Luxembourg: Financial industry seeks to compete with Mauritius for Indian offshore business

This brief article on wort.lu on a seminar organized by the Indian Business Chamber Luxembourg is an example of uncritical reporting by media in secrecy jurisdictions.

Under the innocuous title “Business head calls for flights between Luxembourg and India” the article starts with:

“Launching a direct flight connecting Luxembourg to India was among the proposals made at a seminar on cross-border investments on Wednesday.”

and then continues

“The idea was put forward by international tax expert Stéphane Pellet, a partner at “Etude Felten & Associés” at a seminar organised by the Indian Business Chamber Luxembourg (IBCL).”

The Felten & Associes website lists “bank secrecy” as one of its areas of practice.

The speaker “…highlighted a number of opportunities, which Luxembourg could exploit, namely to position the country as a European hub for currency exchange to be held in rupees.”

“The country’s next goal, he said, should be to compete effectively with countries like Mauritius, through which 43 percent of investment to India is done.”

The article fails to mention that Mauritius is a secrecy jurisdiction, that the high levels of investment into India via Mauritius have been linked to round-tripping by Indian investors, and that recent reports find that Mauritius is being used by global accounting firms such as Deloitte to help multinationals avoid tax in Africa. Deloitte, by the way, is one of the corporate members of the India Business Chamber Luxembourg, together with the rest of the Big 4 accounting firms, as well as major banks and clearing houses.

Luxembourg is ranked 2nd on the 2013 Financial Secrecy Index. The accompanying country report notes that: “The local media only rarely dares speak out against finance or financial secrecy, and numerous examples exist of the repression of alternative views.”

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