Switzerland news: Growing Russian interest in Swiss financial sector

Switzerland’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports on growing interest from Russians in placing their funds in Switzerland.

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Jersey news: New promotional brochure seeks to attract Russian offshore business. Ukrwhat?

Following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, in recent weeks there has been growing coverage and debate in the international media about the role of the West – in particular the City of London – in protecting corrupt Russian wealth. See for example here, here, here and here.

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Cyprus news: Ukraine-related sanctions seen as “a joke” on Russian haven

According to an article with the headline “Russian haven” on Incyprus.com “Cypriots say their island paradise, home to thousands of Russians seeking sun, tax benefits and an EU entry point, has not suffered from deteriorating relations between Moscow and the West and some have seen benefits.”

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Dominique Strauss-Kahn to join Luxembourg investment firm; portfolio to include Russia, South Sudan

Wort.lu reports that “Former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn is to become an investment banker with a Luxembourg firm, according to a statement released by one of his lawyers.”

The firm is a boutique investment firm called Anatevka.  The New York Times notes that “At LSK, Mr. Strauss-Kahn is expected to continue his work as an economic adviser to the Serbian government, which was announced earlier this month. As part of that role, Mr. Strauss-Kahn is helping Serbia restructure its foreign debt, attract foreign investment and manage relations with the I.M.F.

Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a onetime presidential contender in France, will be working from the LSK offices in Luxembourg and Geneva. Apart from Serbia, LSK will also be working with clients in Morocco, South Sudan and Russia, Mr. Leyne said. Mr. Strauss-Kahn also joined the board of a banking subsidiary of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, this year.”

Thierry Leyne is the current boss of Anatevka. Referring to Strauss-Kahn’s previous and ongoing scandals,  Slate comments If you thought all of that amounted to a track record of someone you wouldn’t exactly want as the face of your company, again, you’d be wrong. According to Bloomberg, Anatevka is set to change its name with DSK as a named partner in the revamped Leyne, Strauss-Kahn & Partners or “LSK.””

Cyprus news: Finance Minister says Russian business “instrumental in the development of Cypriot economy”

via incyprus.com.cy:

Cyprus is and will remain an excellent destination for international business and the government is ready and willing to take action in this direction in order to rectify the shortcomings and determine improvements in what Cyprus has to offers in terms of strictures, policies, incentives, laws and regulations” said Finance Minister Harris Georgiades.

Addressing a conference in Nicosia on Thursday, titled “The future of Cyprus for Russian Business”, the Minister said that “being an international business center and maintaining the competitive edge requires an economy to be in permanent mode of reform and innovative change.”

“The Minister noted that Russian business has been instrumental in the development of the Cypriot economy, adding that the Cyprus service sector was beneficial for Russian business as well.”

“I am sure that our business, financial and commercial relations can be maintained and enhanced and this will provide the best boost to the already excellent political relations between Russia and Cyprus”, he concluded.

Russian Ambassador to Cyprus Stanislav Osadchiy also addressed the seminar and “expressed his conviction that Russian capitals will remain on the island, following the Eurogroup decision last March and the haircut in the deposits. He said that he has been exchanging views with business circles in Moscow and they too feel that they must remain in Cyprus and provide assistance to the Cypriot economy.”

In other Cyprus news,

Building permits down 25% : “The number of building permits issued was down by 25.3% in June, on an annual basis, data published by the Cyprus Statistical Service, on Tuesday, shows. The total value of permits was down by €70.97 million compared to the value of permits issued in June last year.”

Louis Vuitton shuts shop in Cyprus “Prestigious French luxury brand Louis Vuitton is closing its only boutique in Cyprus by the end of the year as a result of the recession, the company’s press office confirmed yesterday. “A decision has been taken from the headquarters in Paris to close the shop in Cyprus by the end of the year because of the economic crisis and we have no further information to say,” the press office said.”

Caribbean links: job losses in Bermuda, Russian money in BVI and offshore budget boost in Barbados

Bermuda: 2400 job losses predicted in 2013, 500 of them in the International Company sector.  

According to a table in the article, the offshore financial sector (International Companies, Business Services and Financial Intermediation) provides over 27% of total jobs in Bermuda.

British Virgin Islands: Signing up to FATCA while attracting Russian money, in a context of political corruption

The government of BVI will be starting talks with the US to comply with FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act).

At the same time, Quartz is reporting  that the amount of Russian money heading to the BVI has jumped from under USD 5 billion in the last quarter of 2012 (still a huge amount) to USD 31 billion in the first quarter of this year.  Hat tip: Global Financial Integrity daily email.

All this in a context in which a local social commentator says that “Too many people are expecting pay for their votes” and that “The political atmosphere in the British Virgin Islands now is one of corruption”. Several of the comments below the article confirm his views.

Barbados: government plans to revitalize economy mainly by promoting offshore sector  

On August 13th the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of Barbados, Hon. Christopher Sinckler, presented the Financial Statements and Budgetary Proposals of the Barbados Government.

KPMG has provided highlights of the proposals. The first items all focus on attracting offshore investments, including:

– Providing multi-year licenses to International Business Companies for up to three years, “to assist with the burden of renewing licenses annually”.

– Creating a Business Facilitation Unit to add efficiency to the International Business Sector

– Increasing the budget for Marketing and Promotion by 7 million dollars to attract foreign direct investment