ACE CEO Criticizes Offshore Tax Avoidance Schemes

September 12, 2002

Brian Duperreault, CEO of Bermuda’s ACE Ltd., spoke out strongly against U.S. companies that relocate their domicile to the island to avoid taxes, indicating that accepting them could damage Bermuda’s reputation.

According to a report from Reuters News Agency, ACE’s CEO told a Rotary Club meeting in Bermuda’s capital Hamilton on Tuesday that setting up “shell” operations there to avoid taxes was wrong. “I think they were wrong to do so and I believe Bermuda has lowered the bar in accepting them to our shores,” the article quoted Duperreault

Authorities had given the company the green light to issue up to 35 million new shares to more than 100,000 employees in 29 countries.

In further remarks Duperreault stated that, “Having fought so hard to earn the imprimatur of ‘blue-chip jurisdiction,’ it doesn’t make sense to risk that hard-won reputation by allowing companies to invert from the U.S. without asking them to bring something more than the cost of incorporation to Bermuda,” the report continued.

As the head of Bermuda’s largest global insurer, Duperreault’s remarks could carry some weight in the industry. He’s concerned that legislation to prevent moves by such companies as Stanley Works, Ingersoll-Rand and others to a Bermuda domicile will spill over into laws that will harm businesses that are genuinely located there.

He made his concerns perfectly clear to Reuters, stating that, “I’m not talking about organizations who incorporate subsidiaries to Bermuda to facilitate the management of their business. I’m talking specifically about companies who say they’re making Bermuda their home, but in reality, they are staying right where they are.”

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