Mauritius says won’t allow shell companies to operate from its soil

Mauritius today assured India that it will not allow shell companies to operate from its soil as the two countries plan to start next round of talks on revising the decades old double taxation agreement later this month.

"We want investors from India who come to Mauritius to add substance to what they do. We don't want shell companies and we will refuse shell companies because they are of no use to us, no use to India," Mauritius Finance Minister Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo told reporters here.

"In fact we are doing in Mauritius what Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi is doing here. We are cleaning the house", he said, while assuring full cooperation with Indian authorities to put orders in the system.

The minister sought to dispel "the impression" of Mauritius being "infamous" in relation to the DTAC, saying there should be no doubt that Mauritius "is and has become a clean financial sector".

Negotiations to amend the Indo-Mauritius Double Taxation Avoidance Convention (DTAC) have been hanging fire for a long time amid India's apprehensions that it is being misused to route unaccounted money and evade taxes.

A Joint Working Group has been set up to find a mutually acceptable solution towards revision of the pact. About 10 meetings of the JWG have taken place so far.

Lutchmeenaraidoo said officials from the two sides will meet here on June 29-30 for technical discussions on the DTAC.

"We have submitted a draft protocol for the first time to the government. The draft protocol will be used as a basis to finalise all discussions," he said, though he did not share details of citing protocol issues. 

Lutchmeenaraidoo further said: "Now there has been an impression created in india...of an infamous Mauritius.

Treating Mauritius as an (regard to) the DTAC is not good matter for India, not for Mauritius because it doesn't reflect what it is...a win-win situation."

He said India, through the DTAC, has received billions of dollars of investments and Mauritius too has benefited, including on job front.

The minister added however that there has been two or three "rotten tomatoes from India who have tried to use Mauritius as a hiding place for their ill gotten gains".

He added: "I fully understand that India want a clean India...we will do everything in Mauritius. We will collaborate totally with and we have also and we will continue to collaborate totally with Indian authorities when it comes to put orders in the system, when it comes to cleansing, good governance, when it comes to accountability of people...

"In fact we are doing in Mauritius what Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi is doing here. We are cleaning the house."

The minister also invited Indian investments, including in fishery port and exploration of petroleum products.

Investments from Mauritius to India have totalled USD 87.55 billion since April 2000.

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