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Tuesday’s Daily News Digest

Nathan Williams

Advani continues to target Congress on black money issue
News Track India, November 8, 2011

UPA must release white paper on black money: Advani
Times of India, November 8, 2011

Exclusive: Credit Suisse will disclose names of U.S. clients
Reuters, November 8, 2011

Money launderers pose national threat
The Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 2011

Swiss tax evasion storm refuses to clear
Swissinfo.ch, November 8, 2011

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Civil Society Groups Take Aim At Corporate Bribe Payers And Tax Dodgers

Nathan Williams
Protester holds sign containing figures from a recent report


Two prominent advocacy groups have released major reports last week exposing unsettling truths about bribery and tax dodging schemes among large corporations in the United States and around the world.  Berlin-based Transparency International published its annual Bribe Payers Index on Tuesday, ranking 28 countries on the perceived likelihood of bribery within their companies, followed only days later by the Corporate Tax Payers & Corporate Tax Dodgers 2008-2010 report by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

These reports might come as a windfall for Occupy demonstrators who have ramped up the scope of their protests by shutting down the nation’s fifth busiest port in Oakland, Calif. on Tuesday.

Even as prosecutions under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act have produced record sentences in recent years, the United States’ bribery score according to Transparency International has remained stagnant since the organization first published the index in 2008, with many of Europe and Asia’s advanced economies scoring consistently higher.

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Who is paying for Jersey to be a tax haven?

Richard Murphy

The reason why places like Jersey became tax havens was to raise tax revenue from third parties. The tax revenues raised were, in effect, export earnings that kept their economies afloat.

Deputy Geoff Southern in Jersey has tabled an amendment to the current Jersey budget that shatters the myth that this is still the case. As his amendment says:

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Monday’s Daily News Digest

Nathan Williams

Ethiopia: To Catch Africa’s Biggest Thieves Hiding In America!
Nazret.com (blog), November 7, 2011

G20 hails India’s ratification of UN convention against graft
Daily News & Analysis, November 5, 2011

Foreign Policy: 20 Things The G-20 Could Have Done
NPR (blog), November 4, 2011

G-20 Disappointment? Not When It Comes To Tax Report
The Wall Street Journal (blog), November 4, 2011

Tax havens will be shunned
Oman Daily Observer, November 5, 2011

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The Merchant of Death and Loopholes in U.S. AML Laws

Ann Hollingshead

flickr / Defense Images

Yesterday Heather Hobson, the jury forewoman in the trial of Viktor Bout, looked the infamous illegal arms dealer in the eyes and announced the jury’s final finding of guilt.

Bout, a former Soviet air force pilot, has been nicknamed the “Merchant of Death” for his role in funneling weapons to terrorists, including the Taliban and Al Qaeda; trans-national criminals; and armed combatants locked in some of the world’s bloodiest conflicts. Though Bout has claimed on a Russian radio program that he has “never gotten into the arms trade,” according to European intelligence sources and documents from an African country uncovered by the Center for Public Integrity, Bout “ran guns for the Taliban on behalf of the Pakistan government.” UN monitors have revealed Bout has shipped “contraband weapons to rebel movements in Angola and Sierra Leone and to the rogue regime of Charles Taylor in Liberia” and has also operated in Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Congo-Brazzaville, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland and Uganda

In 2008, Bout was arrested in Thailand after an international sting operation led by American undercover agents posing as Colombian FARC rebels convinced the Russian businessman to sell them missiles and rocket launchers. The Justice Department quickly sought his extradition, claiming the weapons would have been used to kill Americans in Colombia. But a reluctant Thailand, not wishing to step on Russia’s toes, refused the extradition request for two years. Finally, almost exactly one year ago, Thailand unexpectedly extradited Bout to the United States. That day, a motorcade whisked him to Don Maung airport and onto a 20-seat American aircraft.

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Friday’s Daily News Digest

Nathan Williams

Era of banking secrecy is over: OECD chief
AFP, November 4, 2011

Finance Ministry gets cracking on trade mispricing
The Economic Times, November 4, 2011

G20 governments sign anti-tax evasion agreement
AP, November 4, 2011

“Robin Hood tax” gaining support at G20
CBS News, November 3, 2011

Tax avoidance must no longer be seen as a legitimate activity
The Journal, November 2, 2011

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2011 Task Force Conference Updated, Conference Report, Video Now Live

EJ Fagan

Xavier Granet/Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development

The Task Force 2011 Conference section of this website has now been updated in both English and French. It will remain on this site as a product of the successful conference and valuable resource both for attendees and those who could not make it to Paris.

In the video section, you can watch over a dozen full-length recordings of the conference proceedings, including the live teleconference key note address from economist Jeffrey Sachs, in both French and English.

You can download a PDF copy of the 2011 Conference Report in English here. The report will be available in French soon. You can also download a copy of the final conference agenda in either French or English.

While you are at it, you can view pictures of the conference on our Flickr page or on Facebook.


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Thursday’s Daily News Digest

Nathan Williams

Study: Big corporations use loopholes, dodge taxes
The Washington Post, November 3, 2011

Corporate Taxpayers and Corporate Tax Dodgers, 2008-2010
Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, November 3, 2011

Greek Turmoil Set to Stress G20 Leaders
The Jakarta Globe, November 3, 2011

G20 summit and bribery: Is the anti-corruption effort for real?
The Christian Science Monitor, November 2, 2011

Arms dealer Viktor Bout convicted
The Washington Post, November 2, 2011

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Concrete Steps for Cannes

Ann Hollingshead

Mountaintops provide a convenient symbol for anything from achievement to power.  So it doesn’t come as a surprise that the meeting of the world’s twenty most powerful leaders is called the G20 “summit.”  Actually, the copycat nomenclature runs far deeper.  For instance: the diplomats who lay the groundwork for the G20 leaders’ trip to the summit? They’re dubbed “Sherpa,” with a dash of self-aware irony, after the Nepalese guides who help mountaineers scale peaks inNepal.  And with what may be a move to thrash the symbol to death, the G20 Sherpa’s aides are called “yaks.”

It was just over two years ago that the G20 started seriously talking about illicit financial flows. It was then that a leaked letter from Michael Froman, the U.S. Sherpa, ahead of the G20 Summit in 2009, read: “As we take these steps to increase the flow of capital to developing countries, we also need to prevent its illicit outflow. We should work with the World Bank and others to stem these flows and to secure the return of stolen assets to developing countries.”

At the time, I expressed optimism, but noted that the declaration was only a midway point; the real work was still ahead. I wrote: “G20 summits, much like their namesakes, are often self-admiring [and] short lived…the summit is the halfway point. The descent is often equally, if not more, dangerous than the ascent. After all, once a group of climbers has committed to a project (and by my count there is nothing more committing than climbing a mountain or signing a declaration issued by the world’s most powerful), they have to follow through.”

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Wednesday’s Daily News Digest

Nathan Williams

Reveal names of black money account holders to public: L K Advani to govt
The Economic Times, November 2, 2011

Is Switzerland Losing Its Status As An International Tax Haven?
PolicyMic, November 2, 2011

LEVIN: Want to cut the deficit? End offshore tax abuses
Argus-Press, November 1, 2011

Tax Evaders Face Greater Scrutiny as National Debts Pile Up
The New York Times, November 2, 2011

Shell game: Hidden owners and motives
CNN, October 26, 2011

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Offshore Crime Inc Wins Daniel Pearl Award for Investigative Journalism

Tax Justice Network


Cross-posted at the Tax Justice Network blog.

TJN is delighted that a long term investigation into how Eastern European criminals and politicians have been using secrecy jurisdictions to hide the proceeds from their crimes has been selected as one of the two overall winners of this year’s Daniel Pearl Award for cross-border investigative journalism. TJN has been involved in this investigation, along with our colleagues at Global Financial Integrity and Global Witness, and our Financial Secrecy Index, which placed the USA at the top of the ranking, and drew specific attention to how Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming provide offshore secrecy, is also cited in the report.

We have always argued that secrecy induces criminality and secrecy jurisdictions provide a supply side environment that encourages criminal activity. In social science terms, secrecy jurisdictions create a ‘criminogenic’ economy, in which criminal behaviour is significantly more profitable than productive activity. The markets adapt accordingly, which explains why so many major banks have been under investigation for supporting criminal clients. The journalists behind this project came to similar conclusions about how secrecy jurisdictions shape market behaviour:

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Monday’s Daily News Digest

Nathan Williams

Read of the Week: The Uphill Battle Against Money Laundering
The Council on Foreign Relations Blog, October 28, 2011

SC to hear plea for recovery of looted wealth today
Dawn.com, October 31, 2011

The Corruption Trap
INSEAD Knowledge, October 24, 2011

100Reporters Launches — Groundbreaking New News Organization with Focus on Exposing Corruption in Governments, Politics and Business
PRWeb, October 30, 2011

“The U.S. Already Has Blood On Its Hands”
Citizens for Tax Justice, October 28, 2011

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Latest Press Releases

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 ...

New Standard Chartered Settlement Underscores Insufficiency of Fines & Monitoring in Deterring Illicit Activity at International Banks

Global Financial Integrity · August 20, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – As New York regulators announced that British bank Standard Chartered ...