Archive for May, 2016

Cayman tax haven holds more Japanese money than ever

Monday, May 30th, 2016

According to the Bank of Japan Japanese investments in financial securities in the Cayman Islands have hit a record high.

Those investments stood at a total value of about USD 675 billion as of the end of 2015, which is up about 20% from a year ago, the Bank of Japan statistics on international balance of payments showed on May 24.

The above-mentioned amount was more than double the corresponding figure at the end of 2005, and the largest ever since 1996, when comparative data became available.

This figure is the amount of money invested by Japanese companies, institutional investors and wealthy people in stocks and bonds of companies established in the Cayman Islands or in investment funds set up there.

The Cayman Islands is one of Japan’s 2 most favored overseas places for investments in securities, second only to the USA.

The statistics released by the Bank of Japan showed that the 74.4 trillion yen figure (USD 675 billion) is larger than the corresponding figures invested in France and Britain.

It is worth mentioning that some wealthy people in Japan who tried to hide their assets by using Cayman-registered companies or companies set up in other offshore centres have been notified by Japanese tax authorities that they have failed to declare income. “Among wealthy people, there are some who conceal their assets by setting up many paper companies and do not declare their incomes appropriately to Japanese tax authorities,” said Go Kawada, a former official of the National Tax Agency, who is now serving as an advisor to Yamada & Partners Certified Public Tax Accountants Co.

BNP Paribas to close business in Cayman Islands

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

French bank BNP Paribas plans to close its remaining business in the Cayman Islands, in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations about tax havens.

Campaign group Attac (the Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and Aid to Citizens) cited the minutes of a May 3 meeting of the finance committee of the French bank’s central works council.

BNP did not provide comments on the report, but made an email statement to note that it had closed 2 subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and currently had 2 branches there.

According to its annual report, the remaining branches are linked to the Bank of the West, BNP Paribas’ retail bank in the United States, and the corporate and institutional banking division of BNP Paribas.

The report comes a day before BNP Paribas Deputy Chief Operating Officer Jacques d’Estais is due to appear at a French Senate hearing relating to the Panama Papers, a collection of leaked data from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca that put the spotlight on how the world’s rich use offshore tax regimes.

Earlier in May, the United Nations named the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands as British tax havens that had received some USD 72 billion of company funds in 2015.

Global Oil Price decrease brought down Merchandise Imports in 2015

Friday, May 20th, 2016

In 2015, the total value of goods imported into the Cayman Islands decreased by 6.3% to settle at CI$ 763 million, as compared with CI$ 814.4 million recorded in 2014.

Hon. Marco Archer, Minister for Finance and Economic Development, noted that this decline in the value of imports reveals the fall in oil prices in the international market. The total value of petroleum products imported fell by 39.2% to CI$ 99.7 million.

However, the Minister clarified that “local demand continued to strengthen as shown by a 7% increase in the volume of fuel imports from 49,544 imperial gallons in 2014 to 53,018 imperial gallons in 2015”. Also, non-petroleum products increased by 2% to register at CI$ 663.3 million. As to non-petroleum products, machinery and transport equipment imports grew by 16%, traced to higher values of motors and generators, construction and mining machinery, office machines and automatic data equipment.

Small Cayman Island holds USD 265 billion in treasuries

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

According to Bloomberg, a Caribbean financial centre favored by hedge funds is now the 3rd-biggest foreign owner of United States’ government debt.

More hedge funds are domiciled in the Cayman Islands than anywhere else in the world. According to data the US Treasury Department released on May 16, the Cayman Islands held $265 billion of Treasuries as of March, up 31% from a year earlier. It was the 1st time that the United States released details of bond holdings among OPEC and Caribbean countries, and it came in response to a Freedom-of-Information Act request submitted by Bloomberg News.

Bloomberg says that the stockpile makes this offshore tax haven the largest holder after China and Japan, which, being the world’s 2nd- and 3rd-biggest economies, each own more than USD 1 trillion of Treasuries.

About 60% of the world’s hedge-fund assets are domiciled in the Cayman Islands, according to a 2014 report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman & Co. The report also says that “a robust regulatory regime and no or low entity-level taxation allowed the Cayman Islands to build a long-lasting reputation as a global hedge funds hub”.

Cayman to join effort aimed to share company details

Friday, May 13th, 2016

The Cayman Islands has become the latest financial center vowing to join an initiative aimed at sharing details on company ownership in order to make it tougher for tax cheats and criminals to avoid detection.

According to the statement made by the Cayman Islands’ financial services ministry, it will join an effort with a view to develop a “global standard” for the sharing of beneficial ownership registers. So, it will be easier to identify people hidden behind shell companies.

Following a leak of documents from a Panama-based law firm, in April, the EU’s 5 biggest economies agreed to share company ownership information as well as urged others to do so. The “Panama Papers” leak has put tax evasion at the top of the international agenda.