By Lynn Mackenzie, J.D., LLM.
Courtesy of Samina Jaffery, Mauritius partner.
The European Commission has added Mauritius to the list of third world countries with insufficient measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, as from 01 October 2020. This list of high-risk countries represents those countries that highlight strategic shortcomings in their anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing framework.
Jurisdictions are assessed according to 3 criteria:
• Fiscal transparency: is the country compliant with international reporting standards or does it lack transparency?
• Fair tax competition: is the country fiscally fair, through fair practices, or does it have a harmful tax regime?
• Genuine economic activity: does the country set the correct tax rate and meet the standards set by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development)? For example, using too low corporate tax rates encourages artificial tax structures to be set up.
Established to protect the EU financial system and the good functioning of the internal market, this list effectively prevents this kind of illegal activity.
It consists of improving good tax governance at the international level and avoiding unfair structures in order to maintain respect between the different members of the European Union.
In the wake of this incident, Mauritius has made a high-level written political commitment since February 2020 to address the deficiencies identified and implements the FATF action plan as soon as possible. The aim is for Mauritius to be removed from the FATF and EU lists and to demonstrate to the global investment community that it remains a credible and trustworthy jurisdiction.
At this point in time, the negotiations are still under way and we hope to receive some updates soon
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