50 thoughts on “British new Prime Minister May’s husband helps tax dodging

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  49. Friday 4th August 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    SOLOMON HUGHES uncovers the moonlight jobs of Tory ministers Mark Field and James Chapman, who help firms dodge tax and access power

    NEWLY appointed Foreign Office Minister Mark Field has since 2011 earned £40,000 a year on top of his MP’s salary working as an “adviser” to a law firm deeply involved in offshore finance.

    Theresa May made Field, an MP since 2001, into a minister shortly after the election. His responsibilities include “economic diplomacy.”

    On becoming a minister, Field resigned from his six-year job working for Isle of Man law firm Cains Advocates.

    He described the Cains job on the Register of MPs’ Interests like this: “The role includes assisting the firm with its international strategy, ambassadorial work and advising on government and parliamentary aspects of financial services.”

    So he was a paid ambassador for Cains before taking responsibility for some British economic diplomacy.

    The Isle of Man is a low-tax offshore jurisdiction, like a less glamorous version of Jersey. Cains itself says “tax neutrality” is a “key advantage” for companies.. It tells its clients: “Tax neutrality at the holding company level: an Isle of Man company is not subject in the Isle of Man to any income or capital taxes, there are no withholdings on account of Isle of Man tax on the payment of dividends or interest on loans, and no stamp duty or other similar taxes are levied in the Isle of Man on the issue or transfer of shares in an Isle of Man company.”

    If you are struggling with that tax jargon, when Cains says that the Isle of Man has “tax neutrality at holding company level,” it means that you can set up a “holding” company on the island, stuff it full of money and never have to pay any tax on it.

    A core part of Cains’s business is helping firms exploit this “tax neutrality.” Cains describes itself as “the Isle of Man’s principal commercial law firm” and as “the pre-eminent provider of corporate legal services in the Isle of Man.

    “We have a strong track record in providing offshore legal advice and cross-border support to global institutions, corporates and their professional advisers.”

    In short: if you want to set up a complicated offshore structure on the Isle of Man, you will need some good lawyers — like Cains.

    In 2016 the Isle of Man resisted David Cameron’s calls for more tax transparency.

    Cameron wanted the island to have a public list of who really owns the thousands of offshore companies on the island because knowing who owned the companies full of tax-free money on the Isle of Man might reveal who is trying to avoid tax.

    But the Isle of Man government said this was a “red line” issue for it, and that ownership of the island’s offshore firms should remain secret, unless law enforcement officers or regulators made a specific request.

    In 2011, shortly after he took the job with Cains, Field made a keynote speech defending tax havens, saying they make a “significant contribution” to British investment and arguing for policy that “does not place unnecessary burdens” on them.

    So the new Foreign Office Minister has six years moonlighting as an adviser for a law firm based on a tax haven island and a history of defending tax havens.

    Field’s appointment appears to justify opposition claims that the government wants a Brexit that makes Britain more like an offshore, low-tax jurisdiction.


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