UBS Lays Out Employee Ethics Code
Wall Street Journal, January 13, 2010
Regulator encouraged to appeal in UBS data case
SwissInfo, January 13, 2010
SEC Appoints FCPA Unit Chief
Main Justice, January 14, 2010
Microsoft Tax Dodge Letter Gets Sent to 150 Legislators, One Responds
Seattle Weekly, January 14, 2010
Anti-corruption leader says problem worsening
China Daily, January 14, 2010
3 men charged with scheming to illegally export technology to Iran
Associated Press, January 14, 2010
US senators laud Iraq’s plan to become EITI candidate country
Oil and Gas Journal, January 13, 2010
Tax Executives Institute Comments on Proposed Revision of OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines
Tax Analysts, January 12, 2010
Invitation to participate in a research seminar on:
Mobilising Tax Revenue for Development:
Opportunities and Challenges for Africa
Date: Wednesday, March 24th to Friday, March 26th 2009 in Nairobi
Revenue collection has been improved in many African countries over the last few years. The tax to GDP ratio of many African countries has increased from as low as 15% in the 1980s to today?s average of 20%. This, however, is still comparatively low in comparison to the OECD?s countries average of 35%. Tax effort – measured as ratio between the potential and the actual tax revenue – is relatively low as compared to other regions of the world. At the same time, recent research shows that Africa has lost up to 607 billion US dollars in the last 35 years as a result of capital flight.
The potential of African countries to increase their tax revenue is hampered by a number of domestic and also international factors related to the global economic environment. Although the long term impact of the global financial crisis on African countries is yet to be decerned, the need for domestic resource mobilisation by African states has become more urgent as rich countries focus their attention and resources to problems at home as a result of the financial crisis.
The Tax Justice Network-Africa is organising a two day high level research seminar to discuss the issues touched upon above. The aim of the conference is to provide a platform for researchers and policy practioners to generate ideas and proposals, through open-minded debate and discussion, which will inform and shape the policy initiatives and campaigns being undertaken by African CSO. . The workshop will enable presenters to interact and share their exprerience and explore possible solutions that would strenghten the domestic resource mobilisation capacity of African countries.
To ensure that we cover a wide spectrum of issues, the meeting will be divided into three main sub-themes described below:
1. Illicit financial flows from Africa: Closing the floodgate.
This sub-theme is expected to provide some insights on taxation and development from an international perspective. Under this sub-theme it is expected that presenters will examine factors that contribute to the illicit capital outflow from Africa.
Subjects to be handled include capital flight, tax evasion, corruption and the role played by tax havens herein, as well as the need for a review of the prevailing accounting practices of MNC in view of a call on the International Accounting Standards to introduce country-by country reporting. It is also hoped that regional tax issues including tax competition, challenges of tax harmonisation will be handled during this session.
2. Harnessing domestic tax policies for development
This panel seeks to discuss presentations that examine the role of domestic tax policy in development. The issues to be handled within this theme include the role of taxation in state state building, the role of progressive and equitable taxation in development; the problems posed by dependence on indirect taxation including VAT for development finance, transparency and capacity constraints of revenue authories, tax harmonisation and other related issues.
3. Taxing the extractive: Mirage to reality
For many resource-rich African countries, the abundance of natural resources including gold, diamonds, etc. has not led to commensurate benefits for citizens. This applies for both stable countries as well as post-conflict countries. This panel looks into challenges as to why resource-rich countries in Africa have not managed to break the “resource curse” and make it a blessing for their countries? development.
The panel will take a critical look at prevailing contracts and business practices in the extractive sector to come up with policy recommendations that could help reverse the so-called „resource curse? problem.
The Tax Justice Network-Africa is calling for papers to be submitted for discussion based on the above outline.
We would like to invite interested presenters to prepare a 300 word abstract by the deadline of 19th February in English or French and send to: Alvin Mosioma: email: africa(at)taxjustice.net
Anyone interested in participating should provide details of the nature of their interest, affiliations and any relevant research works or publications, by latest 19th February 2009. During the seminar simultaneous translation will be provided from English to French and from French to English.
Submitted abstracts will be reviewed by a committee of experts on taxation and development that has been set up by the organisers. TJN-A will cover for travel and accommodation cost for those presenters from whose papers will be accepted.
Transparency Founder Commends Govt’s Graft Battle
The New Times, January 13, 2010
Croatia’s new president, Ivo Josipovic, must join the fight against corruption
The Economist, January 12, 2010
Mendelsohn: DOJ Only Interested In High-Level Bribes
MainJustice.com, January, 12, 2010
Forbes has a column up on country-by-country reporting today.
OK, I should declare an interest: I wrote it.
The argument is a simple one: country-by-country reporting pays for us all if we wants corporations to pay their fair share of the cost of bailing out government deficits.
NB: note to those who argue companies can’t pay tax. If you’re right why do they work so hard to avoid it? And why do they claim when doing so that it’s the company that gets the saving?
UBS imposes code banning tax evasion assistance
AFP, January 12, 2010
Unlawful UBS data deal adds to legal headache
Swiss Info, January 11, 2010
Canada, Switzerland to update tax treaty
Reuters, January 11, 2010
Feds Want More Corporate Data
The National Law Journal, January 11, 2010
IRS Official Defends Arm’s-Length Standard
Tax Analysts, January 12, 2010
Central Bank puts money laundering in the crosshairs
The Daily Star, January 12, 2010
DEVELOPMENT: Chile Pins Its Hopes on the OECD
Inter Press Service, January 11, 2010
Order for UBS to release client data ruled unlawful by Swiss court
Reuters, January 11, 2010
Stanley Lubman: The Telecom Company That Didn’t Play By the Rules
Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2010
Corrupt China officials pocket 50 billion: media
AFP, January 11, 2010
Corruption-plagued Iraq joins oil transparency group
Reuters, January 10, 2010
Nigeria: From clash to cash
Gulf News, January 11, 2010
Prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing emphasised
Financial Express, January 11, 2010
GFI released the following statement today announcing the “New Haven Declaration,” a partnership between human rights and financial transparency advocacy organizations:
GFI Releases “New Haven Declaration” as a Step Forward in the Fight For Human Rights
Washington, DC — Global Financial Integrity (GFI) released today a statement-dubbed the New Haven Declaration-which debuts a new partnership between humans rights and financial transparency advocacy groups. Today’s announcement follows a meeting of prominent human rights and financial transparency organizations at Yale University in early December, 2009. The groups discussed the link between illicit financial practices, secrecy in global finance and their adverse impact on human rights.
“The links between human rights and financial transparency are undeniable,” said GFI Director Raymond Baker. “An estimated $1 trillion is siphoned out of poor countries annually. Further, some 18 million people die each year from causes stemming from economic deprivation. Of these, ten million are children under the age of five who die from diseases for which vaccines are available.”
“The New Haven Declaration makes clear that the solution to these interconnected problems lies in increased transparency and accountability in the global financial system,” said Baker.
Signed by such groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, Global Financial Integrity, Global Witness, the Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, the Open Society Institute Justice Initiative, Tax Justice Network, and the National Council of Churches, the following statement “represents a vanguard partnership in human rights, economic development, global poverty alleviation, and global financial accountability,” said Baker.
The statement and list of signatories follows:
New Haven Declaration On Human Rights and Financial Integrity
Human rights and international financial integrity are intimately linked. Where poverty is pervasive, civil, political, and economic rights often go unrealized. Today, large outflows of illicit money – many times larger than all development assistance – greatly aggravate poverty and oppression in many developing countries.
Illicit money leaves poorer countries through a global shadow financial system comprising tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations, trade mispricing, and money-laundering techniques. Much of this money is permanently shifted into western economies.
Reducing these illicit outflows requires greater transparency and integrity in the global financial system. Achieving this is a prerequisite to creating an economic framework that is open, accountable, fair, and beneficial for all.
We call upon the United Nations, the G8, G20, WTO, IMF, World Bank, and other international fora, as well as on national governments, world leaders, faith groups and civil society organizations to recognize the linkage between human rights and financial transparency. We further call for decisive steps to ensure that developing countries can retain their resources for sustainable growth and poverty alleviation, which they must achieve if the human rights of all people are to be realized.
The undersigned individuals and organizations shall be working together in the coming months to pursue this agenda and look to add additional voices to this effort.
- Amnesty International
- Human Rights Watch
- Basel Institute on Governance
- Global Financial Integrity
- Center for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics
- Open Society Institute Justice Initiative
- Asia Initiatives
- Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development
- Tax Justice Network
- Global Witness
- Christian Aid
- National Council of Churches
- Harrington Investments, Inc.
- Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia
- Thomas Pogge, Yale University
- Robert Hockett, Cornell University
- Frank Pasquale, Seton Hall
Click here to read Raymond Baker, Thomas Pogge, and Arvind Ganesan’s op-ed in the Huffington Post introducing the New Haven Declaration.
Since the attempted bombing of Northwest flight 253 on Christmas day, there’s been a lot of chatter about Yemen. In case you don’t know, this is because the bomber was allegedly trained and equipped by an arm of al-Qaeda in Yemen. Joe Lieberman has called the country “tomorrow’s war” on terror and Stephen Colbert has noted the letters in Yemen, rearranged, spell “ENEMY.”
Yemen has had a volitile history. Until as late as 1991 the land was occupied by two countries, South Yemen (People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen) and North Yemen (Yemen Arabic Republic), although the countries had approved a future union twenty years before in 1971. Unification did not end hostility between the North and South, however, and a civil war broke out in May 1994. The war ended only a few months later, but tensions between groups remain today. The current political landscape in Yemen is bleak: Southern leaders continue to call for secession, a Shiite tribal revolt is now raging in the North, and the country ranks 18th on the Fund for Peace’s 2009 Failed States Index. These conditions have made Yemen ripe for terrorist groups, who are now taking root. In fact, the U.S. government believes there are as many as 100-300 al-Qeada operatives in Yemen, perhaps including some senior officials.
Rampant corruption has not only aggravated the bleak economic outlook for Yemen (the country is one of the poorest in the world, with an average yearly income of $2,500), but has also fed fury among an already frustrated population. Abdul-Ghani al-Iryani, a USAID specialist on Yemen, notes that smuggling of diesel costs the nation as much as the country’s “total budgets for health and education combined.” And Yemen ranks a dismal 154 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s corruption index.
Corruption worsens instability, and instability makes money laundering and drug profits easy access points for terrorist financing. Yemen offers all these amenities and more.
Terrorist organizations–including al-Qeada, Hezbollah, and Hamas–are largely funded through the proceeds of drug production, as well as donations, which are laundered through charities and front organizations. A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation into a pseudoephedrine smuggling scam in the American Midwest led investigators to Yemen, where proceeds were pouring into bank accounts tied to Hezbollah. The use and production of khat (or qat)—a stimulant that is banned in the U.S.—is so widespread in Yemen that up to 40% of the country’s water supply goes toward irrigating its leaves. The drug is smuggled from Yemen into East Africa and then into the United States, with profits laundered through hawala networks (informal money exchanges, one form of illicit financial flows). Many officials believe proceeds of the drug then flow to terrorist organizations.
Front organizations provide another level of funding. Hamas, for example, uses charities like al-Aqsa International Foundation to conceal fundraising activities. The head of this organization, who was eventually arrested in Germany and extradited to the United States, had set up his offices in Yemen. Though Yemen has passed anti-money laundering legislation, its Anti-Money Laundering Information Unit (AMLIU) is understaffed with only a few employees, has no database, and is not networked internally. The US State Department notes, “The lack of capacity hampers any attempt by the AMLIU to control illicit activity in the formal financial sector.”
It all comes back to money. Money is the life blood of any organization—whether that organization is the U.S. government, the Red Cross, or al-Qaeda. And to confront the totality of fighting terrorism, we must take on the economic ties of those organizations. We must take on the dirty money.
10,000 admit to offshore tax dodge
The Telegraph, January 6, 2010
Is Preventing Tax Evasion The Same As Raising Taxes?
The Atlantic, January 6, 2010
Canada Has Tax Disclosures From 96 UBS Clients, Blackburn Says
Bloomberg, January 6, 2010
Put an end to illicit financial transactions
This Day, January 6, 2010
Last night on CBS, 60 Minutes ran a long segment investigating Swiss banking secrecy. The segment focuses on the infamous UBS banking scandal that resulted in a settlement this past August. Check out the segment below:
Pressure on banking secrecy galvanises support
Swissinfo.ch, December 23, 2009
2009: Tax havens crack, banking secrecy sinks
PTI, December 23, 2009
Swiss give banking info to Germany in Siemens case
The Associated Press, December 23, 2009
Italian tax amnesty draws over €80bn
Financial Times, December 23, 2009
Taxman gains access to accounts of suspects’ families
The Portugal News, December 23, 2009
2nd UPDATE: Greece Vows To Step Up Reform Of Public Finances
Dow Jones Newswires, December 23, 2009
Lloyds Settles U.S. Case Over Iranian Transactions
Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2009
President Calls for Crackdown on Corrupt Leaders in Society
The Korea Times, December 23, 2009
Corruption Ignored, Deplored In Afghanistan
NPR, December 23, 2009
Iraq chases many for corruption, catches few
Reuters, December 23, 2009
Ex-HSBC Banker Gets 20 Months Prison for Taking Bribe (Update2)
Bloomberg, December 23, 2009
Top female fashion CEO makes a career of ethics
Joong Ang Daily, December 23, 2009
France Says Will Keep Using Stolen Swiss Bank Tax Data
Reuters, December 22, 2009
Google: Do no evil, pay no tax
Financial News, December 22, 2009
Destination of Arms Seized by Thais Is a Mystery
New York Times, December 22, 2009
Hong Kong Firm Leased Plane Carrying Weapons
Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2009
U.S. Treasury Department Announces Settlement with Lloyds TSB Bank, PLC
US Department of Justice Release, December 22, 2009
United States: OECD Calls For An End To Facilitating Payments Exception
Mondaq News Wire, December 22, 2009
Liberia president to pay corruption whistle-blowers
BBC News, December 22, 2009
U.S. isn’t evading taxes on Citigroup
Letter to the Editor, Washington Post, December 22, 2009
December 5, 2013·
The FACT (Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency) Coalition today praised Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) for the introduction ...
December 3, 2013·
Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 offers a warning that the abuse of power, secret dealings and bribery continue to ravage societies ...
November 25, 2013·
Some of the world’s most infamous secrecy jurisdictions, such as the British Virgin Islands and Jersey are considering becoming more transparent, whereas ...