9 Apr 2013

Cooks defends trust regulations

1:35 pm on 9 April 2013

Authorities in the Cook Islands say the country's regulatory framework for offshore trusts is better than in most places in the world.

A Wellington-based journalist, Nicky Hager, is calling on the New Zealand government to stop accepting the use of the Cook Islands as a tax haven, following an investigation involving millions of financial documents.

The head of the Cook Islands Financial Development Authority, Jenner Davis, says in 2003, the Cook Islands passed a host of legislation regulating the offshore finance sector.

"Transactions today aren't really about secrecy. It's about privacy, often, because the extremely wealthy in the world, that's often what they are seeking with their wealth management structures, so they're not hounded by every financial advisor and accountant. There's nothing secret from the authorities here in the Cook Islands. They can go in and evaluate the files, and evaluate the processes by which the trust companies are monitoring their obligations."

Jenner Davis says there is no way for the private sector to not follow the regulations.