New Zealand to review foreign trust laws

Wellington, April 11: The New Zealand government on Monday said it will review its foreign trust laws and suggested such trusts are being used to avoid taxes.

"Ministers decided that in light of the 'Panama Papers' being released last week, it's worth looking at whether the disclosure rules are fit for purpose and whether there are practical improvements we can make," Finance Minister Bill English said.

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According to reports, vulnerability in New Zealand's legal framework has allowed several offshore firms to evade taxes through trusts in the country, EFE news reported.

English said the review would focus on disclosure rules for foreign trusts, and deal with implementing a greater exchange of information with other tax jurisdictions.

Mexican businessman Juan Armando Hinojosa and Malta's energy minister Konrad Mizzi are among those possessing foreign trusts in New Zealand, through the Mossack Fonseca law firm.

The Panama Papers leak involves 11.5 million documents from one of the world's largest offshore law firms, Mossack Fonseca that specialises in managing assets in tax havens, and mentions more than 140 politicians and high officials or their relatives around the world.


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