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Holding up the Isle of Man law for five years

By Çiğdem Toker
Yayınlanma tarihi: 30 Kasım 2017 Perşembe, 11:32

The President and AKP General Chair Tayyip Erdoğan said:
“My children, brother, brother-in-law and son’s father-in-law supposedly sent millions of dollars abroad. (...) The accuser must prove his claim. I ask this individual, whose name I no longer stoop to using, are there documents for the claims? If so, bring them out before the nation and I will immediately do what is called for. Otherwise come out before the nation and say that you have cast an aspersion and apologise.”
And CHP General Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu showed the SWIFT documents for millions of dollars that were sent to the Isle of Man by relatives and associates. He then asked, “Why are you sending millions of dollars to a one-pound-sterling company?”
Was it not the AKP that recently put a tax on lemonade to cover the budget deficit?
As such, with reference to the public funds that consist of our taxes, the basic question that must not be lost sight of is:
“Why are millions of dollars sent from Turkey to a one-pound-sterling company?” is a valid and, moreover, deficient question. This question must be accompanied by the questions, “If indeed it is official commerce, was tax paid on it or was there evasion and what were the amounts evaded?”
The Isle of Man issue, from its tax evasion perspective, resembles the tax issue surrounding Prime-Minister Binali Yıldırım’s son’s shipping company in Malta that came to light with the Paradise Papers. Let us recap: according to the Corporation Tax Law, payments made to a company established in a tax-haven country are supposed to be subject to a 30% withholding tax. However, to enable this, the names of the tax havens needed to have been proclaimed in a Cabinet decision.
Had the AKP rulership shown this resolve, the Isle of Man would most probably have appeared on that list.
This was not done. But, there is an important step that was taken. Another agreement was signed with the Isle of Man that could have had tax consequences.
The date of the agreement bearing the signatures of President of Revenue Administration Mehmet Kilci on behalf of the Republic of Turkey and Treasury Minister William Edward Teare on behalf of the Isle of Man government was 21 September 2012. It was signed in London.
We are talking about five years ago. That is, one year after 2011 in which Bellway Limited that features in Kılıçdaroğlu’s documents was established.
For this 2012 agreement to enter into force, it had to be incorporated into domestic law and, to this end, it had to be ratified in a law to be passed by parliament.
Do you know when the law on the agreement signed five years ago was passed?
On 8 March 2017. That is, eight months ago. So, this law was enacted, but when did the Cabinet approve this ratified procedure?
21 July 2017. That is, four months ago.
The Cabinet resolution bearing the signatures of Erdoğan, Yıldırım and the government members is entitled as follows:
“Ratification of the Agreement for the Exchange of Information Relating to Tax Matters Between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Isle of Man Government, and the Memorandum of Understanding relating to the said agreement.”

This text covers the conducting of the exchange of information and mutual assistance concerning taxes imposed on income or earnings on the Isle of Man and income tax and corporation tax in Turkey
Had this law not been held up for five years, Bellway Limited, established in 2011, would perhaps have incurred a different tax liability.

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Binali Yıldırım, Çiğdem Toker, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu