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May
4

Swiss Banks Tax Wealthy Clients to Facilitate Tax-Evasion

Clark Gascoigne

Swiss banking giants have–for a long time–charged wealthy clients a pretty penny to knowingly facilitate offshore tax-evasion, according to former offshore banker Rudolf Elmer.  The Julius Baer executive-turned-whistleblower, speaking at an offshore financial conference in Miami yesterday, told the audience that he has files detailing the banks culpability.  According to Kim Dixon at Reuters:

Rudolf Elmer, who told his story in public for the first time, was fired from Julius Baer in 2002. He says he has divulged internal company documents with officials in several countries, including the United States and Germany.

As a former chief operating officer for Julius Baer in the Cayman Islands, Elmer says he has files that show the bank helped clients skirt taxes.

“If you look at the cost you pay for Swiss banking, it’s tremendous,” Elmer told an audience of bankers and others at an offshore financial conference in Miami. “What do you get out of it? Tax advantage. It’s that simple.”

The bank, of course, denies Mr. Elmer’s allegations, but Julius Baer’s credibility is hardly in tact following the track record of Swiss banks.

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May
4

Tuesday’s Top News Stories

EJ Fagan

Why are Greeks not paying their taxes?
The Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2010

Greek Austerity Should Include a Tax Amnesty
The Huffington Post, May 3, 2010

Tax fears hit home across mining
The Sydney Morning Herald, May 4, 2010

Google figures in need of advanced search
The Sydney Morning Herald, May 4, 2010

Tax evasion is the moral equivalent of genocide
The Express Tribune (Pakistan), May 4, 2010

IPL: A garden variety of scam
The Economic Times (India), May 4, 2010

Tax Havens’ Days Are Numbered
Forbes Magazine, May 3, 2010

Bill Takes Aim At Corporate Tax Loopholes
The Hartford Courant, May 4, 2010

Oil still accounts for 40% GDP, 80% foreign exchange, FG
The Vanguard (Nigeria), May 3, 2010

Vessel For Oil Fields Inaugurated
Graphic (Ghana), May 3, 2010

US revises anti-money laundering manual
Reuters, May 4, 2010

Gaddafi accuses Swiss of covering up murders and money laundering
Scotsman News, May 4, 2010

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May
4

Here’s What You Need To Know About BP’s Insurance Setup

Richard Murphy

Here’s What You Need To Know About BP’s Insurance Setup.

BP has caused one of the world’s biggest ever oil spills – and appears to have no idea what to do about it.

So this report is not encouraging:

BP owns its key insurance company, Jupiter Insurance LTD, according to the company’s SEC filings.

Jupiter Insurance LTD. insures the company’s international oil and gas assets from a base in Guernsey, the offshore UK tax haven. It is likely located in a special purpose vehicle (SPV), which prevents BP from having to make public the firm’s assets or liabilities.

Jupiter Insurance retains its BP liabilities, not re-insuring them through another firm or selling them off to further buyers. BP may be forced to pay some of the insurance payments on its own facilities, if it has not prepared Jupiter Insurance to make such payouts.

So we have no idea whatsoever whether BP has the capacity to pay for the disaster it has created thanks to the opacity of Guernsey.

That helps no one right now – least of all BP, whose share price has fallen about 15% as a result of this spill.

When will people learn that opacity does not pay?

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May
3

Monday’s Top News Stories

EJ Fagan

Africa Boom Lures Investors as Growth Set to Double
Bloomberg News, May 3rd, 2010

Greek Wealth Is Everywhere but Tax Forms
The New York Times, May 2, 2010

Is austerity a Greek myth?
The Washington Post, May 3rd, 2010

Resource tax likely to put deals in the dark
The Syndey Morning Herald, May 4, 2010

US to probe thousands more offshore tax evaders
Reuters, May 3, 2010

Op-Ed: Time to close the tax haven loophole
The Hill, April 30, 2010

Global move on tax planning limits
Business Standard (India), May 3, 2010

Chile Considering Pacts With Tax Havens To Combat Evasion Minister
Dow Jones Newswires, April 29, 2010

China State Media On Corruption And Cooling Off The Real Estate Market
Sinocism, May 2, 2010

Afghan stability a must
The Boston Herald, May 1, 2010

Nigeria: Corruption – a Lost War
The Daily Trust (Nigeria), April 29, 2010

Nigeria: Corruption – El-Rufai to Appear Before EFCC Tuesday
The Daily Independent (Nigeria), May 2, 2010

Zimbabwe: Paying Lip Service to Corruption
The Herald (Zimbabwe), May 3, 2010

PRS Townhall: Min. Konneh Urges Diaspora Liberians to Help Fight Corruption
The Liberian Journal, May 3, 2010

Kyrgyzstan probes corrupt fuel supplies to US base
News Tiger (India), May 3, 2010

Mass rally against corruption
The Daily News (South Africa), May 3, 2010

South Africa: Selebi Now Accused of Money Laundering
Business Day (South Africa), April 30, 2010

German CO2 Tax Probe Spreads to at Least Nine European Nations
Bloomberg News, April 30, 2010

Talk of the day — Tax evasion and the law
Focus Taiwan, May 2, 2010

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Apr
30

Multi-million dollar payments to Cambodia by French oil giant Total should be scrutinized by country’s donors

Clark Gascoigne

From Global Witness:

Questions regarding oil and mining payments made to the Cambodian government should top the bill at June’s donor-government meeting in light of an announcement by Prime Minister Hun Sen of a US$28 million payment by French oil company Total, said Global Witness today. Hun Sen said on Wednesday that Total has paid US$8 million into a social development fund as part of its agreement to explore for oil offshore, and an additional US$20 million signature bonus to the government.

Global Witness contacted Total, which confirmed that this information was accurate. The payment was made in January 2010 for rights to offshore Block 3.

The news follows on from an announcement that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating multinational mining company BHP Billiton for possible violations of anti-graft legislation. Neither BHP Billiton nor the SEC have officially confirmed that the enquiry relates to the company’s activities in Cambodia but a number of press articles have stated that this is the case.

In its February 2009 report, Country For Sale, Global Witness detailed corruption and nepotism in the nascent extractives industry in Cambodia. The report showed how rights to exploit oil and mineral resources have been allocated behind closed doors by a small number of powerbrokers surrounding the prime minister and other senior officials. Its findings suggested that millions of dollars paid by oil and mining companies to secure access to these resources were missing from the central national accounts.

“We welcome the prime minister’s openness on this latest round of oil payments, but we still don’t know whether the money from Total has turned up in national accounts because the information has not been made public,” said George Boden, Global Witness campaigner. “These latest developments reinforce the need for the country’s donors – who last year provided the equivalent of over 50% of Cambodia’s annual budget – to insist all payments are made public.”

The 2007 data for petroleum concession revenue – the latest year in which this category appeared – only totaled $21,000. Data from 2008 is inconclusive, and data from 2009 shows a combined revenue from both mining and petroleum concessions of nearly $1.5 million. Data for 2010 has not been published yet.

“These figures represent only a fraction of the sum of the payments Global Witness is aware of. Overall, they raise serious questions,” said Boden. “The people of Cambodia and governments who give development assistance have a legitimate right to know what happened to that money. Donors must use the upcoming round of donor-government meetings to ask some tough questions and get some answers.”

/ Ends

For further information please contact George Boden on 0207 492 5899 or 07912 516 445

Notes to editor:

1.        In its February 2009 report, Country For Sale, Global Witness revealed that BHP Billiton had paid US$1m to the Cambodian government in September 2006 in exchange for rights to explore a bauxite concession. Global Witness was unable to find any evidence that the money made it into national accounts. The same report detailed how other companies had paid millions to the Cambodian government in signature bonuses and social development funds to secure the rights to prospect for oil and minerals. These payments also failed to show up in the government accounts.

2.        Figures for Cambodian government revenue are from the TOFE – ‘Tableau des Operations Financières de l’Etat’, Ministry of Economy and Finance. Figures in US$ were accurate at the time of conversion from Riels, they have been rounded to the nearest figure.

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Apr
30

Friday’s News Digest

Clark Gascoigne

Op-Ed:Time to close the tax haven loophole
The Hill, April 30, 2010

PEW demand some restrictions on offshore companies
Pakistan Daily Mail, April 30, 2010

IRS, Treasury Aim for Release of FATCA Guidance in Stages, Official Says
Tax Analysts (Subscription only), April 30, 2010

Economic Substance ‘Angel List’ Unlikely, Says Treasury Official
Tax Analysts (Subscription only), April 30, 2010

Police believe Holyland bribe money is stashed in foreign financial institutions
Ha’aretz, April 30, 2010

Russia Slow to Pick Up the Lead in Bribery Cases
The New York Times, April 29, 2010

Sentencing delayed for SoCal producers
The Associated Press, April 30, 2010

Ex-Pa. judge to plead guilty in kickback scheme
The Associated Press, April 30, 2010

Billionaire Ashcroft pays no personal taxes in Belize, PM confirms
Amandala, April 30, 2010

Nigeria: Senate Passes Anti-Money Laundering Bill
The Daily Trust, April 30, 2010

Blackjack Money Launderer Denied Bail
Blackjack Champ News, April 30, 2010

U.K. Arrests 22 as CO2 Tax Probe Widens in Europe (Update2)
Bloomberg, April 30, 2010

Armenia Failing at Tax Collections, IMF Official Says
Tax Analysts (Subscription only), April 30, 2010

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Apr
29

UK Serious Fraud Office Making Small Gains

EJ Fagan

The UK Serious Fraud Office released some good news this month:

The Serious Fraud Office has significantly increased its conviction rate in cases brought before the courts in the past year, according to figures it is releasing in advance of its annual report which will be published in the summer.

The conviction rate, measured as defendants convicted over the number tried, has risen from 78% the previous year to 91%. At the same time the agency achieved a 100% success rate in trials where at least one defendant was convicted. The previous year this was measured at 94%.

Success in trials has been matched by the SFO’s increasing ability to secure assets from fraudsters and return money to victims. Some £4 million has been paid in compensation directly to victims. The figure was significantly less than a million pounds last year. Fines against companies amounted to nearly £12 million pounds this year, having risen from zero the year before. The agency has managed to seize nearly a quarter of a million pounds in cash since November 2009, using new powers to be able to carry out searches for cash and retain the money as an investigation continues.

The SFO has begun measuring the cost of running the organisation with a view to providing value for money. Everyone in the country pays 73 pence towards the SFO’s work – this compares to 83 pence last year. The SFO will aim to provide better value next year.

SFO Director, Richard Alderman said: “With reduced funding we continue to work in innovative ways. This year has seen a number of firsts for us, including the first every UK prosecution for breaching UN sanctions and use of cash seizure and other powers to return more money to victims of fraud and corruption. It has been a good year but next year we plan to do better.”

While these gains are definitely encouraging, they raise more than a few eyebrows. The Serious Fraud Office did not impose a single pound in fines in 2008? Isn’t that their job? Despite a significantly reduced budget, the Serious Fraud Office demonstrated this year that will, not resources, determines how much success will have in clamping down on corruption.

While the Serious Fraud Office has seen their mandate expanded in recent years, they still lack some important things, like arrest power. While the recession-induced reform is welcome, the UK needs the SFO to be further empowered if it hopes to do any more than cursory law enforcement when dealing with corruption, bribery, and fraud.

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Apr
29

Thursday’s Top News Stories

EJ Fagan

Swiss MPs to vote on new ex-dictator cash law
The Associated Press, April 28, 2010

Tax Havens: Depriving the developing world?
MoneyWeb (South Africa), April 29, 2010

Corruption and cronyism are sinking Greece
The Salt Lake Tribune, April 29, 2010

Top Kenya officials due in court for ‘cemetery scam’
BBC News, April 29, 2010

Bribes and corruption claims over 2010 in EC
The Dispatch (South Africa), April 29, 2010

Corruption ‘Taints Iran’s Judiciary’
Radio Free Europe, April 28, 2010

Ogbulafor faces N100m fraud charge
NEXT, April 27, 2010

Government’s anti-corruption campaign
The Nigeria Guardian, April 29, 2010

Seven Deutsche Bank Workers Targeted in CO2 Tax Probe
Bloomberg News, April 29, 2010

IPL’s deceptive money trail
The Economic Times, April 29, 2010

Senate Considers Bill on Combating Terrorism
This Day (Nigeria), April 29, 2010

Pressure mounts on foreign energy firms in Burma to come clean
Mizzima (Thailand), April 28, 2010

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Apr
28

German Federal Chancellor, OECD Secretary-General, WTO Director-General, ILO Director-General, IMF Managing Director & World Bank President Release Joint Statement on Global Economy

Clark Gascoigne

The German Federal Chancellor, OECD Secretary-General, WTO Director-General, ILO Director-General, IMF Managing Director and World Bank President just released a joint statement on global economy.  While they mention issues like poverty, economic development, and the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), they unfortunately fail to address the issue of illicit financial flows.

I guess we need more signatures on our G20 Transparency petition.

Full statement below (it can also be read here):

Joint press release by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn and World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick

International policymakers have countered the global economic crisis with determined and coordinated action. Thanks to these efforts the global economy has now returned to a growth track, even if the crisis is not yet over and unemployment continues to be high.

Therefore, we have to continue major international efforts with the aim of ensuring a lasting recovery in the financial sector and strengthening growth in the long term, and to address the impact of the crisis on poor countries and vulnerable populations. With regard to development in the longer run, industrial and emerging economies are working intensively along with international organizations within the G20 summit process to reorient the global financial architecture, create conditions for more balanced and sustainable growth and develop suitable exit strategies. While the G20 has established itself as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, it remains important to cooperate within diverse networks consisting of national governments, international organizations and other stakeholders to reach common goals. We welcome that our five international organizations have strengthened their cooperation during the crisis: In the context of the G20 we have increased our cooperation with joint work on labour (OECD, ILO), on trade and investment (WTO, OECD, UNCTAD) and on fossil fuels (WB, OECD, IEA, OPEC). We will continue to do so in support of a more sustainable and fairer economy, especially in the following six fields of action:

1. We welcome the progress achieved so far in countering the crisis, including the extraordinary collaborative fiscal stimulus policies, especially within the framework of the G20 summit process. Now it is important to continue effectively implementing the work programme formulated at the Pittsburgh summit and to pass key joint measures for strengthening the international financial architecture, reducing global imbalances and designing exit strategies. Ensuring cross-country consistency is critical, as is recognized in the G20’s Mutual Assessment Process and in international discussions of financial sector reform and taxation. We welcome the ongoing work within the G20 and the IMF on options to improve the global financial safety net based on sound incentives.

2. These endeavours have to be accompanied by policy measures to strengthen employment and to address the social consequences of the crisis, building on the Global Jobs Pact approach adopted at the ILO International Labour Conference of 2009. We welcome the outcomes of the most recent G20 Labour Ministers’ meeting, which we regard as a significant contribution to the creation of new jobs and the reinforcement of social protection.We also welcome the emphasis in the G20 process on the needs of poor countries and vulnerable populations and stress the importance of continued strong and coordinated international support.

3. We welcome the fact that most countries have refrained from implementing protectionist measures, thereby helping to avoid a general tendency towards protectionism. However, the potential of multilateral trade liberalization was not sufficiently realized as a means of contributing to global economic recovery. Therefore, we appeal to all WTO partners to do all they can to ensure the success of the Doha Round and to strive for the adoption of modalities as soon as possible. The multilateral approach to trade liberalization will continue to play a significant role in the future too as a means of ensuring fair competition, preventing trade distortions and creating new market opportunities, especially for developing countries.

4. Only a sustainable global economy can continue to guarantee growing wealth without jeopardizing the chance for future generations to meet their own needs. The G20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth, to which the international organizations make important contributions, will support this idea by macroeconomic, fiscal and structural policies. Moreover, we need an overarching consensus, supported by states and international organizations, that helps prevent excesses in the market and works to counter future crises. Therefore, a dialogue process in the G20 on important policy areas in this respect could be helpful. International organizations’ expertise could provide valuable input for this process.

5. When contemplating new sources of growth, economically advanced countries in particular have to focus on new areas, such as cutting-edge technologies, new ways of turning ideas into market success and concepts like “green growth”. Innovative approaches like these could help expedite economic recovery, also on a global scale. As another lesson of the crisis, we should consider expanding our traditional concepts of growth. GDP, as the main indicator of economic development, could be complemented by including appropriate social, employment and environmental components. The work by the Stiglitz Commission will be continued, hosted by OECD. Experts in Germany and France will draft a report on a complementary growth concept by the end of this year.

6. The global fight against climate change must remain a top priority. Last year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen did not achieve the progress we had hoped for. We must continue and strengthen our shared commitment to ambitious global climate targets on the basis of common but differentiated responsibilities. We will work for substantive progress at the Bonn Ministerial Conference in May. We welcome that climate protection is increasingly finding its way into the work programmes of international organizations; on this issue, it is crucial to continue building an effective network among different organizations and with governments.

7. The financial crisis and the global economic downturn have had far-reaching effects, especially on developing countries. Against this background, we welcome the international community’s considerable financial efforts and political commitment to its goals of fighting poverty and promoting economic development in poorer countries, thereby resolutely advancing the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

To guarantee the sustainable development of the global economy in the long run, it is of paramount importance that the trust-based dialogue between developed countries and emerging economies continues. By further intensifying their own cooperation, the IMF, the World Bank, the ILO, the OECD and the WTO can continue to be valuable partners for governments when it comes to designing a more sustainable global economy. We ask the Canadian and Korean hosts of this year’s G20 summits to devote special attention to this matter.

Source: OECD – Paris, 28 April 2010

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Apr
28

Wednesday’s Top News Stories

EJ Fagan

Swiss Banks Get Tough on Tax-Dodgers
The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2010

Trip to tax havens in govt crosshairs
The Economic Times, April 28, 2010

Indonesia chafes at graft ‘safe haven’ in Singapore
AFP, April 28, 2010

Feature: Transparency In Ghana’s Extractive Industry
Joy Online, April 28, 2010

Budget Accountability Must Be Strengthened to Advance Human Rights in Africa
The Huffington Post, April 27, 2010

Thai Protests About More Than Thaksin
Voa Naews, April 28, 2010

Home ministry officer held on corruption charges
One India, April 28, 2010

Indian cricketer Dravid says league will survive corruption scandal
GMA News, April 28, 2010

Starting point key question on Greek deficit goal
Reuters, April 28, 2010

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Apr
27

Tuesday’s Top News Stories

EJ Fagan

Billions ‘syphoned away’
The Times, April 27, 2010

New ‘tool box’ to counter opaque tax havens
India Express, April 27, 2010

Govt opens I-T units in S’pore, Mauritius; 8 more on the way
Business Standard (India), April 27, 2010

A JPC on tax havens
DNA India, April 26, 2010

Indonesia launches special jail for the corrupt
Reuters, April 27, 2010

Feds pursue claims of US oil bribes in Venezuela
The Associated Press, April 26, 2010

Afghan court jails Briton on bribery charges
BBC News, April 27, 2010

CAN Tasks Jonathan On Corruption
This Day (Nigeria), April 25, 2010

Freedom Day pointless if corruption persists
The Times (South Africa), April 27, 2010

Hungary eyes tax reform to boost employment
Reuters, April 27, 2010

Govt seeking FATF membership to check terror funding
Business Standard (India), April 27, 2010

Hong Kong to Consult on Cross-border Currency Movement Controls
Bloomberg News, April 27, 2010

Noriega Is Extradited to France, Faces Money-Laundering Charges
Bloomberg News, April 27, 2010

Tin Has Trained Over 7,000 Individuals, CSOs – Nwagwu
The Daily Independent, April 26, 2010

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Apr
23

G20 Finance Ministers Communiqué is Released

Clark Gascoigne

The final communiqué released following the conclusion of today’s G20 Finance Ministers  meeting:

1. We, the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, met in Washington D.C. to ensure the global economic recovery and the transition to a strong, sustainable and balanced growth as well as our agendas for the financial regulatory reform and international financial institutions remain on track.

2. The global recovery has progressed better than previously anticipated largely due to the G20’s unprecedented and concerted policy effort. However, it is proceeding at different speeds within and across regions, and unemployment is still high in many economies. We recognize that in such circumstances different policy responses are required. In economies where growth is still highly dependent on policy support and consistent with sustainable public finances, it should be maintained until the recovery is firmly driven by the private sector and becomes more entrenched. Some countries are already exiting. We should all elaborate credible exit strategies from extraordinary macroeconomic and financial support measures that are tailored to individual country circumstances while taking into account any spillovers. We emphasized the necessity to pursue well coordinated economic policies that are consistent with sound public finances; price stability; stable, efficient and resilient financial systems; employment creation; and poverty reduction. Countries who have the capacity should expand domestic sources of growth. This would help cushion a decline in demand from countries that should boost savings and reduce fiscal deficits.

3. Our Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth for the global economy is a key mechanism through which we will continue to work together to address the challenges associated with achieving a durable recovery and our shared objectives. In accordance with our timetable set out in St Andrews, we have conducted, with support from the IMF and World Bank, the initial phase of our cooperative and consultative mutual assessment process for the Framework by sharing our national and regional policy frameworks, programs and projections, assessing their collective consistency with our objectives, and producing a forward-looking assessment of global economic prospects. We further provided guidance to the IMF, and other international organizations, to assist us in assessing collective implications of national policies that could improve our global economic prospects and bring us closer to our shared objectives. For this purpose, we have agreed on principles to direct the development of alternative policy scenarios and have further elaborated the objectives of strong, sustainable and balanced growth as outlined in the Annex to this Communiqué. Drawing on these inputs we will deliver an initial set of policy options for consideration by our Leaders at the June 2010 Summit.

4. Recognizing the increasingly integrated nature of the financial regulatory reform issues, we reaffirmed our strong commitment to fully implement our reform agenda on the timelines agreed by Leaders in London and Pittsburgh. Good progress is being made and, to maintain the momentum, we:

  • reaffirmed our reform is multi-faceted but at its core must be stronger capital standards, complemented by clear incentives to mitigate excessive risk-taking practices. We recommitted to developing by end-2010 internationally agreed rules to improve both the quantity and quality of bank capital and to discourage excessive leverage. These rules will be phased in as financial conditions improve and economic recovery is assured, with the aim of implementation by end-2012. Implementation of these new rules should be complemented by strong supervision. We stressed the importance of the quantitative and macroeconomic impact studies underway and look forward to an update on their progress by the FSB for our June meeting.
  • agreed to closely review the progress of and provide guidance and strong support for the work of the FSB, BCBS and IMF. We support the work of the FSB to develop prudential standards, market infrastructures to contain the propagation of shocks and resolution tools and frameworks for systemically important financial institutions and look forward to a progress report for our meeting in June 2010. We look forward to receiving the IMF’s final report on the range of options that countries have adopted or are considering as to how the financial sector could make a fair and substantial contribution towards paying for any burdens associated with government interventions to repair the banking system. We call on the IMF for further work on options to ensure domestic financial institutions bear the burden of any extraordinary government interventions where they occur, address their excessive risk taking and help promote a level playing field, taking into consideration individual country’s circumstances. We welcomed the FSB, IMF and BCBS’s joint report on the inter-linkages between these issues and noted that, moving forward, we need to take into account the cumulative impact of the reforms on the financial system and the wider economy to move unequivocally in the direction of sound and stronger capital and liquidity framework ; and
  • stressed the importance of achieving a single set of high quality, global accounting standards; implementing international standards with regard to compensation practices and welcomed the FSB’s report; completing the development of standards for central clearing and trading on exchanges or electronic platforms of all standardized over-the-counter derivative contracts, where appropriate, and reporting to trade repositories of all over-the-counter derivative contracts; and consistent and coordinated oversight of hedge funds and credit rating agencies. We welcomed the progress by the Financial Action Task Force in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, particularly regarding the issue of a public statement on jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies last February. We also welcomed the report by the Global Forum on Tax Transparency and Exchange of Information, the launch of the peer review process, and the development of a multilateral mechanism for information exchange which will be open to all countries. We welcomed the launch of the evaluation process by the FSB on the adherence to prudential information exchange and cooperation standards in all jurisdictions.

5. We noted the draft report on the scope of energy subsidies and suggestions for the implementation of the Pittsburgh commitment from the IEA, OPEC, OECD and World Bank. In accordance with country ownership and circumstances and recognizing the importance of providing those in need with essential energy services, we recommitted to prepare strategies and timetables for our meeting in June to rationalize and phase out, over the medium term, of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.

6. We urged progress to deliver on the representation and governance reforms of the International Financial Institutions agreed in Pittsburgh. We urged the IMF to deliver the quota and governance reforms by the November Seoul Summit. We look forward to an agreement on a package of voice reforms and World Bank financial resources, together with reforms to ensure effectiveness, at the upcoming Development Committee meeting. We will work towards ambitious IDA16 and African Development Fund replenishments. We welcomed the agreement in principle to increase the capital of the IaDB and EBRD and to adopt a robust reform agenda and look forward to the conclusion of discussions on general capital increase of the African Development Bank. We agreed to support full relief of Haiti’s debt by all IFIs, including through burden sharing, and welcomed the agreement at the IaDB and World Bank to relieve its debt and the establishment of the Haiti Reconstruction Fund.

7. We acknowledged the progress achieved by the Financial Inclusion Experts Group and look forward to the successful launch of the ‘SME Finance Challenge’. We welcomed the work of the Financial Safety Nets Experts Group and agreed to look at policy options to improve global financial safety nets, based on sound incentives, to better assist countries to deal with volatility in global capital flows. Inefficient markets and excess volatility in commodity prices more generally negatively affect both producers and consumers. We will finalize our work to address excessive commodity price volatility by improving the functioning and transparency of physical and financial markets in both producing and consuming countries.

8. We agreed to meet again on June 4-5 2010 in Busan, Republic of Korea, to prepare for the June Leaders’ Summit in Toronto, Canada.

The G-20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth

The primary goal of the Framework is to encourage G20 countries to implement coherent medium-term policy frameworks to attain a mutually beneficial growth path and avoid future crises. While G20 countries should adopt policy frameworks that are appropriate to their individual circumstances, there are clear benefits to collective action to achieve this goal. Such an approach would also raise living standards in emerging markets and developing countries.
Given that it may take several years to realise the benefits of many policy reforms, G20 countries should consider initiating actions now to attain stronger, and more balanced and sustainable growth over the medium term. Policy frameworks should be forward looking to guide expectations and to be sufficiently flexible to manage potential risks and facilitate adjustment to shocks so that strong, sustainable and balanced growth can be maintained.
The objectives of strong, sustainable and balanced growth are closely related and need to be pursued in a way that is mutually reinforcing.
Strong growth should
a. Close current output and employment gaps in G20 countries as soon as possible,
b. Converge to the growth rate of potential output over the medium term, and
c. Be enhanced over the long term by increasing potential output growth, primarily by efficiently utilizing available resources through the implementation of more effective structural policies.
Sustainable growth should be:
a. In line with underlying potential growth over the medium term, thereby providing a firm basis for long term growth,
b. Based on sustainable public finances and price and financial stability,
c. Resilient to economic and financial shocks,
d. Determined primarily by competitive market forces, and
e. Consistent with social and environmental policy goals.
Balanced growth should:
a. Be broadly based across all G20 countries and regions of the world,
b. Not generate persistent and destabilizing internal or external imbalances, and
c. Consistent with broad development goals, in particular, convergence to high standards of living across countries in the long run.
In providing this support to the G-20, the Fund should be informed by the general principles to which G-20 Leaders agreed last year in Pittsburgh (http://www.pittsburghsummit.gov/mediacenter/129639.htm). In addition to this context, the Fund should be guided by the following principles in developing the alternative policy scenarios:
1. The Fund should present a limited number of alternative policy scenarios to Deputies (i.e., no more than 3-4);
2. All scenarios must include policies aimed at ensuring a collective outcome that brings the G-20 closer to its shared objectives as laid out above;
3. All scenarios must demonstrate a shared contribution to adjustment and reform across the G-20 and that the mutual benefits of strong, sustainable and balanced growth should be broadly shared, taking into account the different stages of development for countries as well as the spillover effects across G-20 and non G-20 countries;
4. The Fund should consider the specific and feasible fiscal, monetary, structural and financial sector policy actions necessary to achieve our overarching objectives of strong, sustainable and balanced growth over the medium term;
5. The broad social, environmental and development impacts of the proposed policy recommendations in the scenarios should be considered;
6. The policy scenarios should consider the choices between the pace of implementing policy actions and their feasibility, credibility and effectiveness. As well, consideration should be given to the choices of raising global growth and of achieving more sustainable and balanced growth;
7. Given that it may take several years to realise the benefits of many policy reforms, the scenarios should consider the actions that can be taken now to attain stronger, and more balanced and sustainable growth over the medium term;
8. Policy actions for June should be expressed as actions for groups of countries facing similar circumstances, and regional economic institutions where appropriate, taking into account different national and regional economic structures and policy frameworks; and
9. The Fund should closely consult with G-20 countries throughout the process when assessing the sustainability and stability of an individual country’s macroeconomic policy.
In adopting these principles, the Fund’s report on alternative policy scenarios should clearly describe the global effects of adjustment, as well as the implications for member countries across a spectrum of indicators.
We will ask the World Bank to advise us on progress in promoting development and poverty reduction as part of rebalancing of global growth.
We also look forward to contributions from other international organizations, including the FSB on financial policies, the ILO on labor market policies, the WTO on trade policies, and the OECD and UNCTAD where appropriate.

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GFI Assails Disheartening U.S.-BNP Paribas Settlement

Global Financial Integrity · July 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) expressed skepticism today that the settlement reached between ...

G8 Has Yet to Live Up To Its Promises on Tax and Transparency

Financial Transparency Coalition · June 18, 2014

G8 countries have yet to live up to the important commitments they made on tax and transparency at their Northern Ireland summit ...