12 May 2016

Cooks rejects 'fraud Mecca’ label

11:31 am on 12 May 2016

The Cook Islands government has hit back at comments from the anonymous leaker of the so-called Panama Papers who described the country as a 'financial fraud Mecca'.

In a statement, the chief executive of the Cook Islands Financial Services Development Authority, Tamatoa Jonassen, said the government stood firm in its continued commitment towards fighting tax evasion, money laundering, and financing of terrorism.

panama papers montage

panama papers montage Photo: s

Mr Jonassen said the Cook Islands continued its involvement with the OECD to facilitate the use of Cook Islands trusts and incorporation services for legitimate and legal reasons.

He said Cook Islands financial services industry had been a leader in trust legislation and professional services, and had grown in the past 30 years and outpaced many of its neighbours in the implementation of international standards.

He said the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering put the Cook Islands in the top 20 percent of the 165 nations assessed for implementing international regulatory standards.

Mr Jonassen said in this evaluation, the Cook Islands ranked better than New Zealand.

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