The Cayman Islands government has paid a total of $112,423 as of October to have a law firm advocate for the territory’s financial services industry in the United States Congress, according to filings with the U.S. Justice Department.
Government hired the multinational law firm Baker Botts to represent Cayman in September 2017 as lawmakers in the U.S. prepared to debate President Donald Trump’s proposed overhaul to the country’s federal tax system.
U.S. legislators passed tax reform in late December – President Donald Trump called the tax cuts a “big, beautiful Christmas present” for Americans – but government continued to have Baker Botts represent its interests in Washington, D.C.
Former Baker Botts partner Jeff Munk, who was the firm’s official advocate for Cayman, now continues to represent Cayman through his new firm Munk Policy & Law.
Government has continued to have a firm represent its interests in the U.S. to stay up-to-date on policy changes there, and to explain Cayman’s role as an international finance center, according to statements from Ministry of Financial Services officials.
In April, for instance, Baker Botts organized a meeting between Ministry of Financial Services officials and U.S. Senate Finance Committee members to discuss the new U.S. tax reform laws and their impact on international investment.
“Cayman’s team also met Mr. Ryan Abraham and Mr. Chris Arneson, tax counsels for the Democratic Party’s Senate Finance Committee members,” states a May press release from government.
Other meetings organized by Cayman’s representative include a September 2017 meeting between Department of Financial Services Senior Legislative Policy Advisor André Ebanks, Policy Officer Wilbur Welcome and several U.S. senators and congressmen.
Filings state that Mr. Munk attended meetings with legislators in June and July, but the filings do not detail what those meetings were about.
The latest payment made by government was $12,545 on Sept. 10, according to the filings.
Along with the meetings, Cayman’s representative has distributed to congressmen a three-page letter touting the fact that Cayman is a tax-neutral jurisdiction, that it has information exchange agreements with 112 other jurisdictions, and that it plays an important role in the global economy.
“Cayman hopes that in the debate over U.S. tax reform in Congress, this point is acknowledged without unnecessary criticism of Cayman, and legitimate international business transactions undertaken there, by U.S. persons and others,” the letter states.