We’re delighted to bring you a guest blog by Lukas Hakelberg, a researcher from the University of Bamberg – one of our partners in the EC-funded COFFERS project. The blog outlines the motivation and key findings of a study by Lukas and a colleague, Max Schaub.
We’ve been raising the alarm about the global impact of ‘Tax Haven USA’ as the world’s biggest financial centre, increasingly an outlier, resisting broader trends towards tax transparency. The study by Hakelberg and Schaub uses the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index in addressing the question of whether this behaviour has effectively redistributed financial activity in favour of the US, and at the expense of other secrecy jurisdictions.
UK parliamentarians have the opportunity to take historic action over the next two days, ending decades of financial secrecy in the UK’s Overseas Territories.
As Parliament closes down before the General Election which will take place on the 8th June, a lot of ongoing business is now at risk. A range of Bills that have been through multiple committee stages could be lost completely, required to start from scratch in the new Parliament. But some will make it through in the intense activity of the ‘wash-up‘:
The wash-up period refers to the last few days of a Parliament before dissolution. Any unfinished business is lost at dissolution and the Government may need the co-operation of the Opposition in passing legislation that is still in progress.
By Alex Cobham
Last week I took up the kind invitation of the government of Cayman to speak at their conference on ‘Tax Transparency in the Global Financial Services Ecosystem’, and to meet with staff from the monetary authority, statistics office and corporate registry; and with a range of industry representatives including those from the compliance association and Cayman Finance. Above is a video of my presentation; and here a few reflections on the divergences between reputation, rhetoric and reality; and on where things now stand.
The Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index ranks jurisdictions according to their secrecy and the scale of their offshore financial activities. It’s a politically neutral ranking, the world’s most effective tool for understanding global financial secrecy, tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions, and illicit financial flows or capital flight. The Tax Justice Network is working hard on the results of the next Financial Secrecy Index.
What’s coming next?
We’re calling campaigners, researchers and lovers of tax justice and financial transparency to make sure you know that tomorrow, on 14th February 2017 at 14:00 CET we warmly welcome you to attend our first Financial Secrecy Index monthly call in the form of a webinar.
UPDATE: 15 February 2017, London – Bloomberg has reported that the chairman of the EU’s Panama Papers inquiry has criticised the UK Treasury for refusing to meet with its investigatory team during the recent fact-finding visit to London. Read more here.
Last year the Panama Papers scandal shook the world and lifted the lid on murky offshore dealings in spectacular fashion. The political consequences and investigations, criminal and otherwise are far from over. The European Parliament set up the Panama Papers inquiry committee tasked with investigating “alleged contraventions and maladministration in the application by the EU Commission or member states of EU laws on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion.” Today Bloomberg reports that the committee begins a series of ‘secret fact-finding meetings’ in London for two days. It has come to the heart of the beast.