Offshore Haven Mauritius to Clean Up its Act

Mauritius, a small island  off the southeast coast of Africa known for its offshore status, for money laundering and for being a transshipment point for South Asian heroine, vowed to clean up its act. The Mauritian government says it will enact its first asset recoveryˆ legislation in April. According to the International Association for Asset Recovery, the island has been long criticized by foreign governments for the lack of transparency in providing data on beneficial ownership of locally established companies. According to the same source: “Eva Joly, president of the European Parliament’s Development Committee, said:  <<It’s a mystery that Mauritius wasn’t listed on any of the 2009 watch-lists for [corruption]. There is no requirement for accounts to be audited, no public register of companies, and above all there is the possibility to use nominees to obscure assets.>> She cited a 2008 study that found <<nine people who administer 1,500 companies, which makes economists burst out laughing.>>”

Similarly, French investigative magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke joked that despite the proposed changes, “I recommend Mauritius to those with dirty money to launder. Whenever a judge asks for information from Mauritius during an investigation, there’s no response.”

For now, the official website of the Mauritius government only provides information on the requirements for establishing a company but doesn’t offer any possibility of identifying companies through an online registry of companies.

2 Responses to Offshore Haven Mauritius to Clean Up its Act

  1. Marc says:

    Its not a crime to want to have your assets protected from public enquiry. With the world we live in presently, this kind of private access to your own assets can lead to safety issues. Sure it can be abused, but recent stats show almost a third of the worlds wealth is banked offshore. Think about that for a second. Does that mean that 30+% of the planets funds are all illegal? What it tells me is that banking and having your assets protected by offshore entities is safer than through local entities. Just cash in banks alone, offshore entities offer highr % protection against bank bancruptcy, related to for example 10% in th US and UK and a slightly higher in mainland Europe. That means that only 10% of whatever you have under a banks control is insured against the bank going bankrupt, the rest is gone. Thats a bit scary.

    • pradu says:

      I don’t agree with you, Marc. This is an argument heavily used when defending wealth hidden in offshore havens: safety issues. In fact, people are exposing themselves through showing off their wealth even if they keep their money and company assets through proxies. It’s the luxury yacht, the Maybach or the expensive mansion that exposes them and makes them a target for criminals. On the other hand, offshore secrecy has been abused for too long by dictators, corrupt politicians etc. It led to too many people suffering around the world with oppressive regimes and corruption fueled through untraceable transactions done via offshore secrecy. It is not the tax optimization that is really hurting global economies but really the secrecy.

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