Cannes Summit: G20 Urged to End Tax Haven Secrecy

Global Financial Integrity (GFI) today joined over 40,000 people from around the world calling on G20 leaders to end tax haven secrecy when they meet this week in Cannes, France.

The 40,000+ signatures were collected by the End Tax Haven Secrecy campaign, which today handed over a letter urging French President Nicholas Sarkozy—the current G20 chair—to tackle the issue, which costs developing countries roughly $1.25 trillion a year—ten times more than they receive in foreign aid annually.

“G20 leaders have it in their power to significantly curtail these massive flows of money out of the developing world,” said Global Financial Integrity Director Raymond W. Baker.  “Secrecy jurisdictions provide a safe haven for the ill gotten gains of kleptocrats, criminals and tax evaders.  It is time the world’s largest and most powerful economies make a concerted effort to tackle this problem.”

The End Tax Haven Secrecy campaign is a global coalition involving 56 organizations (including GFI) in more than 20 countries, whose aim is to end tax haven secrecy and its deeply corrosive effects around the world.

The coalition is calling on the G20 to prioritize the implementation of the following concrete policy measures:

Country-by-country reporting – ensuring there is nothing to hide wherever companies do real business;
Registers of beneficial ownership – ensuring zero tolerance for shadow companies and secrecy vehicles; and
Automatic Exchange of Tax Information – ensuring economic and financial crime isn’t swept under the carpet.

UPDATE:  Global Financial Integrity reports that at the summit, results from growing international pressure to fight tax havens were very evident. In a remarkable moment, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stood up in front of his fellow heads of state and strongly advocated for Automatic Exchange of Tax Information in order to shut down tax havens, one of the End Tax Haven Secrecy (ETHS) campaign’s three action points.

While, in the end we might not have achieved Automatic Exchange, we made significant progress as the G20, in its final outcome document, openly committed to tackling illicit financial flows and strongly linked tax haven secrecy to poverty for the first substantial time.

Moreover, a second ETHS action point — requiring that the beneficial owners of corporate structures be disclosed — moved forard as the G20 called on international regulators to make it a priority to fight the abuse of corporate vehicles.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!