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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Feb. 14, 2023: EU finance ministers on Feb. 14th slapped the British Virgin Islands on the bloc’s blacklist for tax havens.

The updated roster now holds 16 countries with the new entrants being the BVI, Russia, Costa Rica and the Marshall Islands. The move is part of the EU’s efforts to name and shame foreign nations that it says helps facilitate services that allow companies and wealthy people to avoid paying tax.

The new list comprises American Samoa, Anguilla, the Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Fiji, Guam, Marshall Islands, Palau, Panama, Russia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.

Countries on the list are hit with administrative penalties from EU capitals and are restricted from some EU funding. Russia’s inclusion on the list is unrelated to the war in Ukraine. Ministers put the country on the gray list for tax havens this time last year as a warning shot.

Despite the four new additions, anti-poverty NGO Oxfam International remained critical. 

“Regardless of today’s update, the EU’s tax havens blacklist remains a joke,” Chiara Putaturo, Oxfam EU’s tax expert, wrote in an email. “Zero and low-tax rate countries should be automatically blacklisted, and European countries should face the same level of scrutiny. Until this happens, the EU tax havens blacklist will remain a total whitewash.”

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