GUEST POST/The Prime Minister’s ‘audit’ can be nothing but a sham

Published: March 10, 2016 at 11:47pm

Sent in by Conservative:

The following facts need to be emphasised over and over again.

When a country applies non-disclosure norms, and does not sign any international tax co-operation or information exchange agreements, then register-keeping is not necessary or required.

Panama does not require companies to prepare and file accounts – this means that there is no record of what a company owns and where – only the shareholders know that information, no-one else does.

Panama does not require companies to present audited or independently prepared accounts – this means that you can say that your company holds say for example £92, when it holds £92 million in a Panama bank account.

An auditor can only audit the “audit trail”, i.e. if there are no papers or records, there’s nothing visible and nothing that the auditor can find.

Panama is one of the last remaining jurisdictions that allows “bearer shares” – your shareholding is not even registered or visible anywhere, i.e. only the person physically holding the share certificates knows that she or he owns the shares – no one else does unless one chooses to disclose that information.

Calling it an “audit” in the circumstances of a Maltese tax resident and domicile setting up a New Zealand trust with a Panama company holding only God knows what is a travesty of the word itself.

The ‘audit’ depends entirely on what the settlor – in this case, Konrad Mizzi himself – chooses to disclose. Nothing can be found out unless he voluntarily discloses it.

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