Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Illicit Money: Can It Be Stopped?

The above title is drawn from an article in the latest edition of the New York Review of Books, by Raymond Baker, director of Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, and GFI Advisor Eva Joly. From the essay:

"On May 4, the Obama administration announced a plan to crack down on offshore tax havens, which it said are costing the United States tens of billions of dollars each year. The President’s proposals were primarily aimed at finding ways to increase revenue from wealthy companies and investors who use loopholes in the law and offshore subsidiaries to reduce their US taxes. But the administration is largely missing a far more devastating problem related to offshore finance: money gained from criminal and other illicit sources. With the use of tax havens and other elements of an increasingly complex ’shadow’ financial network, vast sums of illegal money are being shifted throughout the global economy virtually undetected."

The long article calls for strengthening anti-money-laundering regulations, implementing a form of automatic exchange of tax information among jurisdictions, and a new form of accounting requiring multinational corporations to disclose profits earned on a country-by-country basis.

hat tip: Task Force blog


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