Mauritius remains a jurisdiction of repute despite allegations
While the ‘Mauritius Leaks’ report – produced out of hacked unconfirmed information – negatively tries to describe Mauritius as a “tiny Indian Ocean tax haven” that apparently assists multinational companies to avoid paying taxes in Africa, it also points out that the jurisdiction has not been used to conduct any illegal activities.
The ‘Mauritius Leaks’ report, released on July 23rd by an independent group of journalists, depicts a negative image of and discredits the Mauritius International Financial Centre (IFC) by using sensational headlines, derogatory declarations, half-truths and out of context information.
Nonetheless, the information it contains should be taken with a pinch of salt as the report itself recognises that “offshore companies and trusts have legitimate uses” and that it does “not intend to suggest or imply that the people or companies or other entities… have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly”. And rightly so, when deciding to invest, an investor is free to choose where to invest, in which sector and through which legal structure, which is legitimate.
The ‘Mauritius Leaks’ report also connotes the signing of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements (DTAAs) with tax malpractices. Yet, one should note that nations (i.e. governments) freely sign DTAAs with a view of mutually improving their investment climate and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Mauritius also remains a collaborative and compliant jurisdiction, recognised by prominent international bodies worldwide, that promotes trade and investments into Africa.
Indeed, Mauritius is committed to comply with international standards and best practices. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rates the country as fully compliant with standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. In May 2019, ESAAMLG reported that Mauritius has demonstrated significant progress in meeting technical compliance, obtaining an upgrade of 11 FATF (Financial Action Task Force) recommendations. In addition, Mauritius is among the first countries to sign the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of Country-by-Country Reports of the OECD in June 2015.
Furthermore, through its stable economy, conducive business environment, strong legal framework, skilled professional workforce, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recognises the role of Mauritius in facilitating the flow of FDI. In its World Investment Report 2019, it also points out the role of the island nation in the development of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs), creation of jobs and infrastructure development in Africa.
The Mauritian government has always been working with international organisations to align with global best practices. We wish to reassure all our partners that we operate out of a globally recognised jurisdiction and we have in place robust systems and procedures to safeguard privacy and confidentiality of information.
Click here for the joint communiqué by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ministry of Financial Services and Good Governance, the Financial Services Commission, and the Economic Development Board of Mauritius.