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Wednesday’s Top News Stories

Clark Gascoigne

The Wall Street ICEcapade
The American Interest, May 18, 2010

Swiss business dismisses EU membership
Swissinfo.ch, May 19, 2010

Cantons urge parliament to approve UBS deal
World Radio Switzerland, May 19, 2010

Swiss Government: Rejection Of UBS Pact Would Reignite US-Swiss Spat
Dow Jones Newswires, May 19, 2010

Swiss banks’ mantra of ‘go east’ carries risks
MarketWatch, May 18, 2010

EU Moves to Tighten Control of Hedge Funds
The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2010

Company at Center of Manas Fuel Probe May Have Ties to Afghan Entities
EurasiaNet.org, May 19, 2010

EMC Founder Egan Cheated IRS While Envoy, Judge Says (Update1)
Bloomberg News, May 19, 2010

Italy Investigates 7,000 HSBC Account Holders for Tax Evasion
Bloomberg News, May 19, 2010

Rp 3.6 billion alleged tax fraud emerges
The Jakarta Post, May 19, 2010

Denmark’s Hansen fined $1.1M for tax evasion
The Associated Press, May 19, 2010

China And HK Examine Transfer Pricing
Tax-News.com, May 19, 2010

Nigerian police probe Siemens bribery scandal link
Reuters, May 19, 2010

Indonesian Graft-Busting Credentials Tested by Lucky Fish Bribe
Bloomberg News, May 19, 2010

Indonesia awaits new finance minister
The Associated Press, May 19, 2010

Fraud Rose in Europe as Budgets Fell, Ernst & Young Survey Says
Bloomberg News, May 19, 2010

Ex-NJ lawmaker is convicted in corruption probe
The Associated Press, May 19, 2010

Illiteracy, corruption hamper Afghan police: NATO
Reuters, May 19, 2010

Nigerian President Sets Priorities for His Administration
VOA News, May 19, 2010

Mo. auto dealer pleads guilty to aiding al-Qaida
Associated Press, May 19, 2010

Ecuador Expects To Leave Money Laundering List In June -Official
Dow Jones Newswires, May 19, 2010

Man or Myth? American Drug Lord ‘La Barbie’ Fascinates and Terrorizes
ABC News, May 19, 2010

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Levin-Merkley Amendment Would Shed Light on an Opaque Financial System, Says GFI

Clark Gascoigne
Offshore Clearinghouse is Systemic Product of a Lack of Transparency;
Senate Leadership Decision to Prevent Vote on Amendment is Troubling

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) speaks at the 2009 annual conference of the Task force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON, DC (GFI) – The fate of a crucial element of financial reform efforts, an amendment proposed to the Financial Stability Reform Act by Senators Carl Levin ((D-MI) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is in limbo ahead of a cloture vote scheduled to take place on the Senate floor later today.   The proposed amendment—which will reportedly be prevented from receiving a vote on the Senate floor—will ban banks from proprietary trading, and its omission from the financial reform bill would set back critical efforts to increase transparency in offshore financial markets, said Global Financial Integrity today.

An article published last night in the American Interest by investigative journalist, Lucy Komisar, outlines some of the crucial elements of the amendment, the problem of proprietary trading, and highlights one glaring example of how bankers game the system to evade taxes with the case of ICE Trust.

“Clearinghouses such as ICE Trust U.S. move large sums of money around the world,” writes Komisar.  “ICE Trust is located in the Cayman Islands.  Yet none of the owners of ICE Trust Holding Co. are based in the Caymans.”

Ms. Komisar’s article outlines how an entity such as ICE Trust U.S. is a “blocking company” whose owners benefit from the fact that the IRS and other U.S. financial regulators have differing views of responsibility and jurisdiction when it comes to monitoring and regulating offshore markets.  Ms. Komisar quotes Adam Rosenzweig of Washington University Law School as saying:

“The SEC and the Federal Reserve are treating ICE Trust U.S. as the place the action is going on.  The tax law looks at ICE Trust U.S. and says all the action is happening at the holding company level in the Caymans.  They are exploiting the benefit of being in the United States for regulatory purposes and being a foreign entity in the Caymans for tax purposes.”

According to Ms. Komisar’s piece, without the Levin-Merkley amendment banning proprietary trading, entities like ICE Trust will continue to help American banks conduct credit default swap trades while dodging millions of dollars in taxes.

The cloture vote is scheduled for this afternoon.  Roll Call reports that Senator Levin has expressed reservations about voting for cloture without the proposed amendment.  The rest of the Senate should take note.

To read the full article by Lucy Komisar, visit www.the-American-Interest.com or click here…


Global Financial Integrity (GFI) promotes national and multilateral policies, safeguards, and agreements aimed at curtailing the cross-border flow of illegal money.  In putting forward solutions, facilitating strategic partnerships, and conducting groundbreaking research, GFI is leading the way in efforts to curtail illicit financial flows and enhance global development and security.

For additional information please visit www.gfip.org.

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Tuesday’s Top News Stories

Clark Gascoigne

Transparency in Financial Reform: Because God Doesn’t Like Secrets
The Huffington Post, May 18, 2010

Greek minister sacked over husband’s taxes
Financial Times, May 18, 2010

UBS may face US suits if parliament kills deal: Swiss minister
Reuters, May 16, 2010

EU Lawmakers Ok Rules For Hedge Funds,Private Equity
The Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2010

The AIFM directive: Another European mess
The Economist, May 18, 2010

Opinion: Tories are foolish to line up Northern Ireland as a tax haven
The Guardian, May 18, 2010

India, US end row over taxing captive units
The Economic Times, May 18, 2010

Seedy underworld of human trafficking
BBC News, May 18, 2010

Corruption, Mismanagement Strangle Vital Kenyan Watershed
New York Times, May 18, 2010

FIFA wants ‘bribery’ probe report before World Cup
The Associated Press, May 18, 2010

Police want Lieberman charged for obstructing corruption probe
Haaretz, May 18, 2010

Ambassador denies bribery in Africa independences
The Angola Press Agency, May 18, 2010

Panama looking to exit OECD gray list
Newsroom Panama, May 17, 2010

Gibraltar bank appeals against 1.7 million euro fine by Spain alleging money laundering
Panorama (Gibraltar), May 18, 2010

Legislators approve laws on trade and environment
The Taipei Times, May 19, 2010

AG King asks U.S. Senate to help Mexico fight border violence, human trafficking
The New Mexico Independent, May 18, 2010

‘FM looking into IPL tax evasion, money laundering’
Press Trust of India, May 18, 2010

House Panel to Quiz Top Banker Over Tax Cases
The Jakarta Globe, May 18, 2010

Alleged new tax fraud case worth Rp 3.6 trillion uncovered
The Jakarta Post, May 18, 2010

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Task Force seeking PhD economist to direct new data program

Christine Clough

The Task Force is currently accepting applications for Program Director of our new Economic Transparency Initiative (ETI).  Qualified candidates will have a PhD in macro economics, fluency in English and a second language (preferably French), and strong written and verbal communication skills.  Our goal for ETI is to significantly increase the amount and types of data available to the public related to illicit financial flows, so that we can better understand the nature and volume of the problem and then apply this knowledge towards amelioration efforts.

A full description of the position and qualifications is available in the jobs section of the Task Force website.  Applications are due by June 4 at 11:59 ET.

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15,000 US offshore tax evaders

Richard Murphy

Significant Number of Offshore Asset Cases to be Done by End of Year, IRS Officials Say | US Law Watch | BNA International.

As US Law Watch reports:

The Internal Revenue Service has assigned cases to agents for nearly all of the 15,000 taxpayers who came in under the special program to allow voluntary disclosures of offshore assets that ended last October, and expects a significant number of cases to be closed by the end of the calendar year, senior IRS officials said May 8.

As ever, you can be sure that’s the tip of the iceberg.

And as ever it proves these things.

First, offshore tax evasion is as serious as I and others claim it to be.

Second, it can only take place because vast numbers of people in secrecy jurisdictions turn a blind eye to it, very deliberately and very knowingly.

Third, more action is needed to tackle it.

Fourth, the case for more transparency is made, yet again.

Fifth, automatic information exchange  is essential.

But still the lawyers, accountants and bankers argue for secrecy.

Could it be that’s because they’re making money from this illegality?

Continue Reading »


Monday’s Daily News Round-Up

Clark Gascoigne

Toothless parliament a symbol of Africa’s failed ambitions
The Globe and Mail, May 17, 2010

Possible ties to murky finance system examined
The Boston Globe, May 15, 2010

Swiss retreat helps Transocean save millions
The Associated Press, May 15, 2010

Viking raider has days to lift veil on tax haven assets
The Sunday Times (of London), May 16, 2010

Top football clubs flee to tax havens
The Sunday Times (of London), May 16, 2010

Tax Evasion: Lagos Shuts 250 Companies
This Day, May 17, 2010

Swiss banker turned whistleblower ended up with a prison sentence
The Washington Post, May 16, 2010

Greece says will clean up corruption in politics
Reuters, May 16, 2010

Ibori: EFCC, Met Police Meet for Extradition
This Day, May 17, 2010

Tymoshenko Summons Postponed
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, May 16, 2010

Suspended IPL chief replies to graft charges
AFP, May 15, 2010

Taxing issues for multinationals
The Sunday Business Post (Ireland), May 16, 2010

Hearing in offshore betting case expected
United Press International, May 16, 2010

34 reputed mobsters indicted in New Jersey
The Associated Press, May 15, 2010

Court re-issues arrest warrants for Swiss directors of Cotecna
The Daily Times (Pakistan), May 16, 2010

Maltese link to San Marino bank being investigated
The Malta Independent, May 16, 2010

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Friday’s Top News Round-up

Clark Gascoigne

U.S. Firms Dodge Billions in Taxes by Moving Profits Overseas (Video)
World News with Diane Sawyer, ABC News, May 13, 2010

Profit Exports Import U.S. Tax Cuts for Pfizer, Lilly, Oracle
Bloomberg, May 14, 2010

Pharma’s ‘aggressive’ tax-avoidance tactics draw fire
FiercePharma, May 14, 2010

Greek ‘tax-dodging’ doctors named
BBC News, May 14, 2010

ECOFIN: Move On Hedge Fund Law Likely Despite UK Fears
Dow Jones Newswires, May 14, 2010

New UK aligns with US on hedge funds
Associated Press, May 14, 2010

Editorial: A matter now less taxing
Mint (India), May 14, 2010

Star magistrate warns of intense Iceland bank probe
AFP, May 14, 2010

Italy bribery scandal widens, casts pall on government
Reuters, May 14, 2010

Small-time corruption Greece’s big problem
Sydney Morning Herald, May 15, 2010

Nigerian Ruling Party Boss Resigns Over Graft Allegations
Voice of America, May 14, 2010

US: Poor Governance, Corruption Militating against Nigeria’s Progress
This Day (Nigeria), May 14, 2010

Zimbabwe: MPs Must Partake in Anti-Corruption Drive
The Herald (Zimbabwe), May 14, 2010

Nigerian politician faces extradition to Britain on money laundering charges
Daily Telegraph, May 14, 2010

Money Laundering Threatens L. American Banks
Xinhua, May 14, 2010

Daniel Tzvetkoff Answers Money Laundering Charges
Gambling 911. May 14, 2010

SA To Review Offshore Insurance Issues
Tax-News.com, May 14, 2010

Imminent End of Secrecy to Shake Up Swiss Banking
New York Times, May 14, 2010

ActionAid welcomes the new Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell
ActionAid Press Release, May 14, 2010

Blood Diamonds: Still Bloody
WorldPress.org, May 14, 2010

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Thursday’s News Round-up

Clark Gascoigne

Offshore Centers Attract Larger Share Of Illicit Funds–Report
Dow Jones Newswires, May 13, 2010

Companies Dodge $60 Billion in Taxes Even Tea Party Condemns
Bloomberg, May 14, 2010

Swiss Whittle Away at Banking Secrecy
The New York Times, May 13, 2010

Swiss court requested to allow I-T to probe Hasan Ali’s wealth
The Economic Times, May 13, 2010

Obama committed to passing free-trade deals: Clinton
Reuters, May 12, 2010

Faisal Shahzad used “Hawala” System to Get Money, Sources Say
CBS News, May 13, 2010

Chasing Taliban’s overflowing coffers, cash couriers
CNN, May 13, 2010

Half of Russians believe bribery solves “problems”
Reuters, May 13, 2010

500 euro note – why criminals love it so
BBC News, May 13, 2010

Zardari’s ‘Eureka’ moment to see end of troublesome Swiss graft cases
Oneindia, May 13, 2010

Ibori arrested in money-laundering probe
Financial Times, May 13, 2010

Money laundering failure triggers £140k fine
FT Advisor, May 13, 2010

Afghanistan’s governance problem
Al Jazeera, May 13, 2010

Italian notables feel heat of corruption scandal
Financial Times, May 13, 2010

Offshore Hedge Funds moving to Europe
HedgeCo.net, May 13, 2010

HK Not In OECD’s Sights
Tax-News.com, May 13, 2010

Guernsey: Chief Minister Reinforces Guernsey’s Tax Credentials in Washington
Mondaq News, May 13, 2010

Editorial: Step in Right Direction On Money Laundering
Jakarta Globe, May 13, 2010

Tax czar ready for fight with multinationals
The Korea Times, May 13, 2010

South Africa Acts Against Tax Evasion
Tax-News.com, May 13, 2010

Amid OECD pressure, Marshalls signs second tax information exchange treaty
Radio New Zealand International, May 13, 2010

Hong Kong, Hungary Sign Pact To Avoid Double Taxation, Tax Evasion
Dow Jones, May 13, 2010

HK, Kuwait sign tax pact
Government of the Hong Kong

Macau resident convicted in US of illegal defense exports
AFP, May 13, 2010

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On the Dirty Money Trail-New Report Tracks Hundreds of Billions in Illicit Finances to Points of Deposit

Clark Gascoigne

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A report released today from Global Financial Integrity (GFI) examines where trillions of dollars in illicit finances—the proceeds of crime, corruption, and tax evasion—are being deposited.

The new report, The Absorption of Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2006, rounds-out the groundbreaking analysis put forward in GFI’s 2008 report Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2006, which estimated that the developing world was losing $1 trillion per year to illicit financial practices.

The report will be revealed at a media event May 13th, 12:00pm-1:30pm, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Report findings will include:

  • Where does the $1 trillion in illicit capital flight from developing countries end up?
  • What are the regional trends for illicit financial outflows? Are there linkages between the country origin and the point of deposit?
  • What impact did the terrorist attacks of 2001 have on illicit flows and the global shadow financial system?
  • Who is responsible for keeping track of total cash deposits moving through the world financial system and how accessible is that information to the general public and national governments?
  • What impact does the annual loss of hundreds of billions of dollars have on developing nations?
  • How are these hundreds of billions of dollars removed from developing countries and how may these illicit financial outflows be curtailed?

“We are crossing a threshold in global finance regulation and poverty alleviation with these illicit flows studies,” said GFI director Raymond Baker. “For every $1 in aid that the Western world is sending into developing countries, $10 is lost. Our first report looked at how much these countries were losing. Today we have an idea of where that money is ending up. Halting this annual loss of capital is crucial to successful poverty alleviation and economic development.”

To RSVP for Thursday’s event, request a copy of the report, or schedule an interview with GFI spokespersons contact Monique Perry Danziger, mdanziger@gfip.org, 202-294-0740.

Lunch will be served.

The full report can be downloaded here…

Continue Reading »


Wednesday’s Top News Stories

Clark Gascoigne

Government woos parties over UBS data
Swissinfo.ch, May 12, 2010

Swiss parliament nears deal on U.S. tax deal impasse
Reuters, May 12, 2010

Swiss Bank Regulator Was Blinded by UBS Image, Government Says
Bloomberg, May 12, 2010

Denmark: Tax Amnesty
Mondaq News, May 12, 2010

Complicit in Corruption: How German Companies Bribed Their Way to Greek Deals
Der Spiegel, May 11, 2010

Tax Evasion: Oil Giant SAIPEM in N14bn Dispute
This Day (Nigeria), May 12, 2010

Four Irish firms implicated in Brussels probe
RTÉ (Ireland), May 12, 2010

Tax evasion drives huge profits in property industry
Global Times (China), May 12, 2010

Canadian Man Pleads Guilty in Web Gambling Fraud Case (Update2)
Bloomberg, May 11, 2010

French court refuses to free Noriega before trial
The Associated Press, May 12, 2010

Twenty-six illegal banks broken up in south China
Xinhua, May 12, 2010

China Defends Activities in Africa
The Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2010

Op-Ed: Chinese Corruption Is Hazardous to Your Health
The Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2010

Bribery inquiry into former PM of Ukraine reopened
The Guardian, May 12, 2010

Leading Spanish judge faces Supreme Court trial
CNN, May 12, 2010

Expectations High for Nigeria’s New Leader
Voice of America News, May 12, 2010

Philippines’ Arroyo picks chief justice as probe looms
Reuters, May 12, 2010

3 family wins signal Marcos revival in Philippines
The Associated Press, May 12, 2010

India wakes up to the business of sport
AFP, May 12, 2010

Ghana to establish Economic and Organised Crime Office
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, May 12, 2010

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Christian Aid: Football, poverty and tax havens – tackling financial secrecy

Clark Gascoigne

From Christian Aid:

LONDON—Christian Aid has teamed up with football supporter groups to highlight the damage caused by the secrecy offered by tax havens – and demand that the rules be changed.

Blowing the Whistle: Time’s Up for Financial Secrecy, reveals how the same tax-haven secrecy that allows football club owners to hide their business practices – and even their identities – is also facilitating massive tax dodging in developing countries.

And while such practices are threatening to ruin the beautiful game, for people in the world’s poorest countries they are a matter of life and death.

Top of the league

Christian Aid has worked with the Football Supporters Federation and fan ownership group Supporters Direct to compile Blowing the Whistle.

At a time when supporters across the land are becoming increasingly concerned about the way their clubs are run, our report reveals how:

  • Manchester United, recently pipped to the Premier League title, still top a new Football Secrecy League.
  • A further 14 Premier League clubs and another 10 from around Britain and Ireland are effectively based in tax havens.

It also explains how financial secrecy means trade-related tax-dodging costs poor countries $160bn every year.

This is one-and-a-half-times the global aid budget, and enough, if used according to current spending patterns, to save the lives of 350,000 children under five.

United cause

The changes needed to tackle financial secrecy in football are the same that are needed to lift the secrecy that affects the developing world.

Those who care about football and those who care about eradicating poverty should unite to demand major rule changes.

Continue Reading »


Tuesday’s Top News Stories

Clark Gascoigne

Crisis sparks backlash against Greek political graft
Reuters, May 11, 2010

Football, poverty and tax havens – tackling financial secrecy
Christian Aid, May 11, 2010

New rules will force Leeds to reveal owners’ names
The Guardian, May 11, 2010

Ex-Mexican Governor Laundered With Lehman, U.S. Says
Bloomberg, May 11, 2010

US urged to probe Saudi business spat
Financial Times, May 11, 2010

Top JPMorgan adviser says fired for whistleblowing
Reuters, May 10, 2010

ABN AMRO bank pays 500 million for busting US sanctions
AFP, May 10, 2010

Dictator’s son fails to show at Geneva court
Swissinfo.ch, May 11, 2010

A new agenda for offshore havens
Wealth Bulletin, May 11, 2010

Cartel Papers Show Bribes to Mexican Authorities
The New York Times, May 11, 2010

Canada’s ‘Prince of Pot’ ordered extradited to US
Associated Press, May 11, 2010

Tamil Tiger case puts spotlight on laws against financing terrorism
The Globe and Mail (Canada), May 11, 2010

Benigno Aquino lists war on corruption as top priority
Times of London, May 12, 2010

Nigeria’s Ruling Party Chairman Arraigned on Corruption Charges
Voice of America, May 11, 2010

Indonesian ex-top detective arrested in bribe case
Associated Press, May 11, 2010

Pelosi says corruption holding back Afghanistan
AFP, May 11, 2010

INTERVIEW-Frustration growing over West African governance-UN
Reuters, May 10, 2010

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Press Release: No Role for Public Scrutiny in OECD Plan to Curb Corporate Tax Dodging

Financial Transparency Coalition · September 16, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) new recommendations to fight multinational corporate tax avoidance look robust from ...

US$401.6 Billion Flowed Illegally out of Brazil from 1960 to 2012, Finds New GFI Report

Global Financial Integrity · September 8, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil / WASHINGTON, DC – More than US$400 billion flowed illegally out of Brazil between 1960 and 2012— draining domestic ...