The Nordic countries (Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) have today concluded the signing of several new information exchange agreements with states whose international financial services industry focuses on attracting foreign investors. The new agreements are part of a campaign led by the Nordic Council of Ministers aimed at strengthening global efforts to prevent international tax evasion.
Norway's Finance Minister, Sigbjørn Johnsen, believes that Nordic co-operation to stop tax evasion has been a success story.
"This Nordic co-operation has been a success story right from the start. It is crucial to get agreements in place to stop taxpayers who are trying to hide capital investments and incomes from the tax authorities", states Norway's Minister of Finance, Sigbjørn Johnsen.
Information exchange agreements will provide the tax authorities with access to information about capital investments and incomes on all tax avoiders and help reveal assets not declared at home. The information to be exchanged includes the actual ownership of businesses in the whole chain of ownership; in respect of trusts: founders, trustees and beneficiaries and any information held by banks and financial institutions.
The Nordic countries have signed agreements with the Cook Islands and Samoa today. The Nordic countries, except Denmark, have also signed agreements with Anguilla on 14 December, and the Turks and Caicos Islands on 16 December. Furthermore, Iceland, Norway and Sweden signed an agreement with Gibraltar today. The countries that did not sign with Anguilla, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Gibraltar have already signed similar agreements with these states earlier this autumn. Finally, Denmark signed an agreement with St. Lucia on 10 December.
The information exchange agreements were signed in Copenhagen and at various embassies in Paris and Canberra.
The Nordic countries have now signed thirteen or more information exchange agreements each (the Faroe Islands and Greenland have signed fourteen and Denmark seventeen) and negotiations are underway with a number of international financial centres. This project work will continue to receive high priority during the Danish Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2010 when the countries are expected to enter into further agreements.
Torsten Fensby, Project Manager, the Nordic Council of Ministers.