i.e. you didn’t have to analyse the share of overheads applicable to selling one item via an agent in countries which didn’t allow you to just post it – you could group trivial amounts but had to state turnover and profits/losses if “either” was significant. I can’t remember his exact reply but it was precictably surly.

  35. I see that “public intellectual” is acquiring a toe-hold in what we might loosely call Murphy’s thinking.

    He does make rather spurious claims about his originality and coinings but if we’re being fair to the man (and if not fair here, then where?) we can unreservedly attribute to him the genre of the book review as autobiography.

  36. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Arnald, I know a bloke who does commercial drilling. Would you like a hand with that hole you’re in? With a bit of effort I reckon you could hit bedrock.

  37. Arny Old Iron

    You stool pigeon of legend:

    ‘not on the machinations of secrecy jurisdictions he hasn’t’

    Bollocks – your contention is he has never invoked his comments policy, blocked a comment or called hostile commentators a ‘troll’ on a post discussing ‘secrecy jurisdictions’? Even you can’t be that dim, surely?

    ‘What’s ludicrous about it?’

    For the two dozenth time you blowhard – a list discussing such jurisdictions that includes Norway, Japan and Denmark is so broad as to be a waste of time – under that big a definition is anyone not in scope?

    ‘So you are wrong’ – the list is over 100 countries so either your definition of ‘secrecy jurisdiction’ is bollocks or you are do focusing on dependencies – decide which, or again admit you want a global tax rate determined by evil bastards like yourself and Murphy

    ‘Except you it would seem, you obviously don’t have the faintest idea’

    Physician, heal thyself – fair play to you, though, the combination of sheer ignorance,abuse and chutzpah is worthy of Murphy himself!

  38. In passing, I was amused the other day to learn that the French for tax haven is “fiscal paradise” (un paradis fiscal).

    I rather like that.

  39. John77

    I’m not – check out the TJN list of secrecy jurisdictions – and Lawrence of Beria claims that the authors of such a list are ‘expert’ – it would be laughable were these people not deadly serious…

  40. I am reading a history of the French Revolution, and the author’s descriptions Francois-Noel Babeuf struck a note:

    A compulsive, tedious writer, he was also resilient, indefatigable and persistent. The more often he was derided the more sure he was that his theories constituted the answer to the problems of mankind.

  41. Despite Steve’s excellent contribution to the matter actually under discussion, I think M-B’s unique insight deserves to win the thread.

  42. @john77
    I’ve tried talking to him in terms of “as a practicing accountant” I didn’t find it to be very productive, interestingly he also claims to be an expert at anything related to accounting. When I suggested that a career as a tax advisor, sole proprietor/partnership accounts didn’t make you an expert on management accounting and vice versa I was assured that he was indeed an expert at everything.

  43. ken

    “I see that one of his co-authors is also at City University.”

    Perhaps this goes a little way towards explaining how a man becomes a professor without any credentials in the subject he is supposed to be teaching and /AND researching.

  44. Encouraged by Surreptitious Evil, I’ve joined Squander 2 and AndrewK in the comments under Murphy’s revue (sic).

    It’s not really onerous to register on THE and it’s imperative for anyone rebuffed chez Murph to pile in and enjoy the fun.

  45. @ Van P
    Sorry: but you described the list as “broad” rather than “nonsensical” so I thought you might be taking the mickey out of Arnald.

  46. 77

    Rob should know this since he’s reading (out loud) about the French revolution.

    “Secrecy jurisdfiction was invented to prevent the Nazis stealing that part of the wealth of Jews that they had imprisoned for being Jews that was stored for safety outside Germany.
    That is a historical fact.”

    Simply untrue. You and others are idiots. You can’t even interpret the TJN report correctly. Pathetic

    Rob should know this as he’s reading about the French Revolution:

    http://www.livemint.com/Politics/novevubtiXoiKubIr0U6SM/The-secret-history-of-Swiss-bank-accounts.html

    Late [in the 18th century], some of Switzerland’s oldest banks — Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch & Cie. (1796) and Pictet Cie (1805) were founded and according to this report, became “a financial refuge for fugitives from unrest…to safeguard the riches of aristocrats fleeing the French Revolution.”

    And further back:

    http://thetally.efinancialnews.com/2015/02/switzerland-short-history-banking-secrecy/

    The 1713 Great Council of Geneva formally adopted banking regulations that enshrined client confidentiality in civil law, a lure to wealthy individuals, aristocrats and royalty to base their cash in Swiss banking vaults

    The 1934 act simply made it a criminal offence, rather than civil, for Swiss bankers to reveal beneficiaries.

    If you can’t get your basic facts right, the rest of your nonsense is jibberish.

    I don’t understand what’s so bad about self-promotion. I agree that the “I invented CbC” is irrelevant, but so is quality of prose and insights into the author’s situations. The book is not fiction and there’s no need to describe nuance.

    I maintain that if the same thing had been written by someone else then you wouldn’t go so far as to write a review about a book review.

    That’s merely a front for not knowing what you’re talking about.

  47. Oh Joy! Murphy has blogged a link to his THE article this morning. Nik Bukharin’s endorsement that it’s well worth a look is awaiting moderation, so hurry over Arnie and tell him.

    Incidentally, try posting “If you can’t get your basic facts right, the rest of your nonsense is jibberish” on Murphy’s site and imagine your beautiful thought being strangled in the cradle.

  48. Arnald
    The 1934 Act was what made it a secrecy jurisdiction.
    In England we expect banks to keep our confidential information confidential – and some employees are suing Morisons over a leak of their bank details – so we are at the stage Switzerland was in 1930.
    If *you* can’t get *your* basic facts right …
    But you often write gibberish

  49. 77

    You are wrong. You couldn’t be bothered to read the links, even Wiki gets it right.

    Statutes[edit]

    In 1934, the Swiss Federal Assembly passed the Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks (colloquially known as the Banking Law of 1934), which mainly concerned administrative matters such as bank supervision. A still widely accepted canard is that the secrecy provisions of the 1934 bill were motivated by attempts by Nazi Germany to investigate the assets of Jews and “enemies of the state” held in Switzerland.[28] This is not, however, the case.[29] Firstly, Swiss banking secrecy was not introduced in 1934, but rather reinforced; secondly, Swiss ruling circles performed the 1934 reinforcement without humanitarian motives in mind.[30]

    I’m not sure why you’re bothering to argue this.

  50. Arnald
    John77

    I think you are now talking at cross purposes. I think John77 is trying to define the legal point at which one might consider Switzerland to be a secrecy jurisdiction. Arnald is attacking the 1934 argument for secrecy as a response to Jews fleeing the Nazis.

    In general secrecy in banking (and in finance generally) is a far older concept, which is the point being made by Arnald. When this morphs into modern day bank secrecy is an interesting historical point, It is contextual as it would require international fund flows to be sufficiently large and questionable. Certainly the Swiss act of 1934 might be considered a significant milestone.

    “in the volatile climate of pre-World War II Europe, after Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party established a dictatorship in Germany. Bank secrecy provisions found in Article 47(b) were added before passage of the bill due to Nazi authorities’ attempts to investigate the assets of Jews and “enemies of the state” held in Switzerland.[4][5] Secrecy laws allowed Jews and others to escape from Nazi Germany without losing everything. Having moved assets to Switzerland, Swiss authorities were not allowed to answer German questions about who had what where”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Act_on_Banks_and_Savings_Banks#cite_note-4

    http://www.jstor.org/stable/757529?seq=3#page_scan_tab_contents

  51. Minutiae aside, isn’t it clear that a tax haven is not necessarily a secrecy jurisdiction and vice versa? Describing them as synonyms is either wrong, ignorant, or deliberately misleading. With Murph it’s probably all three.

  52. @Diogenes

    Murph can’t even keep up with his own definitions of tax havens/secrecy jurisdictions. He claims credit for the TJN definitions yet a whole host of countries are included on the TJN list but not on the list of tax havens as used by the Fair Tax Mark, which Murph also claims credit for.

    So when is a tax haven not a tax haven? When it might make it harder for Murphy to flog Fair Tax Marks.

  53. ken

    I’m attacking john77’s “fact” that it was only the 1934 Act that created Switzerland as a ‘secrecy jurisdiction’. It’s clear in history that folk were hiding their cash from the authorities hundreds of years ago, made possible by the laws in Switzerland.

    john77’s assertion is merely 47(b) of the act that codified the secrecy. It is not minutae. He is simply wrong to say:

    “Secrecy jurisdfiction was invented to prevent the Nazis stealing that part of the wealth of Jews that they had imprisoned for being Jews that was stored for safety outside Germany.
    That is a historical fact.”

    Oh and Bermuda is a secrecy jurisdiction. HMRC would not be able to find out who the beneficial owners are of the myriad of financial chicanery.

    Even Guernsey with its TIEAs doesn’t have to release information unless the authorities already know who, where, why and how much, meaning they already have the information they’re asking for. Jersey is even worse.

  54. @Arnald “Oh and Bermuda is a secrecy jurisdiction. HMRC would not be able to find out who the beneficial owners are of the myriad of financial chicanery.”

    Arnald, you should scurry along as fast as you legs will carry you and tell this to HMRC. They seem under the impression that a TIEA was signed with Bermuda in 2007 which became effective in 2008.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tax-information-exchange-agreement-bermuda-exchange-of-information

  55. AndrewC

    Yep, error, should have merged those last two paragraphs. The intention was to rubbish the ‘transparency’ of TIEAs, much vaunted in secrecy jurisdictions.

  56. Sorry, is Arnald now saying that Murphy really definitely did define secrecy jurisdictions in 1934 or that they’d been defined for ages before that but Murphy did still define them?

  57. “Arnald

    AndrewC

    Yep, error, should have merged those last two paragraphs. The intention was to rubbish the ‘transparency’ of TIEAs, much vaunted in secrecy jurisdictions.”

    Just to clarify, then Arnald, you have personal experience of how HMRC get on when they make enquiries of the Bermudan authorities? So you know how rubbish the TIEAs are?

    If you have, shouldn’t you be blowing whistles? Or are you just assuming they are rubbish because HMRC don’t write to you personally to tell you how they’re getting on?

  58. @ Arnald
    A safe haven and secrecy are NOT the same thing except in Murphy’s fevered imagination. A safe haven is where your wealth will not be stolen such as a bank vault or, for the poor, a pawnbrokers safe. Secrecy is hiding it *in* (not under) the mattress.
    If you cannot understand the difference …
    No, I no longer bother to look at your links because they are about as trustworthy as Murphy’s. As is demonstrated by ken’s refutation of your claim before I even read it.
    By the way, Bermuda has one of the best financial regulators in the world. I don’t with which banana republic you are confusing it but Bermuda doesn’t grow bananas.

  59. From the comments on Ritchie’s blog – a little fist typing in evidence

    Theophrastus says:
    November 6 2015 at 5:04 pm
    I am afraid the review was more about you, Richard, than Zucman’s book.

    Richard Murphy says:
    November 6 2015 at 9:19 pm
    THE were happy with it

    They could have said they weren’t

    I did, in fact, follow their guidelines

  60. OK, I got that one wrong – Bermuda imports bananas, so it isn’t a banana republic. [Neither of the Bermudan sites I looked at to check mention bananas in their list of locally-grown fruit and vegetables.so I jumped to a conclusion.]
    The facvt remains that Bermuda is not a banana republic and it has an active and well-respected financial regulator whose regime has been accepted as being “equivalent” to Solvency II before the final version of Solvency II has even been defined, let alone implemented.
    Your accusation of financial chicanery demonstrates both your ignorance and your malice.

  61. john77

    Bermuda chicanery, and its major business explained by HMRC, captive insurance; a growing industry that facilitates sharp practice, according to the IRS.

    “Your accusation of financial chicanery demonstrates both your ignorance and your malice”

    No sir, the ignorance is all yours. Stop pretending ther’s nothing to see. Educate yourself.

  62. Arnald, you offensive person, you are wrong as well as offensive. Your first reference starts off “to LEGALLY reduce …” BECAUSE Bermuda has zero corporation tax – that’s NOT chicanery – that’s competition. The falsity of the claim has been demonstrated by serious students of tax and insurance – in fact far more US insurance (and other) companies use tax havens within continental USA than use Bermuda. There are six or seven states each of which has more captives than Bermuda.
    Insurance companies in Bermuda make more profit than those in the USA because they are better run. Any dividends paid to US shareholders will be paid out of taxed income of the US parent.
    There is no chicanery involved in Bermuda’s supervision of captive insurers. These are companies owned by large corporations which resent having to pay insurance premiums averaging twice the cost of claims on day-to-day claims (because insurance brokers can pocket 30% of the premium before it gets to the insurer). They have to meet the same regulatory standards as any other insurer.
    Your third reference has no connection with Bermuda and quite a lot to do with Delaware. Try reading it. It complains about some captives electing to be taxed on investment income – that is *obviously* not Bermuda which has a zero tax rate. It says they file accounts with the IRS – that only applied to US companies not Bermuda ones. If you did read it – try thinking.
    There’s lots to see in Bermuda – a world-class reinsurance industry and a formerly impoverished island that has become rich by an enlightened taxation, immigration and employment strategy.

  63. Look, john77.

    You’re obviously unable to read or understand anything I’ve said.

    I’ve no doubt Bermuda’s a nice place, you sound like you’ve got ties to the place, that’s great. Like Guernsey, it has an excellent reputation for the way it’s handled the whole tax haven thing.

    Captive insurance, as the IRS notes, can be used for all manner of tax avoidance and, indeed, evasion. I used the IRS link because it explains this. Saying that other jurisdictions are worse than your particular pet is no defence. Yes, states like Delaware are upteen times shadier than Bermuda.

    What you’re omitting is the role that these OFCs play in the globalised system, or maybe you’re not omitting, maybe you just don’t know.

    Also saying something is legal doesn’t make it something to be proud of. Campaigns are generally about changing laws. You may or may not approve of tax fiddling companies, that’s your prerogative, but denying evidence that there are harmful tax avoidance schemes being run out of jurisdictions whose laws obfuscate the legitimate enquiries of any other jurisdiction is clearly wilful ignorance.

    And as for being offensive…

  64. @ Arnald
    THINK!
    I am not defending Cayman Islands etc
    I am pointing out that Bermuda has a GOOD financial services regulator. Murphy loathes Bermuda because it proves he is wrong – tough!
    I have no ties to Bermuda, I have never been there, never shall: I follow Lloyd’s of London and I can recognise Bermuda is doing a good job, the insurance equivalent of the All Blacks. Some of us are honest – maybe you fail to understand that: you deserve some pity.
    You are saying that the Cayman Islands/BVI/Russian oligarchs dumping cash in Cyprus proves Bermuda is corrupt. Utter and complete tripe. Are you saying that Stuart Broad has to be an opening batsman because his father was? That would be far, far more sensible.
    You produced an IRS post denouncing aggressive tax avoidance in the USA – it has NO relevance to Bermuda. I don’t have any pet and haven’t had one for over forty years.
    Murphy believes that he has sovereignty over the globe, other people restrict that concept to their own choice of deity (in some cases the USA’s IRS). I have yet to hear of Bermuda blocking a legitimate enquiry from HMRC.
    Now, listen (or to be pendantic, read). Captive insurance companies *can* be used to “shelter” profits from tax – UNTIL you want to pay some dividends from those profits. So all the imaginary advantages to the plutocrat owners of the companies disappear like smoke as soon as they want to put a pudgy finger on the profits. Meanwhile they have been incurring expenses in having separate companies in different jurisdictions (and Bermudan salaries are higher and Bermudan regulations stricter than Wisconsin or Missouri or … any state in the USA except New York).
    You are welcome to scream about how Guernsey regulations are weaker than Jersey’s, but don’t go around slandering innocent people.
    FYI I cannot sing but I can read – unfortunately for you I can also think and do arithmetic.

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