Ireland is profiting from a crackdown against tax havens by the G20 developed and emerging economies due to its low taxes, according to Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan..

Mr Lenihan was quoted by the business daily Handelsblatt as saying that Ireland would profit because it is not classified as a tax haven in the United States or the European Union.

He said investors that had assets in English-speaking tax havens were already coming to Ireland, adding that Ireland's taxes of 12% were still relatively low compared to other countries.

Finance ministers from the Group of 20 economies agreed over the weekend to identify tax havens and take counter measures against them.

In anticipation, several European countries including Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland said last week they would relax banking secrecy laws to provide more cooperation against tax cheats.

Elsewhere, Mr Lenihan has told the Financial Times that Ireland is planning to introduce tough legislation to clamp down on what the paper describes as 'crony capitalism' and excess bank lending in the wake of the property bubble.

The Financial Times says the measures will include a ban on cross-directorships and on chief executives becoming chairmen.

'There is a problem in all small countries with too many incestuous relationships,' the Financial Times quotes the minister as saying.

Mr Lenihan also told the paper the Irish economy had 'fallen off a cliff' because of a 'classic property bubble'.