Bermuda no place to hide money, says Premier
The Premier pledged yesterday to “aggressively” defend Bermuda's reputation after the release of millions of files that painted the island as a tax haven.
David Burt said: “Bermuda is not a place to hide money.
“In fact, you cannot hide money or avoid tax in Bermuda, as tax authorities receive that information in their home countries automatically.”
Mr Burt added the island had nothing to hide.
He said: “My message today is simple — Bermuda is an open, transparent jurisdiction. We have a vigorous regulatory framework.”
The Premier said he had conducted a series of interviews with international media following the release of files from Bermudian-founded law firm Appleby as part of the Paradise Papers leak reported on Monday.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and almost 100 media organisations around the world examined 13.4 million files from offshore law firms and company registries in offshore jurisdictions.
The files include financial statements, e-mails and loan arrangements going back decades.
Around half of the documents came from a cyberattack on Appleby.
Mr Burt said he would conduct as many interviews as were needed “to continue to set the record straight”.
He added: “We will hold meetings with officials in the UK and Europe to ensure our message is delivered clearly and openly.”
Mr Burt insisted Bermuda was a “recognised leader” in international tax compliance, with 114 treaty partners who get information “by request and automatically for tax purposes”.
He added: “Whenever we receive evidence of wrongdoing, we have the means and the teeth to force compliance based upon our legislation, coupled with strong law enforcement and regulatory co-operation.
“In the past, we have taken decisive action against individuals or corporations who are non-compliant and we will continue to do so.”
Mr Burt said the island was committed to transparency, co-operation and compliance.
He added: “We will not tolerate any who fall below our global-leading standards.”
• To read the Premier's comments in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”