Tax Justice Blog

Tax havens and corruption: Lebedev and TJN in the NYT

LebedevFrom Alexander Lebedev in the New York Times:

“According to the Tax Justice Network, an independent group promoting efforts to curb tax avoidance, crooked business people, working with corrupt officials, have embezzled $30 trillion over the last 15 years — or half of the world’s annual gross domestic product.”

Guernsey milking and the offshore stock exchange

The International Advisor magazine has just reported:

“Guernsey chief minister Peter Harwood resigned today, in the wake of publication of a critical article in the current issue of the British satirical and investigative publication, Private Eye.”

This refers to an excellent report entitled “Milking in Guernsey” by The Eye into the scandal-plagued Guernsey-based Channel Islands Stock Exchange (CISX,)

Fashion retailer’s tax dodges boost European inequality

ZaraBloomberg tax star Jesse Drucker has another fine article out about the Spanish retailer Inditex, the parent of high street retail giant Zara. We would urge you to read it. Among many other things, it contains:

“In the past five years, Inditex has shifted almost $2 billion in profits to a tiny unit operating in the Netherlands and Switzerland, records show. Although that subsidiary employs only about 0.1 percent of Inditex’s worldwide workforce, it reported almost 20 percent of the parent company’s global profits last year.”

Ernst & Young: why Dubai’s first conflict gold audit was silenced

City of GoldWe have remarked before on Dubai’s role as a particularly egregious and recalcitrant secrecy jurisdiction, harbouring some of the world’s worst scoundrels and their money: the likes of Indian master criminal Dawood Ibrahim, the arms dealer Viktor Bout, and many others. Dubai ranks 16th in our Financial Secrecy Index overall, and a pretty mucky 19th place (out of 82) when measured purely on its secrecy score. Read the whole fascinating story about how Dubai became a secrecy jurisdiction here.

Now, from Global Witness, a tale to confirm our concerns:

Revealed: Why Dubai’s first conflict gold audit never saw the light of day

25th February 2014

According to a former partner at Ernst & Young, the global accountancy firm turned a blind eye when a report of major audit failures at Dubai’s biggest gold refinery went unpublished. A Global Witness report released today, City of Gold,considers the implications.

Automatic info exchange: will Europe’s spoilers soon play ball?

February 25, 2014   AllEurope, Blog, Information Exchange

Recently we explored the welcome (if imperfect) news that the OECD had presented its report on a new global standard for countries and tax havens to exchange information with each other automatically: a brand new tool for fighting tax evasion. And a few days ago we reported on a European parliamentary vote to create public registries of companies and trusts in the EU.

Now, from

“European Union Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta has confirmed that an agreement on plans to revise the European Union (EU) Savings Tax Directive is expected in March.

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