Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Swiss village gives extra tax from GlencoreXstrata to affected countries

Hedigen, Switzerland

We already highlighted a link to this story yesterday - but this one is noteworthy enough for a whole blog. From the Guardian:
A Swiss village has voted to donate 110,000 Swiss francs (£75,000) of taxes paid by Ivan Glasenberg, the billionaire chief executive of GlencoreXstrata, to charities in countries where the London-listed mining and commodity trading company is accused of exploiting people and resources. . . . in a "clear sign of solidarity with those suffering the consequences of the extraction of raw materials". The village will donate 10% of the "commodity million" Swiss francs it received out of taxes paid by Glasenberg in relation to Glencore's flotation in London in 2011.
They are also trying to persuade other villages that have been direct beneficiaries of Glasenberg's murky rent-seeking billions to follow suit. Even if some might think that 100% might have been a better share to donate - and that giant secrecy-fed financial centres like Zurich or the City of London perhaps might like to consider ponying up - that is a most welcome gesture by the German-speaking village. 

It quotes Samuel Schweizer, head of the citizens' community in Hedigen near Zurich that proposed the donation:
"We hope that people will open their eyes to the danger that raw material extraction will be the next reputational time bomb for Switzerland," he said. "Political leaders have not learned anything from the disaster of [Switzerland's role at the heart of the] banking industry."
Good for him. And that, as it happens, is precisely the message that has been coming from our friends at the Berne Declaration, in their excellent book about Swiss commodities, entitled Commodities: Switzerland's most dangerous business.

The widespread poverty of entire countries and the wealth of some top traders are directly linked. This book shows how this is so.
"The trading companies’ business model, which frequently ex- ploits grey areas, is also dangerous for Switzerland. Corruption, aggres- sive tax avoidance, speculation mania and human-rights violations pose enormous risks for reputations and, following the case of bank secrecy, are “our next exposed flank” (Tages-Anzeiger). Switzerland is not only a tax haven, but also lacks transparency and regulation – and it attracts commodity trading as a dunghill attracts flies. 
. . .
The world will not simply remain a spectator at this so- called “locational advantage” swindle forever."
We at TJN are dedicated to exposing this swindle.

Update: For information on corporate tax see here.


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