Monday, March 15, 2010

IMF: trillions lost offshore

From the Wealth Bulletin:

"The IMF believes the sum of the external assets and liabilities of what it calls small international financial centres – which includes all the offshore centres except Switzerland – is $18 trillion."

TJN came up with a figure of $11.5bn of wealth held offshore by High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) and was ridiculed for it. But note that this new IMF figure only covers small islands - a selection of jurisdiction chosen for purely political reasons, with no real economic meaning, and which excludes some of the world's most important secrecy jurisdictions. Offshore, as we've often noted, is far bigger than that.

And then there's this:

"Milesi-Ferretti said: “What is even more striking is that this number is likely to be an underestimation given the data problems with offshore financial centres.”"

As with the previous blog, despite all the hoo-haa and denials, it turns out that we were right all along (and, like the previous blog, Luxembourg is featured strongly in the Wealth Bulletin article.) The article has more, along the lines of:

"Research has found huge discrepancies in the amounts declared by offshore centres."

Richard Murphy analyses all this here. The IMF recently published a report on small island financial centres, which contains some of the above information (and plenty of other things.)


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