The tax deal between the UK and Switzerland initialed today is reported to:
retrospectively tax existing banking relationships in Switzerland, persons resident in the UK should be given one chance to make an anonymous lump-sum tax payment. The size of this tax burden will vary from between 19% to 34% of the assets in question, and will be determined based on the duration of the client relationship as well as the initial and final amount of the capital. Instead of such a payment, those affected should also have the possibility of disclosing their banking relationship in Switzerland to the British authorities.
To say that this is a quite extraordinary act by the UK government massively understates the irresponsibilioty of what they have agreed.
The UK is apparently going to accept settlement for past tax at around 30% of the assets held in a Swiss account. That might be reasonable if the funds placed in Switzerland had been taxed in the UK before being deposited in Switzerland and it was only the income on those funds that had been evaded since then. But what we know for sure is that most money held in Switzerland got their illicitly – it was not taxed before its arrival in the Alps. It’s tax evaded money.
WASHINGTON, DC – Comparable to the dogged pursuit of Al Capone by Eliot Ness, “Chasing Madoff” is the compelling story of Harry Markopolos and his team of investigator’s ten-year struggle to expose the truth behind the infamous Bernie Madoff scandal. Over the course of a decade, Markopolos pieced together a chain of white-collar crooks including international bankers, lieutenants, and henchmen, linked to Madoff’s devestating Ponzi scheme.
As the investigation deepened, the danger posed to Markopolis and his team grew. Finding himself trapped in a web of deceit and intimidation, the once unassuming Boston securities analyst turned vigilante investigator feared for his life and the safety of his family. In the end, Harry was armed to the teeth and fearful for his life and the life of his family.
Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is giving away five free passes (each pass is good for admission of two persons) to opening week screenings of “Chasing Madoff,” at the E Street Cinema in downtown Washington, DC. To qualify to win a free pass, go to GFI’s Facebook page and Like this post, or visit us on Twitter and retweet this post.
Billions spent on Afghan police but brutality, corruption prevail
Reuters, August 24, 2011
Ramlila Journal: Biggest Corruption Gripe? It’s Not 2G, Stupid
Wall Street Journal, August 23, 2011
Corruption charges filed against 4 Indian lawmakers in bribery scandal over ’08 nuclear deal
Associated Press, August 24, 2011
Foreigners deposit less money in Swiss banks
The Local (Switzerland), August 23, 2011
America is GE’s tax haven
Reuters, August 23, 2011
Thaksin’s ex-wife Pojaman cleared of tax evasion
BBC News, August 24, 2011
“Art is a revolt against fate.”
It was André Malraux, a French adventurer who traveled China in the 1930s, who said that. Malraux believed art is more than just a source of “aesthetic pleasure.” His most enduring concept was “le musée imaginaire” or “the museum without walls”, which asserted that art could be more powerful as an experience outside the traditional confines of museums.
At the moment China is headed down a crash course with its own fate.
China has had massive problems with bribery, corruption, and illicit financial flows for years. In fact illicit outflows from the People’s Republic of China have ranged from an annual US$169 billion in 2000 to US$344 billion in 2008. The country is also, by far, the largest transmitter of illicit financial flows in the developing world. And in case it’s not already obvious, let me clarify that these numbers are unbelievably large. For a point of comparison, the PRC’s stock of total external debt in 2008 was $378 billion, just slightly greater than its total illicit outflows in that year alone.
Other nations were hurt by our low corporation tax rate-ESRI
Independent (Ireland), August 23, 2011
Ex-UBS Client Must Give Tax Records to Grand Jury, U.S. Court Rules
Bloomberg, August 23, 2011
Ocean Bank to pay nearly $11 million in drug money case
Miami Herald, August 22, 2011
Ex-Thai Official Tests Reach Of Money Laundering Law in Corrupton Case
Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2011
Govt launches crackdown on organized crime
New Zealand Herald, August 23, 2011
Regulations curb property money laundering
Saigon News, August 20, 2011
“Tax havens”, he notes, “have proliferated even as the politicians have occasionally railed against them” we like the twist to the politician’s collective tails implied by the word ‘occasionally’. And he continues: “In the end the poor are doubly hit, first by global market forces, then by the ability of the rich to park money at low taxes in hideaways around the world.”
We have argued for many, many years, that tax havens are a major faultline in the globalisation project, and Sachs clearly shares our viewpoint. Not only has wealth cascaded upwards into the hands of a tiny, tiny minority – killing ‘trickle down’ theory stone dead – but tax competition has forced governments to concede to the power of big business:
Civil Society Shows Its Muscle
IPS, August 22, 2011
India sees no evil
Ottawa Citizen, August 20, 2011
Nigerian economy: Motion without movement
Daily Independent, August 20, 2011
Corruption weakens Thai anti-trafficking, says UN expert
Trustlaw, August 19, 2011
NZ set to tighten bribery laws ahead of trade deal
ONE News, August 19, 2011
Corruption in Nigeria: Multi-nationals pay $3.2b fine
Sunday Tribune (Nigeria), August 21, 2011
Vietnam and the World Bank recently held the first Viet Nam Anti-Corruption Intiative, or VACI. The Initiative encouraged the public—whether ordinary citizens, NGOs, or private business—to develop proposals to help combat corruption in their communities. VACI then selected 34 promising ideas, and awarded a total of approximately $450,000 to help fund the implementation of these plans in the coming year. It is hoped that this initiative will be repeated in 2013.
In order for pervasive corruption to be combated effectively, public support for anti-corruption initiatives is essential, and this year has seen people around the world taking a stand against graft in their societies.
The year began with ordinary Tunisians and Egyptians boldly casting out the corrupt dictators who stole their countries’ resources for decades. Bribery reporting websites, such as IPaidABribe.com (I Paid A Bribe), have become popular in India, China, and elsewhere. I Paid A Bribe has seen over 12,500 bribes reported, totaling almost $7,000,000 (317 million rupees). Now, the Indian public continues to take a strong anti-corruption stance, with students, Bollywood stars, and even Mumbai’s famed dabbawallahs, or lunch-deliverymen, have thrown their support behind Anna Hazare and his India Against Corruption movement.
The world of dirty money (part 1)
Corporations, crime, corruption, and capital flight (part 2)
TNCs, transfer pricing, and tax avoidance (part 3)
Fighting illicit capital flight (part 4)
Pambazuka News, August 18, 2011
365 days of freedom
Deccan Chronicle, August 19, 2011
US warns about Argentina’s ‘lack of progress’ in fighting money laundering activities
Buenos Aires Herald, August 19, 2011
Long Island Man Pleads Guilty To Running A Hawala
Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2011
France spurns Swiss offer to tax stashed assets
Reuters, August 19, 2011
Earlier this week, Facebook, and other sites, were buzzing with talk about Warren Buffett’s op-ed in The New York Times, where the American billionaire called on U.S. policymakers to raise the income tax rate for the richest Americans. Indeed, The Washington Post even posted a link on its Facebook page to an AP article about the op-ed with this apt description: “In case you missed it — and there’s only a slim chance you did — Warren Buffett is calling on the so-called ‘mega-rich‘ to pay more in taxes.” Most of the reactions I saw were supportive of Mr. Buffett’s message, while others supported part of it but argued that the solution is a flat tax rate. But one post stood out for me – while commenting on Mr. Buffett’s op-ed, a friend of mine drew the connection to the uproar only a few months back about the effective tax rate G.E. pays. Mr. Buffett’s populist message sounds nice, but what is he really calling for, and how would it affect the budget and inequality issues plaguing the U.S. economy?
In June, Reuters released the first article in “Shell Games,” their ongoing series of investigations into corporate secrecy. The piece, “A little house of secrets on the Great Plains,” exposed Wyoming’s lax incorporation laws. Featured prominently in the story was a house in Cheyenne that was the official headquarters of over 2,000 corporations, including some suspected of helping corrupt foreign leaders and dodging online gambling laws.
Wyoming has some of the most relaxed business incorporation rules in the country (along with Nevada and Delaware), which has made it a haven for those looking to establish shell companies, or even purchase already existing “shelf companies” in order to mask their financial dealings. The dangers these rules pose have been noted internationally, as the article points out:
Anna Hazare: One-Sixth of India’s GDP Lost to Corruption
International Business Times, August 17, 2011
India’s Singh on the wrong side of history over graft
The Australian, August 19, 2011
Africa looking to set up tax havens
IOL Business Report, August 18, 2011
Looking for a tax haven? You can still find one.
Die Welt, August 16, 2011
U.S. excels in anti-graft enforcement-report
Trustlaw (Reuters), August 17, 2011
Money Laundering: on the rise
Financial Times, August 18, 2011
May 10, 2013·
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) lauded former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Africa Progress Panel (APP), which he chairs, ...
April 25, 2013·
WASHINGTON, DC / LONDON – In a major victory for transparency advocates, British Prime Minister David Cameron called on members of the ...
April 25, 2013·
LONDON - Prime Minister David Cameron revealed today that the UK will be seeking action from the G8 to end the abuse ...