Sunday, June 19, 2011

Links Jun 20

'Transparency' hides Zambia's lost billions Al Jazeera
Jun 18 - Khadija Sharife reports on
mining corporations' tax avoidance schemes costing African nations billions of dollars each year. 'African nations such as Zambia are often seen as grossly corrupt. Yet it is corporate tax "avoidance" on the part of mining companies that costs the nation hundreds of millions annually, while lining the pockets of middle-men in countries such as Switzerland.'

Africa: SABMiller Under Scrutiny The Wall Street Journal
Jun - Following ActionAid's report on SABMIller avoiding its tax liability in Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and South Africa, the 31-member African Tax Administration Forum has invited those four countries, plus Mauritius, to discuss SABMiller's tax payments - the latest sign that authorities on the continent are bolstering efforts to scrutinize outflows.

From African Uranium to Caribbean Tax Havens L'Humanité.fr (In French)
Jun 17 - A holding company of the French nuclear giant Areva is registered in the British Virgin Islands, (BVI). - and has subsidiaries in Namibia, Central African Republic, Senegal and South Africa. BVI was elevated from the OECD gray list to the white list in 2009, however it ranks 16th on the Financial Secrecy Index.

Panama wants to get off the gray list Le Nouvel Observateur (In French)
Jun 17 - Panama and France are to sign a tax information exchange agreement - the 12th entered into by Panama - which will get them off the OECD gray list and onto the white list. Rampant fig-leafism. See our briefing paper onTax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs), and see here.

Promoting tax culture in Pakistan Pakistan Observer

Jun 19 - 'Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh is a strong proponent of taxing all classes and especially privileged ones but regrettably these classes have powerful representation in assemblies and decision-making circles and have thwarted proposals aimed at taxing their fatty incomes.'

U.S.: The Big Fake on Repatriation Huffington Post
Jun 17 - Nicole Tichon of TJN USA reports on how 'multinational corporations are again swarming the Hill, trying to give Democrats and Republicans a reason to give tax amnesty in the form of a highly discounted tax rate of just over 5 percent to bring money back from offshore locations.'

France Investigating Money Laundering Linked To Ben Ali, Mubarak Wall Street Journal

Jun 17 - We linked to this story as reported in French in
SlateAfrique . Public prosecutors in Paris are investigating suspected organized money-laundering linked to Tunisia’s ousted president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

More Asset Searches Lead to 'Front Men' The Wall Street Journal

Jun 8 - A recent spate of legal cases offers a preview of how anticorruption officials could pursue ill-gotten assets of toppled leaders in places like Egypt and Tunisia: Increasingly, prosecutors are going after not only corrupt politicians, but the lawyers and other professionals who may have helped them move cash.

Lawyers and Accountants Once Put Integrity First New York Times

Jun 18 - ' Lawyers and accountants who were once the proud pillars of our financial system have become the happy architects of its circumvention. Nowhere is this more the case than in the world of tax law.'

India: `Impossible to get info on black money stashed overseas' The Hindu Business Line

Jun 18 - 'Mr Sunil Mitra, Union Finance Secretary, has said that all the upcoming agreements with about 87 countries could get the country access to only to information prospectively ... "We have to establish criminality and violation of law (to brand that as black money). This money is in foreign banks which have their own laws of confidentiality,” he said."

Switzerland: Neuchatel voters approve tax plans swissinfo

Jun 19 - The Swiss Canton of Neuchatel will bring in a change in the tax system 'to make the area attractive to new businesses', introducing a a lower standard rate of five per cent. Opponents say Neuchatel is entering a tax race, and other cantons will cut their rates to follow suit. Race to the bottom. See our recent blog Life on Planet Zug - some good questions asked.

See also:

Tax privileges swissinfo
Dec 7, 2010 - This short video explores how 'Nissan, Yahoo, Chiquita – many multinational companies are moving their European headquarters to Switzerland. Here they pay much lower corporate taxes than in other countries. The international holdings have privileges that not even Swiss firms enjoy.'

Ken Bates faces parliamentary probe into Leeds United ownership saga Guardian
Jun 17 - Obfuscation via offshore trusts - in premiership football (soccer) and the fallen but once mighty Leeds United. The club fell both in league rankings and under the weight of £35m in debt. ' "The principle is that it should never be allowed to happen again that football clubs are bought by offshore trusts of which we have no idea who the owners are." ' The story also involves 'millions of pounds of unpaid tax'.


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