Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Links - Dec 15

Links - Dec 15

Europe heralds new era of tax transparency - Alex Cobham, Christian Aid. On a new European initiative that will beef up cross-border financial transparency in Europe, without compromising the (admittedly flawed) European Savings Tax Directive. (See also David Spencer's piece on this important issue, and our recently provision of a front-row view of some backroom lobbying to water this down.) The significance of this agreement, which constitutes an implicit criticism of the OECD's weak information exchange standard, should not be understated. Including developing countries in this system, to stem their massive tax losses, must now be the priority.

Did gas company buy luxury yacht for Turkmen dictator? - Global Witness. Itera. Delaware. Florida. Jersey. Netherland Antilles. Enough said. A useful report. (Also, for Angola connoisseurs, this Global Witness report from two weeks ago highlights some eye-watering discrepancies. Singapore and London are particular favourites for Angola's ultra-wealthy leadership.)

London bankers charge "immoral" fees - NYTimes Dealbook. Corporate issuers consistently told the Institutional Investor Council that fees in London are too high, and even "immoral." Bankers love to talk about "competitive" tax rates, even though they know that the the term "competitive" in this context is economically illiterate: this kind of "competition" bears no economic resemblance to healthy competition in competitive markets, where firms compete to offer the best goods or services at the lowest price. Here's an idea for making London competitive: charge lower fees. That would be healthy competition. The report is here.

Eva Joly Receives 2010 Global Financial Integrity Award - GFI. The fearless Norwegian/French crime fighter (pictured) gets due recognition.

Heads in the sand in Northern Ireland - Tax Research on plans by vested interests to turn Northern Ireland into a tax haven, or secrecy jurisdiction.

EU Prepares Fresh Attack On Swiss Taxes - Tax News. Sharpen those knives. And take a look at Thomas Cottier's analysis on pages 8-9 in our recent edition of Tax Justice Focus.

New money-laundering complaints for Vatican bank - Catholic Culture.

The Prince and the Paupers: a Tax Fable - Huffington Post. A nasty fairy tale. What's missing are the pitchforks, the burning firebrands and the heads on spikes.

Slaughter of the Innocents - Who Was Taking the Risks That Caused the Financial Crisis? American Enterprise Institute. Barry Ritholtz of The Big Picture shreds this report, which blames government for the financial crisis, as "one giant clusterfuck of imbecility. . . I’ve given up reading anything from the AEI. They are idiot savants, minus the savant part." To find one of the biggest causes of the financial crisis, look here. Ritholtz, who runs the U.S.' third-ranked business blog, adds: "the entire left/right debate is false, an artificial framework for analyzing policy. In my mind, the real debate is the corporatocracy versus the individual. And right now, the individual is losing. . . ." More dirty details here.

And on the subject of rankings, the blog of Tax Research UK, by TJN's Richard Murphy, is currently ranked sixth in economic blogs in the UK on Wikio.


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