Jersey money-laundering paper 'removed from reality'

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Image caption Two academics have questioned claims over how much wealth is held in offshore jurisdictions such as Jersey

A report on money laundering by Jersey Finance is a "hatchet job", say tax campaigners.

The Tax Justice Network (TJN) said the paper, presented to Jersey's finance industry on Monday, was also "far removed from reality".

The Moving Money report was paid for by Jersey Finance and written by two academics from the United States.

They say claims made by TJN in 2012 over the amount of offshore wealth were "overhyped" and "fanciful".

Andrew Morriss, Dean of the Texas A&M School of Law, and Richard Gordon, from Case Western Reserve University, presented their 83-page paper on tax and money-laundering in London on 5 June and in Jersey on Monday.

It was a response to a TJN report, "The Price of Offshore Revisited", which claims up to $32 trillion of wealth is held offshore, worldwide.

The academics said their efforts to obtain the data behind TJN's claims were ignored.

"I'm a little puzzled that an organisation that is about transparency and says individuals have no right to privacy in their financial affairs, can intervene in a public debate yet keep their data and calculations private," said Professor Morriss.

"Their approach is that nothing that happens [offshore] has any legitimacy, is all bad and has to be stopped and that is just not true.

"How much of it is bad is something we can debate but you can't do it based on sweeping generalisations."

John Christensen, TJN executive director, said the academics did not understand the TJN report and had not contacted the organisation.

"If you're going to to do a hatchet job behind people's back then fine but if you're interested in an academic discussion then you try to involve them," he said.

He acknowledged Jersey has signed up to information exchange standards and hopes more jurisdictions will follow suit.

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