universal jurisdiction and international taxation busy week

Between universal jurisdiction and international taxation, it has been a busy week at Del Canto Chambers

Our visit to London; the principle of universal jurisdiction in New York; the Apple Inc. case; and the revenue-raising antics by means of corporate tax employed by the Spanish government have kept us busy this week at Del Canto Chambers

At Del Canto Chambers, as we approach the end of the summer and brush away any feelings of nostalgia, we have been analysing the application of international law on the principle of universal jurisdiction to prevent impunity for crimes against humanity; the Apple Inc. case; and the revenue-raising tricks the Spanish government is implementing through corporate tax.

The week began in London, at our headquarters on 218 Strand, where we met with several media groups in the UK capital and visited various clients with whom we continue to look at how Brexit may affect their residential and financial position, as well as the BEPS project.

We also converged with our collaborator Julio Prieto with whom we discussed several issues of international law relating to Brexit. As members of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain we held a meeting with Cristina Carmona, exploring opportunities for promotion and launching new campaigns for our firm.

We also caught up with journalist Ben Stupples to discuss issues of international taxation in national title Bloomberg BNA. As a result, Fernando Del Canto was quoted in the journalist’s detailed analysis of the Apple Inc. case.

We continued the week in New York, where our Managing Partner, Leon Fernando del Canto participated in a conference entitled “Universal Jurisdiction: From Nuremberg to Our Days: A discussion on its application on concrete cases “, at the UN headquarters in New York which brought together many world experts in the field.

The conference was organized by the International Foundation Baltasar Garzon (FIBGAR) and the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica and speakers included former Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon; the prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Senegal, Demba Kandji; the coordinator against the jihadist struggle of the Spanish National Court, Dolores Delgado; and former prosecutor of the Nuremberg trials, Benjamin Ferencz (by videoconference).

This event was supported by the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) and Del Canto Chambers was one of the companies sponsoring the event; and among the novelties presented by the speakers we would like to highlight that economic crimes and crimes against the environment were considered to be crimes against humanity, as well as the identification of the principle of universal jurisdiction with full equality of citizens before the law.

The principle of universal jurisdiction allows for anyone who has committed a crime against humanity (including torture, genocide, forced disappearances and terrorism) to be pursued anywhere in the world.

This legal principle has allowed for crimes against humanity to stop and, in some cases, convict major criminals. Most recently the former dictator of Chad, Hissene Habre was sentenced to life imprisonment in Senegal on 30 May.

In other news, Claudio Rodríguez Vera, attorney at our firm Del Canto Chambers, wrote about the recent fine that the European Commission imposed on Apple Inc. Rodríguez Vera criticizes the fiscal framework through which the US multinational paid less tax in Ireland than it should have for its income in Europe.

Rodríguez Vera considers these tax arrangements unfair for taxpayers and domestic enterprises; these structures are often being used by multinationals and are being fought by organizations such as the OECD with the BEPS project.

Finally we analyse the Spanish government’s introduction of new instalments for the payment of corporate tax when only a few months ago they had withdrawn this possibility. This measure has been widely criticized and seems to be a clear attempt at raising more revenue.

We believe that this proposal is both inconsistent and unnecessary because the state can resort to other methods of financing such as issuing debt or bonds rather than direct taxes such as corporate tax; this is a mere escape route for the possible fine Brussels might impose on Spain for throwing over the deficit goals and a trick to obtain cash quickly to cover state costs, sacrificing tax security in Spain.

These were the issues on our agenda this week at Del Canto Chambers and we look forward to sharing our work with you in another seven days.

Xavier Nova (@xavinova)
Director of Del Canto Chambers

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