Government still seeking clarity over France backlisting

Government still seeking clarity over France backlisting
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K Peter Turnquest (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Finance minister K Peter Turnquest yesterday said the government is still seeking clarity from France over its decision to place this nation on its blacklist.

Turnquest told reporters ahead of a Cabinet, “we’re fighting in the dark”.

We are continuing our investigations with them,” he said.

“We are waiting for a response from them to our specific inquiries about the issues that they have identified as being the reasons for this listing. Once we have that information we will certainly address it.”

Turnquest said: “As of now we are somewhat in the blind with respect to their reasoning and the justification for this listing. As I have said before we have enjoyed a very good relationship with the OECD, the Global Tax Forum, the EU and we have made significant strides in terms of all of the commitments put before us, even those we would not have been comfortable with that would have been difficult for us to meet.

This is certainly an outlier,” he continued.

“We don’t know exactly what this is about because the issues that identified we were not aware of them. We have searched through all of our data and have not been able to see where there has been a request or issues outlined to us that we have not addressed.

“We wait to hear what they have say as to specifics on what their issues are. It’s very disappointing because we are working very hard to be transparent and cooperative partners in the global community.”

Turnquest said: “The Bahamas is a tremendous asset to the world in terms of financial services and wealth management. We take our role very seriously and take our role as partners and guardians in financial services industry globally very seriously. As it stands we are fighting in the dark because we don’t know what we are fighting.

French Public Accounts Minister Gerald Darmanin made the announcement regarding the blacklisting, alongside Anguilla, Virgin Islands, and Seychelles in December. The blacklisting was relative to the tax information exchange agreement betweenFrance and The Bahamas, and the perception by the French authorities that the Bahamas has not been responding to requests for information in a manner that is satisfactory to them.

The move prompted strong rebuke from the government with Turnquest stating in Parliament that the move was ‘disrespectful’.

The government has maintained that it has no knowledge of any outstanding requests from French authorities.