The STAR Businessweek

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - NEWS - BY CHRIS­TIAN WAYNE – ED­I­TOR AT LARGE Stay con­nected with us at: Web: www.stlu­ci­as­ So­cial: www.face­­ci­as­tar Email: star­busi­ness­week@stlu­ci­as­

Is it just me or does it feel like the wa­ter is com­ing to a boil? As we’ve writ­ten in our past two is­sues of The STAR Businessweek, this month Saint Lu­cia’s fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and au­thor­i­ties will be re­quired to make their first of many CRS-com­pli­ant fil­ings as part of a se­ries of in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial re­port­ing obli­ga­tions that our coun­try, along with other Caribbean na­tions, ret­i­cently com­mit­ted to as part of a global push to com­bat global tax dodgers, money laun­der­ing and a slew of le­gal (yet cheeky) tax min­i­miza­tion strate­gies em­ployed by global cor­po­ra­tions and high net worth in­di­vid­u­als, and their armies of savvy tax lawyers. That, at least, is the of­fi­cial jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the ex­pen­sive and es­pe­cially oner­ous cost of com­pli­ance. The more cyn­i­cal among us may say we’re just try­ing to keep off the EU’s black­list of tax havens. Whichever jus­ti­fi­ca­tion suits your view of global tax­a­tion, CRS fil­ings are but one of sev­eral busi­ness prac­tices our semi-re­bel­lious na­tion is go­ing to have to de­fend against in­ter­na­tional reg­u­la­tors and our for­eign-aid bene­fac­tors—and in case you didn’t know, they’re one and the same. The Euro­pean Union’s pa­tience is start­ing to run thin on coun­tries that in­sist on trad­ing their re­spec­tive pass­ports (and easy ac­cess to the Schen­gen Zone) for cash—ex­cuse me, I mean ‘do­na­tions’. For now, the EU’s crosshairs are aimed at mem­ber-cul­prits like Malta which, in just few years, has be­come the lead­ing out­post for pass­ports-for-cash trans­ac­tions and, in the EU’s words, ‘con­duits for money laun­der­ing’. Like the CRS deadline, it’s only a mat­ter of time un­til the EU looks to coun­tries like Saint Lu­cia which, much like Malta, cou­ple their pref­er­en­tial Schen­gen Zone ar­range­ments and bank­ing se­crecy laws to aid and abet Rus­sians, Ira­ni­ans, Saudis and Chi­nese na­tion­als in their transna­tional shenani­gans. Ladies and gen­tle­men, this ain’t your grand­par­ents’ Cit­i­zen­ship by In­vest­ment Pro­gramme. To learn more about this tick­ing time bomb, be­gin with our cover story “Crime and Cit­i­zen­ship: The Se­cu­rity Risks of CIPs” It’s Noth­ing Per­sonal. It’s Busi­ness.

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