24 January 2019

Comment from Jimmy Sexton linked to the story "Law professor slams tax CEO for saying he'll bring ring girls to conference"

"I am not sure how detailed of a comment you are looking for, so here it goes:

Who said I joking about bringing ring girls to a tax conference—you haven’t seen my ring girls! People need to stop being so sensitive. Not everything has to be stogy and boring in the tax world. 

My tweet was triggered by my annoyance with something published by the Tax Justice Network, the anti-business organization led by Alex Cobham. I was on a few panels with Alex and Ronen Palan at a conference put on by Taxlinked and knocked them both out intellectually. In fact, Alex couldn’t take it and left after the first day.

Anyway, both Alex and Ronen favor public Registers of Beneficial Owners, which are dangerous and ineffective—and, basically, complete nonsense. 

First, its no one’s business who owns what. 

Second, putting someone’s ownership of entities in a the public domain is dangerous; especially for wealthy people. It can lead to extortion, kidnapping, and frivolous lawsuits. 

Third, they are ineffective. Criminals will just lie about who the beneficial owner is, they are criminals after all. You think Pablo Escobar would have properly listed himself as the beneficial owner of an entity? Hell no. And, without criminals telling the truth in registers of beneficial owners, they have no hope of stopping any illicit activity. 

Fourth, history has proven that governments can't always be trusted. Giving them all this information is dangerous. Imagine if the Nazis had had lists of everyone's assets?

Finally, they hinder legitimate business. With all the regulation imposed on businesses already, just setting up a company and opening a bank account is quite cumbersome. In fact, many would be entrepreneurs can’t afford to start businesses because of the regulatory burdens. Adding registers of beneficial owners to list of required compliance only exacerbate the problem and has no hope of stopping any crime.

It’s also important to point out that organizations, like the Tax Justice Network, distort information to their benefit. What they fail to tell you is that their own data shows that over 99% of business is completely legitimate, which proves that crime isn’t rampant and registers of beneficial owners aren’t necessary. These organizations need to justify their own existence to secure their future, so they promote causes to increase tax revenue and benefit governments. Let’s not forget who funds these organizations, mostly governments (directly or indirectly through other NGOs) who get their funding from taxes.

Both Alex and Ronen are nice enough guys on a personal level, but their beliefs and the causes they champion are just wrong. Neither one of them should be involved in things they know nothing about; i.e. business. Both of these men are academics and have no clue how the real world or business works. They have no business interjecting themselves and their beliefs in to something they know nothing about—they should go get some real world business experience before opining.

So, if they want to jump in the ring, I’ll knock them out in there too—in front of ring girls.

Best,

Jimmy Sexton, LL.M. 
Founder & CEO 
Esquire Group"

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