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Thursday’s Daily News Digest

Scott Fahey

Analysis: Asia next in line of fire for U.S. tax police
Reuters, July 7, 2010

US to access Europeans’ bank data in new deal
BBC, July 8, 2010

A Liechtenstein disclosure: Bulk of LDF assets can stay put
International Adviser, July 7, 2010

‘No need to have previous criminal records to go to prison in new money laundering bill,’ Alak
Buenos Aires Herald, July 8, 2010

Nigeria asks for Akingbola’s arrest, extradition
Next (Nigeria), July 8, 2010

Anti-money laundering bill suffers setback
Next (Nigeria), July 8, 2010

Singapore To Host Asia Pacific Meeting On Money Laundering
Bernama, July 8, 2010

Deutsche Bahn sacks employees in foreign bribery scandal
The Local (Germany), July 8, 2010

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What could possibly go wrong in Ghana?

Tax Justice Network

Following on from Ghana’s recent World Cup defeat at the hands (literally) of Uruguay’s Suárez, Khadija Sharife has just posted a blog on how Ghanaian people are probably becoming victims of cheating on a far larger scale, albeit not so visible on television sets around the world.

Ghana is entering into its era of oil production. Before end-2010 the Jubilee oil field, one of Africa’s biggest offshore finds since the start of this century, could turn Ghana into the continent’s fifth largest oil-producing nation, bringing in upwards of $800 million a year. Happy days.

But dig a little deeper, and you find the first signs of the resource curse are readily discernible. As Sharife reports, ownership of the Kwame Nkrumah MV 21, the Floating Production Storage and Offloading facility used in the Ghanaian production programme, is obscured through offshore special purpose vehicles in the Netherlands, a country widely used as a conduit for shifting profits offshore.

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India dislikes OECD info exchange standard

John Christensen

Recently we blogged our rather harsh response to the OECD’s claim that its deeply flawed information exchange standard is “universally endorsed.” As if any more evidence were needed in support of our argument, see this in India’s Economic Times.

India will pitch for deeper tax information exchange agreements at the G-20 to make such pacts more effective in facilitating the flow of crucial data on tax evasion.

New Delhi is expected to present a detailed paper on the issue at the forthcoming Seoul meeting, urging that domestic laws of countries must support such agreements for effective information exchange. “These agreements should ensure that there is actual flow of information and benefits for countries entering them (agreements) in checking evasion,” said a finance ministry official privy to the discussions.

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Plan B for Jersey

Richard Murphy

Jersey is in a profound mess. Its finance industry is failing, with funds under management rapidly leaving the island and the profits of its finance sector falling by fifty per cent in 2009. Worse still, it faces a government spending deficit of at least £100 million a year representing 18% of its total annual government income unless radical reforms take place soon. To compound matters its corporate tax system faces being ruled unacceptable by the European Union, threatening another £120 million of its state income.

In the face of this crisis the government of Jersey has begun a fiscal strategy review. It has suggested increases in personal taxes amounting to £50 million a year and cutting government spending by the same amount will solve its problems, whilst adopting a new corporate tax system and planning for growth will keep the economy in balance.

There is however a fundamental problem at the heart of this plan: it does not address the fact that Jersey’s one and only major business – offshore finance – is failing in its current form. As such making choices on raising taxes are largely irrelevant because there may be little to tax if urgent action is not taken by Jersey to transform its future.

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Wednesday’s Daily News Digest

Scott Fahey

“With G-20 Influence… Comes G-20 Responsibility”
The Huffington Post, July 6, 2010

Youth Employment – A Must!
Daily Independent (Nigeria), July 6, 2010

World’s Best Tax Havens
Forbes, July 6, 2010

India likely to pitch for deeper tax information exchange at G-20 meet
Economic Times, July 7, 2010

Vanuatu upset by tax haven label
Australian Broadcasting Corporation, July 7, 2010

Africa’s poorest countries tax more aggressively
Afrique en Ligue, July 7, 2010

Panama’s Manuel Noriega convicted by French court
BBC, July 7, 2010

Nigeria: Money Laundering – Senate to the Rescue
Leadership (Nigeria), July 6, 2010

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Fighting Headwinds

Ann Hollingshead

This week, as U.S. families gathered to celebrate their nation’s 234 years of Independence, headlines worldwide announced signs the global economic recovery is stalling or, perhaps, even reversing.  The U.S. Labor Department reported that the world’s largest economy added just 83,000 private sector jobs in June and overall the nation lost a total of 125,000 jobs, as the U.S. Census temporary workers exited their jobs.  Other economic indicators boded ill as well, with auto sales rising a ho-hum 14% in June, sales of existing homes dropping 30% over the month of May, and consumer confidence slipping almost 10 points.

President Obama, speaking to reporters after the release of the June unemployment figures, offered the explanation that the U.S. “continues to fight headwinds from volatile global markets.”

The President was obliquely referring to Europe and Japan, where rising deficits and stubborn unemployment figures have led to falling confidence in the private sector and stock market plunges.  As the Great Recession has made abundantly clear, pulling the global economy out of such a deep hole will require coordinated effort from every major economy.  The U.S. will not be able to regain robust growth again without at least healthy growth from its industrial counterparts across the Atlantic.  And the same goes in other direction, as well.

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Tuesday’s Daily News Digest

Scott Fahey

Swiss accounts no longer an airtight option for corrupt Indonesian officials
The Jakarta Post, July 6, 2010

MEA to seek details of Hasan Ali’s Swiss accounts
Economic Times, July 3, 2010

As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Subsidies
New York Times, July 3, 2010

We’re no longer a tax haven
Cyprus Mail, July 3, 2010

HSBC Clients With Asian Accounts Said to Face U.S. Tax Probe
BusinessWeek, July 6, 2010

IRS Closing In On Offshore Accounts
Hartford Business Journal, July 5, 2010

$250m tax bill puts Toyota in the red
Sydney Morning Herald, July 6, 2010

Teddy Bear Sales Used in L.A. Money Laundering Scheme
Wall Street Journal, July 3, 2010

Ghana is not prepared to combat money laundering and terrorist financing- Report
Ghana News Agency, July 5, 2010

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Political, Drug-Related Assassination in Mexico: Another Gunshot to Mexican Economic Growth

Karly Curcio

Photograph by Will's Online World Paper Money Gallery

On June 28th, only six days before the election for governor of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, favored candidate Rodolfo Torre, was shot and killed by masked gunmen.  Torre was a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) whose main message commanded a fight against Mexico’s crippling drug activity. Drug-related violence and corruption continue to stifle efforts at economic and political stability and development in the country.

Mexico’s largest economic challenges are primarily reducing poverty and creating jobs, both of which are extremely hard to tackle with continued political violence and little trust by investors in the stability of Mexican markets.

According to the US Department of State 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Mexico is a major source of and a transit country for drugs entering the U.S. Approximately 90 percent of the cocaine that enters the US market is trafficked through Mexico. Clearly, the drug-related violence in Mexico is not only a problem for the country’s own political stability and economic development, but also a threat to U.S. security.

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Friday’s Daily News Digest

Scott Fahey

Spain investigates 3000 secret bank accounts
Telegraph, July 2, 2010

Ex-UBS Client Zaltsberg Admits Hiding $2.6 Million
Bloomberg Businessweek, July 1, 2010

UAE seals tax agreement with Germany
Gulf News, July 2, 2010

Mexico to Impose Dollar Limits for Exchange Houses
Bloomberg Businessweek, July 1, 2010

Editorial: Guatemala at risk
Los Angeles Times, July 2, 2010

UK firm Octel bribed Iraqis to keep buying toxic fuel additive
Guardian, June 30, 2010

Graft main obstacle to business in Nigeria: study
Reuters, July 1, 2010

Smith & Wesson Says It Is Under DOJ Investigation
Dow Jones, July 1, 2010

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Thursday’s Daily News Digest

Scott Fahey

Tax Offshore Wealth Sitting In First World Banks
Forbes, July 1, 2010

Sarkozy government under fire in tax evasion row
AFP, June 30, 2010

Senate chairman starts probe of Transocean’s taxes
Associated Press, June 30, 2010

Change in IRS rules could block rewards for whistleblowers
The Washington Post, July 1, 2010

Mauritius tax treaty may be changed
Bloomberg UTV (India), June 30, 2010

Minister’s tax transfer pricing proposal short of expectations
Business Daily (Kenya), Jul y 1, 2010

Bermuda, US join to tackle money laundering
The Royal Gazette (Bermuda), July 1, 2010

Senate goes tough on money laundering
The Guardian (Nigeria), July 1 2010

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Is there a place for morals in finance?

François Valérian

Photograph by DTR

If we believe Plutarch, Solo abolished debt or reduced debt interests in Athens in the 6th century BC, but having informed three friends of his project, he had the discontent to find out that those friends had borrowed to purchase vast amounts of land shortly before the new law was enacted. Insider trading, fraud in finance, dissymmetry of information, lack of transparency have probably always been components of money dealings. They did not emerge in 2008, and ethics has never formed the golden rule of finance; nor has immorality, since finance is what human beings make it.

What emerged in 2008 is that the greed of a relatively small number of individuals could bring about a massive, sudden and global economic crisis. That was new, even if we compare it with the Great Depression, caused by a long-lasting and global speculation on all financial markets. It is now clear that greed has to leave the driver’s seat that it used to have in several institutions, and that the markets have to be protected from those institutions which would still be badly managed.

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Wednesday’s Daily News Digest

Scott Fahey

Post G20 Toronto Summit Analysis: Official Statement is Heavy on Promises, Short on Action
Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development, June 30, 2010

Egypt no. 2 in Africa in smuggling money
Bikya Masr (Egypt), June 30, 2010

Op-ed: Time to act on tax transparency
Guardian, June 30, 2010

India joins select club to counter financial frauds
The Hindu, June 30, 2010

Overseas outsourcing of U.S. jobs must stop says Central Valley congressman
Central Valley Business Times, June 29, 2010

US Charges 18 in Money-Laundering Case
Voice of America, June 29, 2010

SEC Fines Telecom Firm $300,000 for Violating FCPA
Main Justice, June 29, 2010

FACTBOX – Six major corruption scandals in India
TrustLaw, June 30, 2010

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Latest Press Releases

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Global Financial Integrity · February 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaked HSBC documents revealed today by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) highlight a culture of corruption in the ...

Era of Bank Secrecy Still Far From Over For Developing Countries

Christian Aid · February 6, 2015

G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Istanbul this weekend still have much to do if the claim ‘the era of bank secrecy is ...

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Civil Society Organizations across Africa Welcome AU Focus on Illicit Financial Flows

Tax Justice Network Africa · January 29, 2015

ADDIS ABABA— As African leaders are meeting in  Addis Ababa to discuss growing threats from extremist groups, instability, and poverty, Heads of ...