By Jonathan Davies
The GMB union is advising the electorate in the East Hampshire constituency area that Sir Simon Robertson, whose company HSBC has been accused of tax avoidance in Switzerland, was also involved in tax avoidance using the Luxembourg loopholes, lives in the area and has donated over £715,000 to the Conservative Party since 2003 including £100,000 to George Osborne.
HSBC is one of the 340 global companies identified by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) investigation whose files have become available thanks to the ‘Luxembourg Leaks.’ The leaks, over 28,000 pages of tax documents, show a confidential cache of secret tax arrangements approved by the Luxembourg Authorities that provide tax relief for these companies.
With complex structures, the global companies can avoid billions in taxes by routing their profits through Luxembourg.
Tax avoiding companies use the Luxembourg tax system for the treatment of interest with companies registered in Luxembourg being exempt from tax on interest income.
Another benefit of the Luxembourg tax system is the 80% tax exemption on income from intellectual property which foreign subsidiaries pay for the use of brand names, patents and distribution rights and the money ends up in Luxemburg.
Sir Simon Robertson lives in East Hampshire and is Deputy Chairman of HSBC having joined the board in 2006. He has donated over £715,000 to the conservative party since 2003, including £100,000 to George Osborne. He is a member of the Conservative Foundation. He is an old Etonian and said to ski with the royal family at Klosters and has an estimated wealth of £120m, ranking him =751 in the Sunday Times 2014 Rich List.
Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said: "Tax avoidance and tax evasion on an industrial scale is endemic, systemic and deep rooted in the City and for wealthy people like Sir Simon Robertson across the UK.
"Secrecy jurisdictions i.e tax havens - use secrecy to attract illicit and illegitimate or abusive financial flows.
"Luxembourg is not an isolated case. Secrecy in tax matters in UK territories combined lead to them to top the world tax avoidance league table and UK companies make full use of this secrecy.
"An estimated £20,000 billion of private financial wealth is located, untaxed or lightly taxed, in secrecy jurisdictions around the world.
"A global industry has developed involving the world's biggest banks, law practices and accounting firms which not only provide secretive offshore structures to their tax- and law-dodging clients, but aggressively market them. 'Competition' between jurisdictions to provide secrecy facilities has, particularly since the era of financial globalisation took off in the 1980s, become a central feature of global financial markets.
"The secrecy world give rise to fraud, tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, escape from financial regulations, embezzlement, insider dealing, bribery, money laundering and creates political impunity."
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