Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Seychelles and Mauritius Tax Havens blacklisted by the EU

Rendue publique le mercredi 17 juin 2015 par la Commission européenne, la liste du top 30 des paradis fiscaux "non coopératifs" - dite "liste Moscovici" - inclus plusieurs îles de l'océan Indien, dont les Maldives et les Seychelles, mais aussi l'île Maurice, où la nouvelle fait grincer des dents.
À l’image de dirigeants d’autres pays – le Liechtenstein, Guernesey ou les Bermudes –, les autorités mauriciennes digèrent mal le fait de figurer sur cette liste noire des paradis fiscaux. Selon Le Monde, Maurice fait ainsi partie des grands centres financiers offshore qui ont "joint les dirigeants de l’OCDE par téléphone (...) pour exprimer leur courroux".
Du côté de l’île sœur, Global Finance Mauritius (GFM) – qui regroupe les institutions et les compagnies engagées dans les services financiers bancaires et non bancaires – estime en effet que "la liste noire des paradis fiscaux publiée par l’Union européenne et qui inclut Maurice est dépassée", rapporte le ce mardi 23 juin.

C’est que, comme l’écrivait le site d’information au lendemain de la publication de cette liste, "Maurice a essuyé un coup de massue au niveau international". Et d’après le député Reza Uteem, porte-parole économique du parti MMM (Mouvement militant mauricien), cette inscription sur la liste noire européenne "peut avoir des conséquences graves sur le secteur des services financiers".
C’est pourquoi l’île sœur fait partie des pays "furieux de se retrouver fichés sur cette liste noire, alors même qu’ils viennent de s’engager à pratiquer l’échange automatique de données fiscales à l’horizon 2017 ou 2018 – et donc, théoriquement, à faire tomber leur secret bancaire", souligne Le Monde. D’autant qu’aucun paradis fiscal européen "non coopératif" – comme le Luxembourg – ne figure sur cette liste.

Global Finance Mauritius souligne de son côté que "Maurice s’est conformée aux normes de l’OCDE qui comprennent la transparence" et que "Maurice est considérée par l’OCDE comme un centre financier bien réglementé".

Si cette "liste Moscovici" fait autant de remous, c’est qu’elle est sujette à un problème de méthode, puisque la Commission européenne a en fait compilé 18 listes noires existant dans les pays membres, dont certaines n’auraient pas été actualisées depuis plusieurs années, selon Le Monde. Ces listes recensent 85 pays non coopératifs, Bruxelles ayant choisi de retenir ceux qui apparaissent sur au moins dix de ces listes.

Malgré les récriminations des uns et des autres – notamment venues de Maurice –, le commissaire européen Pierre Moscovici estime qu’il s’agit d’une "étape décisive pour pousser les juridictions non coopératives à rectifier le tir et à adopter les normes internationales".

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Seychelles, A safe Haven For Crooks?

eTN alert of caution on World Travel Awards

HALEIWA, HI- After eTurboNews today announced it has canceled its media partnership with the UK-based World Travel Awards with immediate effect, eTN Publisher Juergen Thomas Steinmetz issued the following statement:
"eTurboNews no longer authorizes the use of eTN branding or its logos to be used by World Travel Awards. I think it’s safe to say the award scheme and representation communicated by World Travel Awards is misleading, sometimes untrue, and may be interpreted as plain and simple fraud.”
Unsuspecting tourism boards, hotels, airlines, and attractions may have been victimized by this scheme over many years.

The next award ceremony is scheduled for the Indian Ocean event this weekend at the Kempinski Hotel in the Seychelles. According to the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Ministry of Tourism no public money was spent.

eTN is urging travel industry stakeholders to be careful before investing money to secure awards." Mr. Steinmetz added. "Travel awards, when they are legitimate, should not cost a company or organization money and mandatory marketing fees. At the very least the company issuing such rewards should not misrepresent itself and claim to be the Oscars of the travel industry"
eTN was contacted by World Travel Awards management after this announcement was made. World Travel Award is denying all allegations.


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Human Trafficking, Modern-day Slavery And the Arab Sheikhs!

Cape Town - The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has appointed a curator to take control of the assets of swimwear model Candice-Jean van der Merwe, including bank accounts which contain portions of a $15 million (about R188 million) gift she claimed to have received from an Arab admirer she met at a Seychelles resort for the uber-wealthy.
As a result of the court’s order, Van der Merwe has to provide an account of her assets to the curator, Cloete Murray of Sechaba Trust Business Rescue and Insolvency Practitioners, and divulge how she acquired them.
Murray is the only person authorised to have any dealings with the assets, the court ruled.
Van der Merwe is the daughter of businessman Gary van der Merwe, who is best known for running the Huey Extreme Club which offered joyrides in a Vietnam-era Bell UH-1 chopper.
The South African Revenue Service (Sars), which targeted the model in court, has claimed that her father has dodged the taxman for years. Sars argued that she was being used as a conduit, and that she could not have sustained her luxurious lifestyle with the money she earned.
But Van der Merwe countered that she does not in fact fund her lifestyle.
According to her, Lady Luck smiled on her in May 2013 when she received a generous $15.3m gift from an Arab man, identified as Muhamad Muhamad Nazih Rawas, who she met at the private Plantation Club resort on Mahé Island, while working in the Seychelles.
“This type of resort is the playground of the super wealthy where they can relax in total privacy away from the intrusions that normally accompany their lifestyles, such as paparazzi and constant security threats due to their extreme wealth and status. Privacy and more importantly security is paramount to these persons. For this reason only people who have been vetted and security checked are allowed at the resort. It often poses a security risk should it be public knowledge that a high-profile individual is at a specific location.
“It is the norm for lavish parties and events to be held at the resort. Such parties and events will often feature celebrity entertainers or disc jockeys with international acclaim.
“Models from only the trusted agencies are routinely flown in from all over the world to lend a sense of glamour and exclusivity to these events and, by definition, the resort,” she explained in an affidavit.
She said Rawas paid her the money after she saw a property in Fresnaye which she liked, and which was on sale for R110m.

With the help of her father, she bought the property.
Van der Merwe also told the court she got her Audi R8 Spyder and Range Rover Evoque vehicles, valued at more than R2.5m, as gifts after she wrote off her car in an accident.
In addition to these, an iPhone 5 and Z10 Blackberry were sent to her, fully paid for. One had been activated with international roaming.
In February last year, the Western Cape High Court confirmed a provisional preservation order Sars had obtained against the model.

Van der Merwe wanted to appeal the order to the SCA, but did not take the necessary steps within the prescribed time period.
As a result, she applied for condonation.
At the same time, Sars cross-appealed on the basis of the High Court’s failure to appoint a curator.
In a judgment handed down a week ago, the SCA commented that Van der Merwe’s father had a strong presence in her affairs.
“At the very least,” she allowed him to use her bank accounts, “or cannot prevent him from doing so.”
The court found that Van der Merwe and her father’s close relationship, coupled with the “extraordinary wealth” she suddenly acquired, required investigation.
“It thus seems imperative that a curator investigate how and on what basis those funds were effectively placed at the disposal of (her father), and whether and how he has disposed of the funds,” the court found.

Source IOL News.

Friday, 5 June 2015

No foreigners: Seychelles Production Company appeals to government

Since the start of his door-to-door visit of hotels in 2014, Alain St.Ange the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture has put a lot of emphasis on visiting every tourism licensed establishments and this ensuring that every small or large hotel establishments and stand alone restaurants were visited. For the first time last week the Ministry of Tourism and Culture introduced a change of strategy in its door-to-door visits and introduced stops with a cultural element to mark what Minister St.Ange says is the consolidation approach of tourism through the development of culture and the protection of culture through a buoyant tourism industry.
This change of strategy incorporating culture and tourism within the Minister’s door-to-door visits is a well thought mechanism to illustrate that on the ground, mixing culture and tourism is workable.
Visiting small and large tourism establishments on the western side of Mahe, Minister St.Ange, principal secretary for tourism Anne Lafortune and Sherin Naiken the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Tourism Board were joined by Jimmy Savy Chief Executive of the National Arts Council to tour Mr Clifford Telemaque licensed “Relation Sound” studio, an outlet specialised in leasing out PA System and he also owns a reputable recording studio for artists.
Located at La Misere, Mr Telemaque and his son Eddy have built a flourishing business tapping its revenue from the field of entertainment. It was way back in 2002 that the Telemaque family opened the recording studio.
The location, away from the main road and surrounded by a lush and dense green vegetation created the perfect environment for well established artists in the country, such as Philip Toussaint, Marie Antoinette Dodin, Joseph Sinon and Elijah to take retreat from the commotion of a busy town to record their albums.
As the recording studio blossom and gained its notoriety, in 2006 Clifford Telemaque and his son ventured into creating their own production company, leasing out PA System to in-door and out- door events such as conferencing, musical shows staged locally.
Starting off with eight speakers, Relation Sound Company increased its available equipment to now include 60 speakers. The company run by father and son is now employing 5 workers. Mr Telemaque confirmed that 90% of the company’s revenue comes from its production line of leasing out PA systems.
The Relation Sound Company believes that the annual events held by Ministry of Tourism and Culture is good for his business as it is good for Seychelles. Clifford Telemaque said Relation Sound Company and everything that falls within the Culture Industry of Seychelles needs events to survive. He went on to say that the business of production company should remain for Seychellois businesses only.
“My appeal to government is not to allow foreign companies to come into the game. We are too small as a country.’’ said Mr Telemaque.
He said that Seychelles needs to learn from other small countries where foreigners have been licensed to enter into the production company and where as a result they invested big into high tech equipment and today they are killing small local businesses who have their heart and soul in their country.
Mr Telemaque is no stranger to the country’s musical arena. In 1980 he created a seven-member musical band “Relation” and earned a solid reputation.
Minister St.Ange was very impressed with the company set up by Mr Telemaque and he appreciated the statement made by Mr Telemaque that reminded Seychelles of the fact that small businesses needed the Ministry of Tourism and Culture’s annual events to survive.
The National Arts Council mandated to support artists had kept a close eye on the business development of Mr Telemaque and other newly established production companies in the country. Mr. Savy said the country’s business climate is ideal for the production businesses.
“There are many Seychellois who are in the production businesses and they have remained in business because of the events being staged in Seychelles. These businesses can only remain in business if the licenses are controlled and it is not overtaken by big companies,” Mr. Jimmy Savy said.
Mr. Savy said as he toured the Telemaque Studio at La Misere that he has an open door policy to work with artists and with companies venturing into technical and production businesses.
The next stop on the Minister's tour was at Mr. Egbert Marday who owns an Art Gallery that is today well established at Helvetia in La Misere.
Unlike Mr. Telemaque who found his happiness in a production company, Egbert is an established sculpture and artist since 1999 who has created a name for himself. Mr. Egbert Marday is now thinking of developing his business further.
Visiting his art gallery, Minister St.Ange and his team were impressed with the mediums transgressed in his paintings.
Mr. Marday revealed his intention to bring a face lift to his gallery to encourage more visitors to his gallery and is thinking in due course to try and have a room or two in the gallery itself for tourists looking for a holiday more centered of the arts. Mr. Egbert Marday showed Minister St.Ange and his delegation a collection of his works that marks the slave era saying that he has always believed that this collection of paintings and carving works should be part of the National Collection of Seychelles. Minister Alain St.Ange who was clearly impressed by this collection that marked the macabre part of the islands history, said that we needed to agree to a price and then as a country try to find a benefactor who would be prepared to assist.

600 doctors who got degrees from abroad issued notice

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), which functions as a regulator of the medical profession, is taking a closer look at foreign-trained doctors as well as doctors who pursue post-graduate degrees through distance education. It has sent notices to 600 doctors across Maharashtra who have earned their basic medical degree from universities in Russia, Ukraine, China, etc. This follows complaints about foreign-trained doctors putting up boards stating that they are "MD Physicians" although India recognizes them as "MBBS equivalent" doctors only.

"We consider these misleading boards to be a menace. What if an injured child is rushed to a doctor who claims to be a paediatrician but has only undergone a distance post-graduate degree from Seychelles?" said MMC president Dr Kishor Taori. Regarding foreign-trained doctors, he said they had been asked to return their MMC degrees so that fresh ones could be issued.