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Guernsey "not linked" with Jersey report attracting criticism

Guernsey

Friday 03 August 2018

Guernsey "not linked" with Jersey report attracting criticism

Friday 03 August 2018


Research which Jersey Finance funded is not linked to Guernsey, with the States wanting to distance itself from criticism Jersey is now facing.

As reported by Express Jersey this week, the island has been "dragged into the international spotlight once more after it emerged that Jersey Finance paid for research for a paper arguing that the island, and Guernsey, are not “hotbeds of tax evasion”. It was authored by a right-wing think-tank who are now being accused of offering donors the opportunity to influence their reports."

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Pictured: The report by Express Jersey on the row facing Jersey Finance, which you can read here

While Express reported the Jersey link, we have been told that Guernsey was not involved and that a separate Brexit related research report which the States of Guernsey did financially contribute to in recent years, is not linked.

That report was co-authored by Shanker Singham, who is Director of the International Trade and Competition Unit at the Institute of Economic Affairs, which is now facing two investigations - by the UK Charities Commission, and the lobbying 'tsar' - after joint work by the Guardian and Greenpeace alleged that it had offered access to senior politicians and ministers and giving prominence to certain issues within their research papers, in return for donations.

The work that Mr Singham did for the States of Guernsey was commissioned prior to the investigations being lodged, at a time when he worked for a different group. The report features We are Guernsey branding and an acknowledgment that Guernsey part funded it. The body which later published the work said it does not take funding from governments of their official bodies but the payment was agreed prior to the change in Mr Singham's employment. 

The research project he did which included Guernsey was already underway when Guernsey asked to be included. It was considered to be an important part of the States Brexit planning and policy development.

A spokesman said as Guernsey would need to do this work to aid preparations for Brexit and its impact on the island, then the decision was made to help fund the existing report so that the analysis would include Guernsey data.

None of the States of Guernsey, Guernsey Financial Services Commission or Guernsey Finance had any editorial influence over the outcome of the report - which was entirely independent. 

The separate Jersey report faced similar accusations that some editorial control had been placed on the research due to the funding provided by Jersey Finance.

Express Jersey reported that "follow-up reports have now revealed a Jersey link, with Jersey Finance revealed to have paid for research that was later used as “ammunition” to persuade a cabinet minister that Jersey and Guernsey shouldn’t face tougher regulation.

"But the organisation, which aims to promote the island as an international finance centre, denied having any editorial say in the publication, simply stating that it was keen to invest in research that "helps develop conversations around international finance centres (IFCs) and their role in global finance.” "

Mr Singham himself continues to be a controversial figure - having been criticised for having "unparalleled access to governments." He has stepped down from advising the UK's Brexit trade department in the last six weeks following reports such as this one  which criticised his role as a lobbyist.

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Pictured: Mr Singham appeared at an event in Guernsey organised by Guernsey Finance in June where he presented the findings of his Brexit based report 

Mr Singham's report was published online in May 2018 and he appeared at an event in Guernsey in June where he presented his findings. That was attended by invited business journalists as is routine for events organised under the We are Guernsey banner.

The report itself has not been criticised and a States of Guernsey spokesman insists it is not linked with the Jersey Finance funded report being criticised.

In a statement, Express was told contributing to work such as this report is essential in protecting the island's economy as Brexit pans out. 

“The States of Guernsey and the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, as part of Guernsey’s Brexit planning and policy development, contributed to technical research being carried out by a think tank about the future of the post-Brexit financial services regulatory environment – an area of economic importance to the Bailiwick.  The results of this analysis, which were published by the IEA when the authors subsequently joined the organisation, used the “We are Guernsey” brand to reflect Guernsey’s support of the work.  One of the authors of the report visited the island to give a public talk on the analysis and report itself.   Relevant business journalists were invited to attend and report on the talk. Contributing to such work helps ensure that relevant research is carried out with a view to providing better understanding the landscape of financial services.  In this case the results have fed Guernsey’s work to prepare the Bailiwick for the UK’s exit from the EU.”

 

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