Other Tax Havens Step In as Banks in Cyprus Falter

Bloodied by a harsh bailout deal that drives a stake through the heart of this Mediterranean country’s oversize financial industry, Cyprus now faces a further blow to its role as an offshore tax haven: the vultures from competing countries are circling.

With a flood of e-mails and phone calls in recent days to lawyers and accountants here who make a living from helping wealthy Russians and others avoid taxes, competitors in alternative financial centers across Europe and beyond are promoting their own skills at keeping money hidden and safe.

“We are aware of the economic problems facing Cyprus at the moment,” read one such message, sent by a law firm in Malta, a fellow member of the euro zone. “We would like to propose an avenue of action for your consideration: offering corporate relocation to Malta,” continued the business pitch, trumpeting Malta’s low taxes and “flexible yet robust regime” for financial services.


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