BRISBANE—With the release of the Brisbane communiqué, G20 leaders have acknowledged the cracks in our financial system, yet they haven’t acted on some common sense steps to bolster the fight against illicit financial flows.
“It’s good that G20 leaders have been discussing the ravaging effects tax evasion, avoidance and money laundering have on our economies, but they seem to discuss the problem every year. There is a strong and growing consensus across experts, business leaders, and even the accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers on some common sense financial transparency measures,” said Porter McConnell, Manager of the Financial Transparency Coalition. “Unfortunately, G20 leaders left a number of key actions on the table.”
It’s a vital step that G20 leaders have recognized the importance of collecting information on the beneficial owners of companies. But the fact that the word ‘public’ is still missing from both beneficial ownership registers and country by country reporting standards shows that G20 leaders aren’t fully committed to finding the strongest solutions.
BRISBANE—While G20 leaders are poised to address many of the vehicles that are integral to allowing almost one trillion dollars to flow out of developing countries each year, political pressures should not force talks to backtrack.
“The fact that so many of the world’s leaders are in one place is a rare opportunity to get things done,” said Porter McConnell, Manager of the Financial Transparency Coalition. “The summit should not be seen as a rubber stamping process; heads of state should use their 48 hours in Brisbane wisely to reach consensus on some common sense measures before them to curb illicit financial flows.”
The Luxembourg Leaks investigation demonstrated that tax dodging and profit shifting aren’t just a problem for the tax havens that enable them; the affects are felt in countries all over the world.
WASHINGTON D.C. — Newly leaked documents detailed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists describe worrying tax arrangements negotiated between Luxembourg and more than 340 multinational companies. The details of the agreements offer a first hand look at the methods use by corporations to shift profits around the world with ease. “While G20 leaders proclaim that […]
WASHINGTON, DC – While noting significant progress today in the global effort to curb tax evasion, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) expressed concerns that the OECD/G20 movement toward automatic exchange of financial information was excluding the world’s poorest countries from reaping any benefits while failing to deal with the issue of illicit financial flows in comprehensive manor.
89 countries committed Wednesday to implement automatic exchange of financial information between jurisdictions by the end of 2017 or 2018 at the annual meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in Berlin.
Owners of anonymous companies registered in U.S. states are ripping off innocent people and businesses across America, says a new report by Global Witness. Drawing on 22 cases involving anonymous companies from 27 states, The Great Rip Off shows how fraudsters, mobsters, money-launderers, tax-evaders and corrupt politicians are able to use anonymously-owned American companies to cover their tracks and evade the authorities.
“We looked at all sorts of crimes across the U.S. and found two things in common. They were all carried out by anonymous owners of American companies, and the authorities are spending lots of time and money trying to stop them. These untraceable companies are the getaway cars for criminals – and it’s time to take away the keys,” said Charmian Gooch, Global Witness Director.
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The G20’s recent focus on financial transparency is a welcome development, but instituting bare minimum requirements, or plans that allow for exclusion, simply give illicit flows an opportunity to continue their hazardous drain on the world’s most vulnerable economies.
Last Tuesday, the OECD released recommendations on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), which are aimed at cutting down on the ability of corporations to shift profits into tax havens. It’s well intentioned, but the execution leaves much to be desired.
“Apparently, transparency now takes place behind closed doors,” said Porter McConnell, Manager of the Financial Transparency Coalition (FTC). “From a small group of nations setting the standard for the rest of the world, to the OECD’s extreme measures to preserve total confidentiality in country-by-country reporting requirements, G20 Finance Ministers are ultimately getting flawed guidance.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) new recommendations to fight multinational corporate tax avoidance look robust from the onset, but there’s something missing. Since the most vital reporting information will remain out of the reach of ordinary citizens, the recommendations don’t do enough to bring transparency to a global financial system badly in need of it.
The OECD’s project on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) is intended to crack down on the ability of corporations to move profits overseas, through mis-invoicing trade transactions to avoid taxes and other dubious practices. With nearly a trillion dollars leaving developing country economies each year in illicit cash, coordinated global action to plug the loopholes is desperately needed. But key elements of the financial data collected will be kept confidential, and out of the public’s view.
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil / WASHINGTON, DC – More than US$400 billion flowed illegally out of Brazil between 1960 and 2012— draining domestic resources, driving the underground economy, exacerbating inequality, and facilitating crime and corruption—according to a new report to be published Monday, September 8th at a press event in Rio de Janeiro by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington DC-based research and advocacy organization.
Titled “Brazil: Capital Flight, Illicit Flows, and Macroeconomic Crises, 1960-2012,” the study finds that trade misinvoicing—the fraudulent over- and under-invoicing of trade transactions—accounted for the vast majority (92.7 percent) of the country’s illicit financial outflows over the 53-year period analyzed.
WASHINGTON, DC – As New York regulators announced that British bank Standard Chartered PLC will pay a fine of $300 million for failing to rectify anti-money laundering deficiencies as required by the bank’s August 2012 settlement with New York regulators, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) warned that the agreement underscored the fact that fines and monitoring are insufficient for deterring illicit activity at international banks.
“As I noted in August 2012 when the original Standard Chartered settlement was first announced, monitoring and paltry fines are not an effective response in this case,” said Heather Lowe, GFI’s legal counsel and director of government affairs. “In 2004, Standard Chartered was forced to submit to monitoring by regulators for significant anti-money laundering deficiencies. The illicit activity covered in the August 2012 settlement was happening while the first round of monitoring was already in place. Now it appears that the monitoring and fines imposed in 2012 did little to rectify the situation at Standard Chartered. They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over-again and expecting a different result. The settlement today is a prime example of that.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) welcomed the announcement from the White House and African leaders today regarding the establishment of a bilateral U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance, but the Washington-DC based research and advocacy organization cautioned that any effective partnership must be sure to address deficiencies in both the U.S. and in Africa that facilitate the hemorrhage of illicit capital from Africa.
“We welcome the move by President Obama and certain African leaders to form this partnership on curbing illicit financial flows from African economies,” said GFI President Raymond Baker, who also serves on the UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. “Illicit financial flows are by far the most damaging economic problem facing Africa. By announcing the creation of the U.S.-Africa Partnership to Combat Illicit Finance, President Obama and African leaders have taken the first step towards tackling the most pernicious global development challenge of our time.”
WASHINGTON, DC – As African leaders descend on Washington this week for the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) called on the Obama Administration and Heads of State from across the continent to prioritize efforts to curtail illicit financial flows from Africa, which GFI estimates cost the continent roughly US$55.6 billion per year over the past decade.
“Illicit financial outflows are by far the most damaging economic problem facing Africa,” said GFI President Raymond Baker, who sits on the UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa. “In 2011 alone, US$76.9 billion flowed illegally out of Africa. That’s nearly US$77 billion that could have been invested in local businesses, in healthcare, in education, or in infrastructure. It’s money that could have been used to help pull people out of poverty and save lives. This Summit provides an historic opportunity for the United States and for leaders across Africa to focus their efforts on curtailing this hemorrhage of illicit capital.”
On Monday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released detailed guidelines on the common reporting standard for automatic exchange of financial information (AEOI). The plan inches closer to implementation of a global standard but continues to keep developing countries looking in from the outside.
Rather than offer a period of non-reciprocity, where developing countries could simply receive financial data, the only mention of non-reciprocity agreements is catered to tax havens.