Financial services expert on tax watchdogs: There won’t be any appeasement

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) are looking to put international financial centers like The Bahamas out of business and will never stop changing the rules of engagement, a financial services industry expert said yesterday, adding that he thinks the attacks on offshore centers are motivated by more than just taxes and money laundering concerns.

Founder and Chief Information Officer of Diomedea Capital Advisors Company Limited Kevin Burrows said during a webinar put on by the CFA Society of The Bahamas, that the OECD and EU are motivated by the complete shutdown of international financial centers.

“I don’t think there will be any appeasement,” said Burrows.

“I think with the latest blacklist, they were frank in

basically saying their ultimate ambition is to put us out of business.

“I say, let’s recognize that and see how we can pivot away from that. We know it’s more than just taxes and money laundering, these attacks we’ve seen on the offshore centers.”

The EU recently placed The Bahamas on another blacklist, suggesting that the country continues to be legislatively deficient in anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) and poses a threat to EU members.

Chief Financial Officer of Fidelity Bank & Trust International Limited Gowon Bowe, who also participated in the CFA webinar, contended that The Bahamas needs be stronger in its responses to the EU and OECD, while presenting evidence that this jurisdiction is not a threat.

“We have to be stronger in our information, our rebuttal and our response to these assaults,” said Bowe.

“We need to be in a situation where we can actually present that we are not a money laundering jurisdiction, because we can demonstrate the source of money coming from the actual OECD countries themselves, the actual level of transfers and movements.

“As opposed to looking for them to give us a reprieve, we should slap them with information and say, ‘This is your hypocrisy, this is your inequality,’ and, ultimately, that will lend us an opportunity to think about the persons who have the wealth wanting to change the system, or move out of the system they are being oppressed in.”

Bowe added that The Bahamas as a jurisdiction has to stop bad-mouthing itself and lean on its own strengths.

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