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Close cooperation v. close complicity

" Small countries survive as financial centres because they are more agile, because they can act more quickly, and because there is this close cooperation between the actors." , Lucien Thiel said at the “Panel discussion: How can privacy survive in an environment of increasing information exchange?”, in the framework of the Liechtenstein Dialogue that took place in 2007.

Lucien Thiel is the best representative of the Luxembourg financial center as Member of the Luxembourg Parliament (same party as the Prime Minister) and Former General Manager, Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL). And what is says definitely express the deep business culture of the Luxembourg financial Center.

After the Liechtenstein scandal early this year he is the one who said that "It is not our duty to control if the tax payer was honest" and "Banking secrecy remains: Luxembourg is not compelled to communicate its clients' data".

In the framework of the transposition of the Second European Directive relating to AML it is the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL) he chaired that wrote in an annual report that "offences such as forgery, use of forgery, false balance sheet, use of false balance sheet or unauthorised use of corporate property are vague and ambiguous" (ABBL, Annual Report 2003, page 22).

Knowing the business stake of audits with a commercial relationship between auditors and auditees, and that audit firms, and especially every big four firm, are members of the ABBL this means that in Luxembourg auditors consider that offences such as forgery, use of forgery, false balance sheet, use of false balance sheet or unauthorised use of corporate property are vague and ambiguous as they did not repudiate the statement. Furthermore there are very little declarations of suspicion from auditors in Luxembourg as observed the Annual Report 2007 from the Minister of Justice: only 4 declarations of suspicion for a profession that has 350 professionals plus 280 trainees. Such figure is not realistic all the more than a declaration of suspicion means the loss of the client and of prospects (how can they rely on an auditor that is not pragmatic enough?) in a country where there is a business model for growth from the audit leader that do not care of the IFAC warning about that culture.

We are no longer talking about banking secrecy or tax advantages. As I already wrote it is a mistake to focus on these.

We are talking about what was called "this close cooperation between the actors" at the Liechtenstein Dialogue 2007. But this "close cooperation" unfortunately appears much more like complicity to act quickly to hide dysfunctions and hush up issues: complicity for the “reason of business”.

Outcomes of the Liechtenstein Dialogue 2007

14:30 Posted in Luxembourg | Permalink | Comments (0)

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