A Response From The Government Of The Virgin Islands To Articles Published By The Observer And Guardian Media Group

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Thursday, May 15, 2014 —
On Sunday 11 May 2014, the Observer newspaper published two articles referencing the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in the context of Indonesian businesses implicated in corporate tax evasion and possible corruption. These articles unfairly and inaccurately presented the BVI as being complicit in supporting tax evasion and fraud.

The BVI Government does not tolerate tax evasion, money laundering or any type of financial crime. Regulation in the BVI is equal to if not better than many larger countries – a fact backed up in assessments by supranational organisations as well as by independent research (Global Shell Games: Findley, Nielson and Sharman 2012).

The BVI is one of a few jurisdictions that has a long history and proven record of regulating trust and company service providers. This system, together with the other regulatory laws, as well as our rules and practices on anti-money laundering and information exchange solidifies BVI’s reputation as a jurisdiction for the conduct of legitimate international financial services business.

The articles gave a biased and skewed view of the BVI which does not accurately reflect our country’s stable political and economic infrastructure, high levels of employment, per capita income and general standards of living.

One article grossly exaggerated the number of companies in the BVI and painted a false picture of BVI financial services business; which is contrary to the fact that BVI is a sophisticated and well developed financial centre with reputable world class financial firms.

Unfortunately this is another highly sensationalised article that attempts to undermine the position of the BVI as a responsible, well regulated and successful International financial centre adopting the highest international standards – something that has been ratified by international organisations such as the IMF and most recently acknowledged by the UK Government and Prime Minister, Mr. David Cameron.

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