Anti-Corruption Group Warns Sensenbrenner of Political Peril in FCPA Changes
Just Anti-Corruption (Subscription Required), September 22, 2011
Is Manmohan Singh the Perfect Economic Hit Man?
Salem-News, September 22, 2011
Wocu makes strides but experts say victory is premature
Financial Advisor, September 22, 2011
Revenue targets accounts of 2,000 suspected tax dodgers
Irish Examiner, September 23, 2011
Impact of foreign Anti-Corruption campaigns
Bangkok Post, September 23, 2011
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is a global, instrumental inter-governmental group that develops and promotes policies battle money laundering and terrorist financing. The FATF issues a set of recommendations to outline criminal justice and regulatory measures that countries should implement to effectively fight these problems.
This set includes the FATF’s 40 Recommendations, which are a detailed list of anti-money laundering (AML) measures and span the criminal justice system, law enforcement, the financial system, financial regulation, and international co-operation. Additionally, the FATF has promulgated 9 Special Recommendations, which specifically address terrorist financing. Together the 40+9 Recommendations form the international standard for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. There are currently 36 members of the FATF, which includes 34 jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations, and over 180 countries and jurisdictions have endorsed the FATF’s 40+9 Recommendations.
The FATF is currently conducting a review of these Recommendations in three separate stages to ensure they are up to date and relevant. They also want to ensure that Recommendations reflect the most current global conditions and benefit from lessons many countries have learned in the process of implementing and evaluating them. While the FATF provides a global standard on these issues, it recognizes there is always room for improvement, particularly through discussion with organizations, governments, and individuals who understand these complex, dynamic issues and have thought out coherent and effective solutions. It is pleasing the FATF has encouraged a public debate and has welcomed members of civil society to participate.
G20 Risks Undermining Fight Against Tax Dodgers, Warns Christian Aid
Christian Aid, September 22, 2011
Global partnership to combat corruption launched
Trust Law, September 22, 2011
Merkel Government Signs Swiss Tax Deal as Opposition Bridles
Bloomberg, September 21, 2011
Tax treaty rejig on hold as Mauritius faces political crisis
Times of India, September 22, 2011
More attention needs to be paid to money laundering, say KPMG
Business Daily, September 22, 2011
Petition moved in SC to recover looted wealth from politicians, bureaucrats
Daily Times (Pakistan), September 21, 2011
Anna Hazare: India’s New Superhero
Newsline (Pakistan), September 21, 2011
US Joins Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative Amid Open Government Launch
Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2011
News Corp. Said to Get U.S. Letter Seeking Information For Bribery Probe
Bloomberg, September 20, 2011
Survey Finds Big Business Breaks Out AML Compliance
Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2011
Today, at the United Nations in New York City, President Obama inaugurated the Open Government Partnership (OGP) with Brazil, the co-chair. The OGP is a global effort to improve governance worldwide through transparency and accountability—two principals that many members of this Task Force have argued for persuasively for many years. To become a member of OGP, countries must adopt an Open Government Declaration, deliver a country action plan, and commit to independent reporting. As of today, eight countries have joined the OGP: Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, and—the relentless crusader for anticorruption and better governance—Norway. Currently, Albania and Azerbaijan are developing their commitments, in hopes of joining the OGP soon.
At the event, President Obama called open government “the essence of democracy.” Well put, sir.
Even more exciting, though, is the President’s commitment to the EITI or the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) through the OGP. The EITI is a voluntary framework under which governments publicly disclose their revenues from oil, gas, and mining assets. Likewise companies make parallel disclosures regarding payments they are making to obtain access to these resources. This data provides an important point of comparison and fosters integrity and accountability. Through the OGP, the United States has noted it is committed to implementing the EITI to “ensure that taxpayers are receiving every dollar due for extraction of our natural resources.” This is important because the U.S. is a major developer of natural resources and “collects approximately $10 billion in annual revenues from the development of oil, gas, and minerals on Federal lands and offshore.”
Glencore and BP named as worst offenders at top of tax secrecy table
This is Money, September 20, 2011
The Moving Finger Writes UPA’s unwillingness to fight corruption
Organiser, September 25, 2011
FATF targets corruption, tax evasion as part of AML efforts
TrustLaw, September 20, 2011
Anti-money laundering slips on board agendas
Insurance Daily, September 20, 2011
Voice of America (Editorial), September 20, 2011
As The Guardian reports this morning:
More than a third of the subsidiaries owned by major energy and mining companies including Shell, BP and Glencore are based in “secrecy jurisdictions” where company accounts are not publicly available, according to a report.
The study by Publish What You Pay Norway, which campaigns for transparent accounting among oil, gas and mining giants, claims that populations in resource-rich countries are losing out because they are unable to extract financial information from businesses operating on their soil or off their seaboards.
“Extractive industry giants’ corporate ownership structures, their use of secrecy jurisdictions and the lack of meaningful information they impart is a major reason why stakeholders in resource-rich nations often meet a wall of silence when asking questions,” says the report. “This makes it very difficult to hold their politicians and the companies that extract oil, gas and minerals to account.”
The full report is available here. And yes, in the interests of full disclosure, I should note I advised on its production.
Changing Key Law Could Mean “License To Bribe”
IPS, September 17, 2011
Book Review: Sense, Sensex And Sensibilities: The Failure Of India’s Financial Sentinels
DNA India, September 18, 2011
Tax Fight or Flight?
Wall Street Journal, September 19, 2011
2,250 tax inspectors lined up for avoidance focus
Accountancy Age, September 19, 2011
Tax evasion costs gov’t P40B a year
Manila Bulletin, September 19, 2011
Have you ever heard someone really intelligent say something really wrong? I certainly have. It happens all the time. Smart people aren’t always right. Well, apparently, that’s also true of publications.
The Economist, which self-identifies as a magazine for the highly intelligent, has (with perhaps a touch of good humor) claimed in its advertisements that it “makes white collars brighter” and called itself the “leaders digest.” This may be a bit self-inflated, but generally speaking The Economist is a thoughtful publication. While I don’t agree with many of its convictions, I more often than not respect its point of view. At the very least, I believe its articles are well-researched, carefully considered, and supported by facts.
Fight brews over anti-bribery law as fines jump
Reuters, September 15, 2011
Anti-Corruption Views – Another call for Congress to hold firm on FCPA
Trust Law, September 16, 2011
U.S. tax-evasion probe turns to Israeli banks
Reuters (Exclusive), September 16, 2011
HMRC Tackles Manufactured Overseas Dividends Tax Avoidance Scheme
Tax News, September 16, 2011
Bridgestone To Plead Guilty To Conspiring To Rig Bids, Bribe Foreign Officials
Wall Street Journal, September 15, 2011
It pains me to report that The Economist published a shoddy piece of journalism today on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The article can be read in full here.
Heather Lowe, Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity, has responded to the article by publishing the following comment on The Economist’s website:
I am quite surprised by both the tenor and lack of critical analysis in this particular piece. It is important that Economist readers understand the following:
1. The UK Bribery Act has (i) an offence that is bribery per se, with absolutely no intent element of the crime (often called “strict liability”), and (ii) and offense that is bribery with intent. The UK compliance defense is ONLY available to defend the first charge, the strict liability offense. The FCPA does not have a strict liability offense – to be found guilty for bribery under the FCPA there had to be intent to pay off a foreign official to make a decision in the company’s favor. Therefore, to say that the UK Bribery Act has a defense that is lacking under the FCPA is misleading – the defense is only available in the UK to defend a much more extreme offense than exists under the FCPA.
Whether it’s tackling corporate tax dodging, changing international rules on tax havens, or improving tax systems, everyone involved in the international tax justice movement is aiming to increase the tax take in developing countries.
This is both to increase the money available to pay for nurses, teachers and roads, desperately needed when you’re trying to run, say, a health service on a few dollars per person per year – as is the case in many of the poorest countries. It is also to encourage and develop the social contract between state and citizen, improving accountability. And it is to afford poor countries autonomy over their own development.
Ensuring greater autonomy over development policies is less discussed than many of these reasons, but no less important. Broadly speaking, the alternative to domestic revenue as a source of public finance is aid. Aid is a good thing – a useful and necessary form of finance, not to mention, at its best, a display of international solidarity. But dependency on aid is a bad thing. Not, as is sometimes argued, because it dampens growth or inhibits tax effort – the evidence for these assertions is thin at best.
March 19, 2014·
Vancouver, Canada, March 18, 2014 –This year’s TED Prize winner – Charmian Gooch of Global Witness – has announced that she will use the prestigious million-dollar award “to make it impossible for criminals and corrupt dictators to hide behind anonymous companies.” The announcement was made live and online from the TED stage in Vancouver, with support from leading members of the business, political, law enforcement and campaigning community.
March 11, 2014·
Joint NGO Media Reaction Financial Transparency Coalition – Eurodad – Global Witness – Transparency International EU Office – Oxfam Brussels, March 11, 2014 – Today, the European Parliament endorsed the creation of public registers of who really owns companies, trusts and other legal structures. This will make it much harder for criminals, tax evaders, corrupt politicians and other money launderers to hide their identity, and their illicitly-acquired assets, behind anonymous companies and trusts.
February 20, 2014·
Joint NGO media reaction Financial Transparency Coalition – Eurodad - Global Witness - Oxfam A cross political party agreement in the European Parliament ...