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Business for Democracy and ASBC Lead Effort to Overturn Citizens United v. FEC

The Business for Democracy Campaign, which the American Sustainable Business Council is spearheading in partnership with Free Speech for People is tackling the compelling issue of corporate contributions to political campaigns.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision on January 21, 2010 allows corporations to spend unlimited funds to support or oppose candidates for political office, overturning campaign finance laws in place for decades. The Business for Democracy campaign is an initiative of business leaders and their companies who believe this ruling is in direct conflict with American democratic principles and a serious threat to good government. The campaign supports the four members of the Supreme Court and the 80 percent of Americans who disagree with the decision (Washington Post poll, Feb. 17, 2010).

If you'd like your business to join this effort, you can sign the statement of support here or here.

Cayman Islands To Create A New Nowhere Land

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

From the Task Force Blog:

Cayman Islands To Create A New Nowhere Land

UK-Swiss Tax Deal Rewards Those Who Hide Their Money In Switzerland

With Clown Noses And An Iron Lady Brazil Tackles Corruption

China, Corruption, And The Rise Of Weibo

EU Is To Ask IASB To Change Its Priorities To Include Public Policy Concerns

The World Bank Must Re-Examine Its Approach To Anti-Corruption

 

GFI in the News

Profits elude bankers to the rich in booming India

Reuters, September 13, 2011

By Sumeet Chatterjee

MUMBAI – Ajay Piramal is just the sort of big fish every Indian private banker would love to land. With businesses from healthcare to glass and property, the 56-year-old Piramal has a net worth of $1.4 billion, according to Forbes, good for 39th on its India rich list.

The problem, at least for the swelling ranks of wealth managers in India, is that Piramal doesn’t need them, putting his millions instead in his own companies and real estate ventures.

Read more…
Tax Evasion & Avoidance

Credit Suisse ‘says provided customer data to US’

AFP, September 11, 2011

ZURICH — Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse on Sunday said it had provided Washington statistical data on US clients, local media reported.

“Credit Suisse has provided statistical information on its US customers,” the bank’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Urs Rohner said in an interview in the Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag.

Read more…

HM Revenue & Customs defends tax deal with Switzerland

The Guardian, September 12, 2011

MPs told that international efforts to break down Swiss banking secrecy would have taken a decade or more

By Alex Hawkes

Tax authorities would not have been able to break Swiss banking secrecy for 10 years or more, a senior civil servant has said, in a defence of HMRC’s controversial tax deal under which tax will be paid on cash in Swiss bank accounts, but under condition of anonymity. Critics say eventually international pressure would have forced Switzerland to remove the veil of anonymity from account holders there. But HMRC permanent secretary for tax Dave Hartnett told the Treasury sub-committee on Monday that in the next 10 years breaking down Swiss banking secrecy certainly “seemed very unlikely”.

Tax campaigner Richard Murphy has argued that the deal has delayed international efforts to break down Swiss secrecy. “I am not saying Swiss bank secrecy was going to break down tomorrow. But the US is making big progress, the direction of travel is substantially in the direction of openness. This deal has guaranteed that anonymity is reinforced,” he said on Monday.

Read more…

U.K. Probe of HSBC Clients Said to Widen Over Swiss Tax Dodge

Bloomberg, September 13, 2011

By Giles Broom

GENEVA – HSBC Holdings Plc clients with accounts at its Swiss private bank in Geneva are the target of a widening investigation by U.K. authorities into alleged tax evasion, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Revenue and Customs, known as HMRC, will write to an additional 4,500 clients of the London-based bank, giving them the choice of making a full disclosure or face investigation, said the people, who declined to be named because the matter is confidential. About 800 customers have already been sent so- called Code of Practice 9 letters informing them that their tax affairs over the past 20 years will be probed, they said.

Read more…

Rich tax dodgers are paying back six times more than two years ago

The Telegraph, September 13, 2011

By Rosie Murray-West

A Parliamentary Question by Jonathan Reynolds revealed that the team recovered £162m from the ultra wealthy people that it deals with. Two years ago, these same individuals were handing over just £25m in tax.

“The great majority of our very wealthy individuals aim to be, and are, tax compliant,” said a spokesman for HM Revenue & Customs. “We won’t hesitate to take action against the small minority who bend or break the rules, to recover additional tax that should be due.”

Read more…
India & Black Money

India not serious about unearthing black money in Swiss banks, says whistleblower

Times of India, September 13, 2011

NEW DELHI – Rudolf Elmer, a rare whistleblower who has brought out much information on secret Swiss banks accounts, has accused the Indian government of not being serious enough in getting details of black money stashed away in Swiss banks.

In his first statement on Indian accounts in Swiss banks after being released from jail, Elmer said, “The Indian government doesn’t do enough.” He said society has to put pressure on the government to act. “India is a big country, which is getting stronger by the day. It has the negotiating power,” he told an Indian news channel.

Read more…
Money Laundering

FinCEN Delays Compliance With Some Prepaid-Access Regulations

Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2011

By Sam Rubenfeld

Sellers of prepaid-access cards have an extra six months until they have to comply with rules covering the cards, a Treasury department agency said Friday.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, said in a notice that sellers will now have until March 31, 2012, to comply with rules governing the cards, which are seen as a tool to launder money. The rule was scheduled to go into effect Sept. 27.

Read more…

Justice Says Ex-Thai Official’s Appeal ‘Confuses’ Statutes

Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2011

By Sam Rubenfeld

The U.S. Justice Department said in a legal filing that a former Thai government official’s motion to dismiss money-laundering charges against her conflates and confuses statutes, and ignores relevant case law.

Juthamas Siriwan, the former governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and her daughter Jittsopa Siriwan, were charged in January 2009 in an eight-count indictment with money laundering $1.8 million in bribes the elder Siriwan allegedly received from husband-and-wife film producers Gerald and Patricia Green. (The Greens were convicted in 2009 and sentenced to six months in jail, and prosecutors backed down on an appeal for a longer sentence.)

Read more…
General Corruption

Accenture settles bribery lawsuit

Global Post, September 12, 2011

Computer consulting firm Accenture LLP has settled a lawsuit that alleges it accepted kickbacks from IT companies to recommend their products to its government clients.

By News Desk

Computer consulting firm Accenture LLP, a U.S.-based unit of Dublin-based Accenture PLC (ACN), has settled a lawsuit that alleges it accepted bribes from IT companies to recommend their products to its government clients.

Accenture will pay $63.7 million to settle the suit but denies any wrongdoing, PC Magazine reports.

Read more…

Congress Returns To A Heap Of Anti-Corruption Bills

Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2011

By Joe Palazzolo

With lawmakers back in Washington, we reckoned readers might benefit from a sampling of bills piled up in Congress this session that deal with corruption, money laundering, whistleblowers and other Corruption Currents sweet spots. Only one has made its way onto the legislative calendar, and others may be more gambit than serious legislation. But each carries the potential for a major shift in the U.S. anti-corruption regime.

Read more…

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