Friday, November 12, 2010

Task Force: G20 action inadequate on transparency

From the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development:
G20 Action on Development and Corruption Welcome, But More Transparency Needed, Say Campaigners

Seoul, South Korea – New plans from the G20 to tackle corruption and promote development are welcome commitments, said the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development (Task Force) following the conclusion of the G20 Summit in Seoul today. However, the group warned that key reforms were still missing.

“The Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth, includes some innovative ideas like strengthening tax collection powers in developing countries. Likewise the Action Plan from the corruption working group proposes positive steps on asset recovery, money laundering, and visa bans for corrupt officials,” said Gavin Hayman, Campaigns Director of Global Witness. “But the G20 has missed the opportunity to take concrete action to promote transparency in the financial system that will really have an impact on corruption, tax evasion and poverty.”

“What is missing from the Seoul communiqué are the key elements of global financial transparency: country by country reporting for multinational corporations, automatic tax information exchange, full disclosure of corporate ownership or beneficiaries of offshore trusts and accounts, and a tougher stance on non cooperative jurisdictions,” said John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network.

“Crime, corruption, and tax evasion drive $1 trillion out of the developing world every year,” said Global Financial Integrity director Raymond Baker. “That’s $10 lost for every $1 that comes in as aid. This money ends up in tax havens as well as banks in G20 nations. Transparency would stem this outflow of dirty money by making it harder for criminals and kleptocrats to stash their dirty money abroad.”

“G20 leaders don't have time to waste,” said Nuria Molina-Gallart, director of the European Network on Debt and Development. “In 2011 the G20 must put into place concrete measures to ensure that big corporations and financial institutions comply with the highest standards of financial transparency and integrity. The global playing field must be leveled for developing countries to have a shot at sustained and robust development in the post economic crisis recovery.”

Contacts: Bangkok: Robert Palmer +44 754 564 5406; Washington D.C: Monique Perry Danziger +1-202-904-3113; London: Anthea Lawson +44 207 492 5882 or +44 787 262 0855, John Christensen +44-79-79-868-302; Brussels: Núria Molina, +32 -473-410-834
Note to editors:

The Task Force is a unique consortium of governments and research and advocacy organizations, which promotes awareness of the link between illicit financial flows and poverty in developing countries and advocates for greater transparency and accountability in the global financial system. Task Force members include: Christian Aid, the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad), Global Financial Integrity, Global Witness, Tax Justice Network, Tax Research LLP, and Transparency International.

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