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WASHINGTON-U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill signed a tax agreement with United Kingdom Ambassador sir Christopher Meyer and Cayman Island Governor Peter J. Smith CBE to exchange information with the Cayman Islands. O’Neill noted that the Caymans, a well-known tax haven for many off-shore accounts, have been working with the U.S. since 1990 in the hunt for terrorist assets. Cooperation over jurisdictional lines is crucial following the September 11 attacks, he said. “The Cayman Islands is undeniably the most important financial center in the Caribbean and ranks among the largest and most important financial centers in the world,” O’Neill said. “This tax information exchange agreement we are signing today represents a significant development in the cooperative relationship between the Cayman Islands and the United States and in our efforts to prevent our financial institutions from being used to further illegal activities.” O’Neill added that he hopes this deal will set a precedent for other “major financial centers.”

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