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South African Investors Warming To Amnesty Says IoM Banker

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

09 September 2003


After an initially luke-warm response to the South African exchange control amnesty, Robin James, chairman of Singer and Friedlander in the Isle of Man, has noted a radical shift in opinion amongst South African investors who are now much more keen to take advantage of the scheme.

"To start with, not many people were minded to take up the amnesty," observed Mr James in a Newsmann report. "The mood has now shifted radically with people now looking at it very seriously. At the moment a lot of our South African client base are assessing the impact of the amnesty. And that is quite an important issue (in terms of S&F's approach) because it had an impact on whether they continue with existing structures or whether we amend those," added James.

One of the major reasons for the shift in opinion amongst South African investors according the S&F chairman was the realisation of a growing trend towards transparency in the international banking system after pressure from governments and global and regional organisations.

"The amnesty has major implications for South African clients and I think they ignore it at their peril," warned Mr James, adding "the consequences of being caught by the South African Authorities later on are not funny."

The exchange control amnesty which commenced on June 1 and runs until November 30 2003 exempts investors from civil or criminal prosecution when they bring their offshore investments back to South Africa, though a five per cent tax will be levied on repatriated monies.


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