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The Kleptocracy Curse and the threat to global security

October 28, 2016   Blog, Corruption

This is well worth watching: journalist and author of Author of ‘Fragile Empire‘ and ‘This Is London‘ and Ben Judah presents his report at the Hudson Institute on how kleptocrats and what he calls the ‘global wealth defence industry’ (or the secrecy and tax avoidance/evasion industry) is wreaking havoc on the global economy and represents a serious threat to international peace and security. He draws on our research on quantifying offshore funds and our Financial Secrecy Index.

Quote of the day: South Africa’s Finance Minister

Pravin GordhanFrom the 2016 budget speech in South Africa, from Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan:

“We will continue to act aggressively against the evasion of tax through transfer pricing abuses, misuse of tax treaties and illegal money flows. Drawing on the work of the OECD, the G20 joint project on base erosion and profit shifting and independent bodies such as the Tax Justice Network, further measures will be taken to address such revenue losses, including inappropriate use of hybrid debt instruments.”

A bit self-congratulatory of us to put this here, but hey. We’d add, however, a couple of things.

Illicit financial flows: the links to peace and security concerns

GREAT_Insights_Vol5_iss1_Cobham_Fig2The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, the global framework guiding policy until 2030) include a target to reduce illicit financial flows (IFF), under SDG 16 on peace and security.

Our research director, Alex Cobham, has written an article for the European Centre for Development Policy Management tracing the linkages between illicit flows and security, and the basis for this important target – along with a few additional suggestions for indicators, to ensure its effectiveness.

New report: tax treaties in sub-Saharan Africa

New TJN-Africa report

New TJN-Africa report

Via Martin Hearson’s website, here is a new report he authored for Tax Justice Network-Africa. As Hearson says, it’s based on field research done a year ago and has been a little while getting into print.

Here’s a link to read it online at

Here’s a link to download the PDF

Among many other things, the report highlights the extent to which tax treaties — which have profound implications for how the tax revenues from cross-border investments are shared between countries (see here) — have been negotiated amid highly unequal power relationships:

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