GFI in the News
Mexico inks pact with U.S. to crack down on tax cheats
Reuters, November 20, 2012
By David Alire Garcia
Mexico’s finance ministry said on Tuesday it has approved an agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department that aims to help stamp out tax evasion.
The agreement took two years to negotiate and was signed by representatives from both governments in Washington on Monday, according to a statement released by the finance ministry.
Black Money and India
FEATURE-India’s uphill battle against “black money” in real estate
Trust Law, November 21, 2012
By Aditi Shah and Swati Pandey
Ulwe, a village of dusty, uneven streets on the outskirts of Mumbai, lacks basic amenities like water supply and electricity, but a two-bedroom, 1,000 sq ft house costs about 5 million rupees ($91,000), beyond the reach of many middle-class Indians.
According to prospective buyers, many developers will demand up to 30 percent of that price in cash, a small slice of the ubiquitous, unaccounted “black money” that costs India’s straitened exchequer billions of dollars in lost taxable income.
How The Government Set Up A Fake Bank To Launder Drug Money
NPR, November 21, 2012
By David Kestenbaum
In the early 1990s, Colombian drug cartels had a problem: They had more money than they knew what to do with. So a pair of federal agents created an offshore bank.
In the early 1990s, Colombian drug cartels had a problem: They had more money than they knew what to do with.
G8 Transparency Agenda
A G8 meeting that goes back to first principles
EU Observer (Op-Ed), November 21, 2012
By David Cameron
One year on from the Olympics, the eyes of the world will again be on the United Kingdom next summer, as we host the G8 at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.
Some people ask: does the G8 still matter, when we have a G20? My answer is “Yes.” The G8 is a group of like-minded nations who share a belief in free enterprise as the best route to growth. And as eight countries making up around half of the world’s entire GDP, the standards we set, the commitments we make, and the steps we take can help solve vital global issues, fire up economies and drive prosperity all over the world.
Illicit Financial Flows
Rich Presidents of Poor Nations – Capital Flight From Resource-Rich Countries in Africa
All Africa, November 20, 2012
By Leonce Ndikumana and James K. Boyce
Recently some African presidents have featured in media headlines not for their heroic accomplishments as leaders but for robbing their nations and siphoning their ill-gotten gains to safe havens.
Since 2010, French judges have been investigating illicit wealth accumulation by the presidents of the Republic of Congo, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea, all of whom are accused of embezzlement of public funds, money laundering, and plundering national wealth.
Former Murdoch Aides to Be Charged With Bribery
The New York Times, November 20, 2012
By Alan Cowell and John F. Burns
In a dramatic new turn in the scandals swirling around Rupert Murdoch?s British newspaper outpost, prosecutors said on Tuesday that two former top executives will be charged with paying bribes of up to $160,000 to public officials in addition to several earlier charges against them.
The Crown Prosecution Service identified the onetime aides as Rebekah Brooks, 44, and Andy Coulson, 44, both of whom have had close personal or professional ties to Prime Minister David Cameron. The British leader hired Mr. Coulson as his director of communications while in opposition and kept him on after coming to power in the 2010 elections.
My part in China’s war on corruption
Financial Times, November 20, 2012
By Patti Waldmeir
China is hardly the most corrupt place that I have ever worked – but Beijing would not much like being lumped in with the other ones (Zaire under Mobutu Sese Seko anyone?).
Now China wants us all to think that it is rising above corruption. Virtually anyone who said anything at the 18th party conference that has just ended found a way to mention how much they hate it. And Beijing has diverted Wang Qishan, the west’s favourite economic reformer, from managing the economy to hunting corrupt officials. I am planning to do my bit to help him. It involves refusing to donate even one renminbi this holiday season, unless I know exactly how it will be spent. Sound simple? You’d be surprised.
China’s Corruption Conundrum
Dag Blog, November 20, 2012
By Michael Wolraich
“We must be vigilant,” proclaimed Xi Jinping, China’s new paramount leader. In his inaugural speech to the 25-person Politburo, he warned that rampant graft and corruption would “doom the party and the state” if it continued unchecked.
He has a point. From petty graft in far-flung villages to the regime-shaking Bo Xilai scandal, rampant corruption has fueled the social unrest that the long-toothed oligarchs fear so much. Payoffs have bumped China’s vaunted high-speed trains off their shoddy tracks. Graft has nibbled away the roots of its famously fertile economy.
Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance
New Italy Tax Evader Tack: Scare Them
The Wall Street Journal, November 20, 2012
By Manuela Mesco
The Italian government, in its perennial quest to stamp out tax evasion here, has a new message for tax cheats: You know who you are.
That’s the idea behind a tax-cheat self-test, a Web application that allows people to gauge whether their declared income is in line with what they spend yearly on housing, transport, education and other expenses such as the gym or manicures.
Swiss bankers say foreign assets not blunted by tax evasion deals
The Associated Press, November 21, 2012
The trade group for Swiss banks says their foreign assets account for just over half of the 5.3 trillion francs ($5.64 trillion) in assets they manage, despite pressure from other countries to clamp down on tax evaders.
Swiss Bankers Association CEO Claude-Alain Margelisch says there has been “no noticeable shift of foreign client money to other countries” contrary to expectations that Swiss tax agreements might prompt huge withdrawals.