Cyprus was historically Russia's financial entrance into the European Union taking receipt of the majority of that business following Malta's introduction of stringent Anti-Money Laundering (AML). The main products offered were 10% companies and it had recently introduced a scheme for reducing the VAT on the import of pleasure yachts in the EU. In any case Cyprus' economy recently collapsed following that of Greece and talks are underway regarding bailout options which look likely to include the freezing of funds in Cyprus and a flat rate taxation on balances held there.


Gibraltar is a small peninsula attached to the South of Spain at the top of the entrance to the Mediterranean. It remains British despite ongoing sovereignty claims from Spain. Gibraltar is a tax haven offering 0% tax companies (the situation is in effect that all companies pay 10% unless they have no real presence in Gibraltar, as is the case for the vast majority). Gibraltar enjoys a special relationship in being a member of the EU based on its connection with the UK but with a very beneficial tax regime and does not have VAT.


Luxembourg enjoys an excellent international reputation as one of the founder members of the European Union and home to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It however suffers somewhat from its reputation as an overly bureaucratic country with an unduly complex and esoteric tax system. Luxembourg retains its historic position as the financial services capital of Europe and a centre of excellence for the fund industry despite some recent concerns about the adequacy of its consumer protection provisions.


Malta is the smallest member of the European Union (EU) and has one of the fastest growing finance sectors in the world. Malta enjoys the lowest tax rate in the EU, excellent regulation and a highly skilled but affordable workforce. English is the first language and Italian is widely spoken. The currency is the euro and the timezone is GMT +1. Malta offers low tax companies, trusts and funds as well as some products aimed at UK expats such as QROPS.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is home to the second largest financial centre in the world. Its financial markets are amongst the largest and most active in the world and it has a seat at the top table of international affairs. The UK enjoys an excellent reputation, world-class regulatory infrastructure and very low corruption. It leads the way in the international fight against tax evasion despite having historically established the majority of offshore financial centres.

Offshore Countries

Offshore countries are typified by having no corporation tax (at least for foreigners), low or no income tax (or a cap on the maximum amount of income tax payable) and an economy principally based on financial services. Offshore centers vary in reputation depending on many factors (some reasonable such as regulatory infrastructure, due diligence requirements etc. and other seemingly fickle such as current media attention and current opinion).