Wednesday, January 26, 2011

India and Brazil cited as new boltholes for dirty money

The Financial Times is carrying an article about reforms aimed at strengthening global efforts to recover stolen assets.

This is a matter close to our hearts, since we know that tax havens play a crucial part in providing the secrecy space into which huge sums disappear without trace. In fact we go further: the fact that this secrecy space exists, camouflaged behind the apparently respectable edifices provided by global banking giants, actually encourages fraud, embezzlement and grand larceny.

But what caught our eye is the reference to Brazil and India. The FT cites Daniel Thelesklaf, head of the Basel Institute on Governance (and a recent contributor to our newsletter, Tax Justice Focus), saying that funds are being laddered through regional centres in Miami, London, Geneva, Singapore and the usual tax haven island suspects. And then he notes there are burgeoning offshore banking centres in emerging countries such as India and Brazil, which are also attracting these illicit flows. We recently warned about these developments: as the City of London seeks to get in on the business of building up new offshore centres in these places.

Time to add these countries to the Financial Secrecy Index.


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