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New EU list of global tax havens released, 4 Caribbean countries named

The announcement comes less than a month after the publication of the Paradise Papers, a global leak containing information about individuals and companies holding offshore finances.

Le Maire is reported to have said that other 47 jurisdictions are included in a public "grey" list of countries that are now not compliant with European Union standards but have committed to change their tax rules.

Another 47 jurisdictions were included Tuesday in a "grey list".

The EU said South Korea has "harmful preferential tax regimes" and did not commit to amending or abolishing them by 31 December 2018, according to its release.

The news comes as the European Union moves to clamp down on tax avoidance by non-compliant countries and discourage the use of shell structures overseas.

EU Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said after a meeting of the bloc's finance ministers that beyond the 17 nations, over 40 more were put on a "gray list" to be monitored until they are fully committed to reforms.

"The list appears to be a politically-led list, that includes only the economically weak and politically unconnected", it said.

Though being hailed as a vital "first step", the failure of the member states to come to an agreement on any sanctions for those blacklisted provoked the European commissioner for economic and financial affairs, Pierre Moscovici, to openly admit it was as yet "an insufficient response".

"This initiative is already proving its value, as numerous countries have worked to meet the deadline for making commitments on the basis of our criteria", he said. On top of agreeing on the final blacklist, there were also considerations being made for the Caribbean countries that had been damaged during hurricanes earlier this year. Even so, one can not be classified as a tax haven only because you missed a deadline. Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable accused Downing Street of helping the super-rich hide their cash.

British officials dismiss such accusations, saying London is at the forefront of tackling avoidance and ensuring tax transparency.

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