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Sweden closes in on tax havens

In cooperation with its Nordic neighbours, Sweden is putting more pressure on tax havens to loosen their secrecy laws in the hopes of complicating matters for people trying to avoid paying Swedish taxes.

Sweden closes in on tax havens

Within the year, Sweden’s Tax Authority (Skatteverket) will likely ink an agreement with at least one tax haven that will allow the agency to access information on companies, accounts, and banking transactions.

“I believe there is a very good possibility that we’ll get at least one, or perhaps more, information exchange agreements before the end of the year,” said Torsten Fensby, project leader for Nordic the tax haven project, to Sveriges Radio.

The Copenhagen-based Nordic Council has been negotiating with several tax havens which have rules making it easier for people to avoid paying Swedish taxes.

While a full list of countries with which the group is negotiating hasn’t been made public, the Nordic Council has announced that discussions were underway with Guernsey, Jersey, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, and the British Virgin Islands.

Last autumn the group also reached a deal with the Isle of Man which included agreements on an air and sea access, taxes on physical people, and the treatment of internal pricing questions in exchange for an information sharing agreement.

The Swedish Tax Authority reckons that Sweden loses out on 46 billion kronor ($7.65 billion) in tax revenues annually because of people placing their money offshore.

However, the new agreement won’t affect tax revenues in Sweden, according to Fensby.

“What will likely happen is that capital will shift to another state which has secrecy laws. But the inescapable fact is that every new agreement reduces the playing field for those who devote themselves to international tax avoidance,” he said.

BOMB

Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority

Two Swedish citizens are suspected in connection with last week’s explosion at the Danish Tax Agency. One of the two is in police custody.

Denmark suspects two Swedes over explosion at tax authority
Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov addresses the press. Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

Copenhagen Police superintendent Jørgen Bergen Skov confirmed the arrests to press on Wednesday morning.

“Both individuals are suspected of carrying out the detonation at the Tax Agency,” Skov said.

One man, aged 22, was arrested in Swedish city Malmö on Tuesday and will be extradited to Denmark. Once he reaches Copenhagen he will appear for preliminary court proceedings, which the prosecution will request take place behind closed doors.

Swedish newspaper Kvällsposten reports the 22-year-old has no previous criminal convictions in the country.

The second man, a 23-year-old, is yet to be detained but an international arrest warrant for him has been issued, Skov said.

“During the night, we also searched several addresses in Sweden. We hereby confiscated what we believe to be a car used by the suspects,” he said.

“We have one suspect on the loose, which means we must be careful about what we say, out of consideration for the investigation,” he added.

The superintendent did not add any detail about how police were able to connect the two individuals to the August 6th explosion.

Skov also stressed that police do not believe the tax authority blast to be connected to a similar incident at a police station in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro neighbourhood in the early hours of Saturday.

“There is nothing to suggest (a connection),” he said.

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