European Union blacklists South Korea and UAE as tax havens

European Union blacklists South Korea and UAE as tax havens

The papers made public some of the intricate ways the world's richest individuals and entities evade paying taxes using offshore havens.

European authorities have urged nations to up their efforts in committing to greater tax transparency over the past year.

The EU's penalties on the blacklisted countries still need to be confirmed.

The list of countries named include: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, South Korea, Macau, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates.

The screening of some Caribbean nations, including the British Virgin Islands, was put on hold because of damage caused by hurricanes in the region.

Senior officials from member states have whittled down an initial draft of 29 countries, with divisions still strong in recent days on who will make the final version.

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As for the Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis that also attended the meeting on behalf of the EU executive, he said that as a number of third countries have entered into commitments as regard to good tax governance and the European Commission "will be following up those commitments".

Higher-tax countries like France have pushed for the blacklist as well as a crackdown on tax havens in the European Union as well. Other states are unwilling to draw up common measures in belief that responsibility is better left to member states.

An existing list of tax havens compiled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) now includes only Trinidad and Tobago. That means they promote unfair tax practices, or don't share important financial information with the EU.

The EU originally screened a total of 92 jurisdictions and once the list is compiled it is expected to be continuously updated.

The news comes as the European Union moves to clamp down on tax avoidance by non-compliant countries and discourage the use of shell structures overseas.

Countries in the EU's firing line have been given an opportunity to stay off the list if they provide a political commitment and a detailed plan to comply.