Isle of Man & money laundering – ‘must try harder’!

News from Mannin Branch of the Celtic League:

‘An offshore finance sector which you are dependent on is ‘like trying to hold a wolf by the ears you can neither hold it nor safely let it go’.

Although getting on a bit now my memories of schooldays (both primary and secondary) are still with me and not unpleasant. I was not particularly brilliant academically only scraping a handful of GCEs. However the teaching reports were always – I recall – reasonably positive in both the early years and later. I suppose teachers have to have aspiration and hope for the collective of children they gaze upon daily who they are trying to help get a first foot on life’s ladder.

‘Try’s hard’ or ‘Must try harder’ are two of the observations that cropped up regularly in my reports.

Last week the New York Times published a critique on the Isle of Man and other offshore jurisdictions in relation to money laundering and financial crime (link):

https://www.nytimes.com/…/offshore-money-bane-of-democracy.…

As a nationalist opposed to the use of the Island has a conduit for money laundering for five decades I was tempted to simply re-publish the story as indeed some social media sites have done.

However then I recalled the Council of Europe Moneyval report which was produced earlier this year and with respect to the New York Times a paper I’ve great regard for I thought Moneyval might produce a more accurate and up to date ‘school report’ on the Island and its unhealthy involvement with global money.

As with all Council of Europe reports this is an in depth assessment – here’s the link:

http://www.coe.int/…/MONEYVAL(2016)25_5thR_MER_Isle%20of%20…

As I worked my way through it I couldn’t help comparing it to those old school reports of mine. Certainly it seems with its legislative programme, its Financial Intelligence Unit and its Financial Crime Unit the Isle of Man seem to be ‘trying hard’ if a tad unsuccessfully.

The overall assessment was disappointing and you are left with the impression that the Islands financial regulatory institutions are being told they ‘must try harder’.

In the end you have to accept the inevitability of things and I accepted I wasn’t going to be a ‘rocket scientist’ or a ‘nuclear physicist’.

I wonder if after five decades as a offshore centre and innumerable attempts at financial regulation the Isle of Man should also accept that it’s never going to be ‘a centre of financial excellence’ and choose a more modest path.

After all successive governments have ‘tried hard’. The first Cannan introduced early meaningful attempts at financial regulation after the lawless years of the first two decades. Since for over thirty years ago successive Treasury Ministers up to the present Cannan have continued the work of trying without success to curb ‘this beast’.

Surely its time to realise that retaining an offshore finance sector which you are so dependent on is ‘like trying to hold a wolf by the ears you can neither hold it nor safely let it go’.

In an earlier New York Times article Oliver Bullough lampooned the idea that the tax havens benefit hugely from the monies ‘routed there’. He said they would if that were the case be some of ‘the richest places on earth’.

Writing about the Isle of Man he said that if even only ‘a fraction’ of stolen money stayed on the Isle of Man ‘the place would not be the dour, grey lump of rock that it is’.

Bullough went on:

‘Offshore jurisdictions are only pipelines, conduits, entrepôts. Money pours through them, but it does not stay, except for the fraction that pays the lawyers and the accountants who handle the deals — the plumbers who keep the system running.

If you’ve gone to the trouble of stealing millions of dollars, you want to keep them somewhere more secure… You want the money in Manhattan, Zurich or London. You want it somewhere with excellent hospitals, top-ranking schools, A-list celebrities and world-class events. You want it somewhere you can enjoy yourself’.

BERNARD MOFFATT
Public Relations Officer Mannin Branch

Issued by: The Mannin branch of the Celtic League.

10/04/17

 

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