Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 9th 2013 Contents A37
June 9, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
TORONTO---A leading Canadian bank
here says it is committed to complying
with the United States Internal Rev-
enue Service s (IRS) request for infor-
mation about US taxpayers who may
hold offshore accounts at a Caribbean
Last month, the IRS filed a "John
Doe" summons requesting information
on an unknown number of unnamed
people against US taxpayers with off-
shore accounts at the Barbados-based
FirstCaribbean International Bank
(FCIB), who it suspects of having used
accounts with the bank as part of efforts
to illegally evade US tax. FCIB has
branches in 18 Caribbean countries.
The Toronto-headquartered Cana-
dian Imperial Bank of Commerce
(CIBC) has a majority stake in FCIB.
"We are committed to complying
with all laws and regulatory require-
ments," said CIBC in a statement.
"We are working with Wells Fargo,
our correspondent bank, to understand
the nature of the order. It is our inten-
tion to co-operate with authorities in
accordance with the respective laws of
all jurisdictions involved," the statement
FCIB was formed in 2002 from the
merger of Barclays banking operations
in the Caribbean and those of CIBC.
Barclays said it maintained a large
shareholding in the resultant company
of more than 40 per cent until Decem-
ber 2006, when it sold the stake.
The IRS request for information
extends back to 2004, during the period
of Barclays co-ownership of FCIB, and
also details some activity directly involv-
ing Barclays branches in the Caribbean
before the formation of FCIB.
A witness statement filed in support
of the summons by IRS agent Cheryl
Kiger details how, during her investi-
gation into a leak of offshore data, she
came across information suggesting
FCIB and Barclays accounts may have
been used by tax evaders.
"I discovered information about a
US taxpayer (Taxpayer 1) who had
opened numerous bank accounts at
FCIB and its predecessor Barclays bank
in a Caribbean jurisdiction in his own
name and in the names of various shell
companies he controlled," Kiger wrote.
The summons uses the fact that the
US bank, Wells Fargo, maintained "cor-
respondent" accounts to access its off-
shore accounts from within the United
States as part of the basis for its claim.
The summons is seeking information
on customers of FCIB or its predecessors
who may have avoided US tax.
It makes no application for infor-
mation on the activities of the banks
themselves, and nor does it suggest the
banks had any intention of supporting,
or direct knowledge of, such activities
by their customers.
However, the summons detail how
such private banking arrangements, and
the use of "correspondent" accounts
to allow easy access to such funds, help
facilitate such potential tax evasion.
Steven T Miller, the IRS acting com-
missioner, said the summons "mark
another milestone in international tax
"Our work here shows our resolve
to pursue these cases in all parts of the
world, regardless of whether the person
hiding money overseas chooses a bank
with no offices on US soil," he said.
WASHINGTON DC---The Inter-Amer-
ican Development Bank (IDB) and the
United Nations Office for Project Serv-
ices (UNOPS) have signed an agree-
ment to promote and support Central
American and Caribbean public and
private-sector work in sustainable pro-
curement, infrastructure, and project
The IDB says the agreement strength-
ens ties between the institutions, which
will work to identify and share best prac-
tices in project management and will
assess the implementation of IDB proj-
ects in small countries.
"To advance the adoption of best
practices and innovative project delivery
models, the IDB and UNOPS will co-
ordinate meetings and workshops with
public- and private-sector decision-
IDB general manager for Mexico, the
Central American Isthmus and the
Dominican Republic, Gina Montiel said:
"The synergies between the two insti-
tutions will contribute to more efficient
and transparent implementation of ini-
tiatives and improve the development
impact of projects in the region s smaller
and more vulnerable countries."
UNOPS regional director for Latin
America and the Caribbean Fabrizio Feli-
ciani said that "by bringing together our
decades of experience in implementing
development projects, this agreement
will allow us to make a greater contri-
bution to the promotion and adoption
of project management and procurement
best practices throughout the region."
The IDB is the leading source of devel-
opment financing for Latin America and
the Caribbean, with a strong commit-
ment to achieve measurable results,
increased integrity, transparency and
accountability. Its evolving reform agenda
seeks to increase the bank s development
impact in the region.
UNOPS, an operational arm of the
United Nations, is mandated as a central
resource for infrastructure and procure-
ment projects in the United Nations sys-
IDB, UNOPS fund
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