May 31, 2019

Barclays: border squirmish

Some might have second thoughts, after allegations that Barclays has gone back to making profits from tax avoidance. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that the remnants of a controversial structured finance unit - axed in 2013 after criticisms of "Industrial scale tax avoidance" - was still gaming loopholes in tax laws. If it happens close to the date of a dividend payment, it may attract scrutiny from tax authorities. The "Cum-ex" tax fraud - involving two different companies claiming a tax credit on the same dividend - has cost German and other European taxpayers tens of billions of euros. Barclays' past exploits expose it to reputational risk on tax matters.

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