George Osborne in blacklist threat to countries that fail to comply on tax


Countries that refuse to "play by the rules" on tax transparency will be blacklisted, George Osborne has announced.

The Chancellor, who is in Washington, said an international agreement had been struck to tackle tax havens that flout the rules.

It comes after weeks of turmoil for the Government during which Mr Osborne joined Prime Minister David Cameron in revealing details of his private finances in the wake of the Panama Papers leak regarding offshore companies.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of G20 finance ministers, Mr Osborne said: "We've got international agreement to a black list of tax havens and that means we can get global action against those who don't play by the rules. The world is getting a much colder place for the hotspots of international tax evasion."

It comes after a crackdown on international tax dodging to "lift the veil of secrecy" that criminals hide under was agreed.

The deal to share information on the true owners of companies will make it harder for criminals to channel corrupt gains or evade tax.

Under the move, tax and law enforcement agencies from Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain will exchange information regarding beneficial ownership registers, and new registers of trusts, which, the Chancellor says, will allow for better investigation of financial wrongdoing.

Mr Osborne, along with counterparts from Germany, France, Italy and Spain, wrote to fellow G20 members urging them to build upon the system of European co-operation agreed in order to remove "the veil of secrecy under which criminals operate".