Jersey Silence

On the 8th of July 2014 – nine days ago at the time of writing – the first stories based on a data leak from a private bank in Jersey were published.

The result of a collaboration between the ICIJ and the Guardian, the articles revealed that Hollywood celebrities, industrial tycoons, UK politicians and the Arctic Monkeys, among others, have links to offshore dealings in Jersey.

While the reporters took great care to emphasize that the complex offshore arrangements uncovered are legal under current tax law, the stories once again served to highlight the basic unfairness of a system whereby the rich and powerful can get away with “tax minimization” schemes which are either unavailable to or unaffordable for the average taxpayer.

The response from Jersey so far? Almost complete silence. Neither Jersey Finance, the organization which promotes Jersey as an “international financial centre of excellence”, nor the Jersey government or the Jersey Financial Services Commission seem to have responded yet.

The Jersey Finance website has a news section which is updated at least weekly, while its CEO is an active blogger. Neither have yet mentioned the ICIJ stories.

The Jersey government online newsroom has press releases up to July 15th, which include information about maintenance on a road causing traffic delays, but again nothing on the leaks.

Even the local media seems not to have paid much attention. The Jersey Evening post website has a brief article,  while the BBC’s Jersey website has a single article taking an unusual angle given the content of the revelations: “Forensic experts have been hired by a Jersey bank to investigate how thousands of clients’ details were leaked to journalists.”

To put this in context, a search on google finds global coverage from Winnipeg to Australia via Brazil.

And yet the government, regulators, business sector and most of the media in the jurisdiction at the centre of the revelations have chosen not to react.

Please see the Financial Secrecy Index  country report on Jersey for more background. Jersey is ranked 7th on the 2013 Financial Secrecy Index.

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