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Impact of Paradise Papers leak on Vanuatu hard to predict: expert

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An Australian academic says it is too early to say what impact the release of the Paradise Papers will have on the four Pacific nations so far involved.

According to Anthony van Fossen, Griffith University Associate Professor, two Marshall Islands shipping companies had been linked with Russian leaders by the leak, reports RNZI.

He said tax havens in the Cook Islands, Samoa and to a lesser extent Vanuatu, may also be affected by the activities of Asian City Trusts and its clients.

Anthony van Fossen also noted Pacific Island tax havens tend to be more scapegoated by global financiers because they are not as central to European bankers. Blacklists released by the European Commission had a history of targeting Pacific nations while simultaneously ignoring some of the biggest havens in Europe.

“In the past and particularly when people such as Jean Claude Juncker are in such powerful positions the Pacific Islands havens have been disproportionately stigmatised.

“That’s not to say they are innocent in any way. But just that the question of balance in the perception of tax havens is one that Pacific Islands havens have reasons to be aggrieved about.”