Tuesday, October 4, 2011
From the Task Force Blog:
Financial Secrecy Index
Tax havens: G20 has failed to crack down, says campaign group
Guardian, October 3, 2011
By Felicity Lawrence
The tax haven infrastructure that has enabled global financial crime and malpractice to flourish has barely been reformed, despite a pledge by the G20 leaders in 2009 to close it down, according to an index published by campaign group the Tax Justice Network.
Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and the US are placed among the top of the league as the most aggressive in providing secrecy in the latest financial secrecy index.
Foreign Policy, October 3, 2011
A simple reform created for stopping terrorist financiers could dramatically strengthen international sanctions, and cut off the flow of funds to some of the world’s worst regimes.
By Stuart Levy and Christy Clark
The United States and its partners are increasingly employing financial sanctions as an instrument of national power. The U.N. Security Council requires member states to impose sanctions on terrorist groups; financial sanctions are the centerpiece of resolutions dealing with Iran, Libya, and North Korea; and, while they may garner less attention in the media, the Security Council also has targeted sanctions in place related to Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The targeted financial sanctions implemented by the United Nations have gained greater acceptance among governments and the private sector than the full-scale embargoes of years past, and they have had considerable success in advancing their goals. While these measures cannot be a policy in and of themselves, they have the tangible benefit of disrupting illicit networks and pressuring intransigent regimes by making it far more difficult for them to access needed financial services. But even these more powerful targeted sanctions could be dramatically more effective.
Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance
Liberian Observer, October 4, 2011
“Part of Global Effort in Fighting Tax Evasion”, says Finance Minister Ngafuan
By Alaskai Moore Johnson
“Tax evasion undermines the fairness of tax systems and costs governments, and honest taxpayers, billions of dollars every year,” Finance Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan said yesterday.
Minister Nguafuan made the remarks at a signing ceremony, held at the Ministry of Finance, when the Governments of Liberia (GOL) and India entered into Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA).
Reuters (Column), October 4, 2011
By David Cay Johnston
From the way Washington politicians in both parties tell it, you may well think that multinational companies favor low-tax jurisdictions when investing overseas. They don’t.
The multinationals prefer investing in high-tax jurisdictions because it so happens that is where they can earn the highest returns.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, October 4, 2011
Open the newspaper or turn on the TV in these times of financial crisis and your head will soon be spinning from all the billion-euro figures being bandied about. The European Union is pumping €750 billion into a rescue fund for Greece, while the US is embarking on a job creation plan worth 330 billion euros.
By Rodrigo Fernandez
But the figures can get even more astronomical: thousands of billions flow through the Netherlands each year thanks to its favourable tax climate. There is a good reason why 80 of the 100 largest companies in the world have a holding company in the Dutch tax haven. The Netherlands is employing double standards, argues Rodrigo Fernandez, financial geographer and multinational researcher.
In global rankings for flow of capital, the Netherlands is always up there in the top ten with countries such as Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Ireland and Luxembourg. These are all relatively small economies with massively disproportionate financial sectors. They are links in a chain of financial centres which enable multinational concerns, banks and hedge funds to pump inconceivably huge flows of capital around the world. These financial flows bear no relation whatsoever to any actual economic activity in the country where they appear on the books.
Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing
Accra Daily Mail, October 4, 2011
By Belinda Enyonam Henya
It is estimated that money laundering worldwide is fetches US$500 billion or more.
“Our world has become sophisticated and adept at hiding criminal activities using the internet as a primary channel for the vice”, said Mr. J.F.O Blankson, President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants-Ghana (ICAG) speaking at this year’s Presidential Luncheon at the State House in Accra.
Tax News, October 4, 2011
By Mary Swire
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has begun a consultation to solicit public comments on proposals for a new set of guidelines on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF).
The guidelines, which will replace the existing Prevention on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Guidance Note published by the SFC, seek to provide guidance to the financial industry, relating to the operation of the relevant provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance (AMLO), which will come into effect on 1 April 2012.
Voice of America (Editorials), October 1, 2011
The United States has developed a whole-of-government approach to cutting off terrorist financing.
During a recent conference on the progress and challenges of disrupting terrorist financing, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that since the attacks in 2001, efforts to impede the flow of funds to terrorist organizations have been a central part of international efforts to combat terrorism.
“While terrorism is very different from conventional military threats, it has something significant in common with them: it needs cash,” he said.
Trust Law, October 4, 2011
New U.S. whistleblower rewards show the need for robust anti-bribery compliance procedures, even for businesses operating only in Australia, a lawyer has warned.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has introduced rules to reward individual whistleblowers who provide information that leads to successful prosecutions for breaches of U.S. securities laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
India & Black Money
Money Control, October 4, 2011
India and Switzerland have signed a MoU on Financial Dialogue that will pave the way for greater cooperation between the two countries’ tax authorities, a move that will allow unearthing black money stashed in Swiss banks.
The agreement signed by Indian Ambassador to Switzerland Chitra Narayanan and Swiss Department of Finance Secretary Michael Ambuhl comes close on the heels of the signing of an amending protocol to the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.