Tuesday, September 01, 2009

New offshore report from Oxfam-France

This picture, dug out of a new report from Oxfam-France, tells it all. Click to enlarge it. This is why development organisations are getting interested in the offshore system and international tax matters, at last.

It is the visual counterpart of the sentence uttered by Raymond Baker of Global Financial Integrity in Washington, comparing foreign aid inflows to developing countries with the secret outflows:

"for every $1 that we have been generously handing out across the top of the table, we in the West have been taking back some $10 of illicit money under the table. There is no way to make this formula work for anyone, poor or rich."

The new report from Oxfam-France, only currently available in French unfortunately, makes some crucial points:
  • The need for multilateral exchange of tax information
  • The need for automatic exchange of tax information
  • Put trusts on the agenda
  • Corporate transparency: country by country reporting
We couldn't have said it better ourselves. The report also looks back at the G20 meeting in April, and its conclusion asks for the G20 to be clearer about real decisions that could help poor countries keep their money at home.

Regarding trusts and shell companies, a new France-based campaign, Hold-Up International, supported by Oxfam France and the Comité Catholique contre le Faim et pour le Développement (CCFD) has, we are told, gathered the support of half the French MPs in Brussels, and the crime-fighting former Paris investigating magistrate Eva Joly, now in politics in Brussels, asked last week for a French law to impose country-by-country reporting.

At last, progress is breaking out all over the place.


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