The Bahamas as an Offshore Jurisdiction

Bahamian banking secrecy is somewhat misleading in that that banking institutions are prohibited from divulging a clients or account holders information to a third party without the clear consent of the account holder (think Americans may have to sign waivers when opening an account) or under a Bahamian court order. The bad part is that banking institutions are freely permitted to divulge that a particular person or company does in fact have an account with that bank. While the bank cannot, according to Bahamian law, divulge specific details or account balances, they certainly can divulge who their account holders are. This means wholesale fishing expeditions are a distinct possibility, for example give us a list of every account holder from a certain country. No wonder 45% of the deposits have left Bahamas banks since they went to this new legislation that compromises bank secrecy severely.

Bahamas corporations are not Bearer share and thus not anonymous. Interestingly enough a Bahamas LLC can not engage in business in the Bahamas or own real estate in the Bahamas, more negatives.

The Bahamas gets about 5 cruise ships a day on average with each cruise ship averaging about 2500 people. If we figure that each person on average spends $50 at port and that there is a head tax of about $20 per person coming to the Bahamas we can see why the Bahamas compromised their secrecy and privacy. If they didn’t they would risk losing their tourism business which employs more people than their banking ever did and also generates more revenue. The Bahamas was once a decent jurisdiction but they sold out to protect their largest industry – tourism. They have large beachfront hotels, gambling casinos, fishing, diving etc all more lucrative than their offshore banking was.

Bahamas fails to provide anything resembling a level of privacy that we require so stay away is our advice.