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EU to add Bahamas, US Virgin Islands to tax blacklist: source

EU to add Bahamas, US Virgin Islands to tax blacklist: source

BRUSSELS, March 13: The European Union next week will add Saint Kitts and Nevis, the Bahamas and US Virgin Islands to its new tax haven blacklist, according to European sources, reports AFP. But the blacklist will still number nine countries after finance ministers withdraw Bahrain, the Marshall Islands and Saint Lucia, according to an EU document. A European source told AFP the new list will be approved by the 28-nation bloc’s finance ministers meeting in Brussels next Tuesday. Activists had sharply criticised the EU’s commitment to fighting tax avoidance after it withdrew Panama, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Mongolia, Macau, Grenada and Barbados from the new list on January 23. The countries had promised to meet EU concerns in a move that came just weeks after the bloc unveiled its original list of 17 non-EU nations. The three countries to be added to the list were among those in the Caribbean hit by hurricanes in September that initially got a reprieve. The three that will be withdrawn, the document showed, will move to a “grey list” of countries that have made unspecified commitments to the EU on reforming their tax laws and will be subject to review. The list next week will be made up not only of the Bahamas, US Virgin Islands and Saint Kitts and Nevis but also Guam, Namibia, Palau, Samoa, American Samoa and Trinidad and Tobago. Four hurricane-hit Caribbean countries given a reprieve will join the grey list: Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda. The removal of the eight countries in late January drew criticism from Oxfam and other campaigners who say the EU’s commitment to tackle tax avoidance after the “Panama Papers” leak last year has now been watered down. The lists came a year on from the leak of the “Panama Papers”—a massive amount of data from a prominent Panamanian law firm showing how the world’s wealthy stash assets. The EU originally screened a total of 92 countries to draw up the list, which is expected to be continuously updated.

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