Tax Justice Network – The Offshore Wrapper

It has been a super busy week here at Wrapper Towers, so this is a shorter update than usual.

Here at the TJN we were all devastated by the news of the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Daphne had for many years taken aim at the corruption and criminality that is becoming endemic to this small island tax haven.

In other news, our CEO Alex Cobham has been busy over the last week giving presentations at the Pan Africa Conference on Illicit Financial Flows in Nairobi, where he spoke on the campaign brewing to remove the target to reduce tax avoidance by multinational companies from the Sustainable Development Goals. You can see the slides from his presentation and listen to an audio recording here.

And just a few days later Alex was in Washington DC at the annual meeting of the World Bank Group talking about taxing wealth and addressing wealth inequality.

Alex has written about the event, here, where you can also see a video of the presentation.

Finally, do take a look at the excellent new research published by the Financial Transparency Coalition this week. Their new report – Unequal Exchange – looks at the implementation of the Automatic Exchange of Information System. Automatic Exchange is designed to combat tax evasion and other financial crimes by making banks and other financial institutions report to foreign tax authorities when a citizen of their country opens an account. The system isn’t universal, with countries able to opt in and to decide which other countries they wish to exchange with. The FTC has analysed the current state of play, and found that the vast majority of information flows are between high income countries, with lower income countries benefitting very little from the system.

The latest from the TJN Blog

Tax justice, the new Washington consensus?

I had the honour of giving a keynote address atRead the full article… The post Tax justice, the new Washington consensus? appeared first on Tax Justice Network.

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Malta & corruption: Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed by car bomb

As reported by Reuters, Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta’s best-known investigative journalistRead the full article… The post Malta & corruption: Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia killed by car bomb appeared first on Tax Justice Network.

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Our October 2017 Spanish language Podcast: Justicia ImPositiva, nuestro podcast de octubre 2017

Welcome to this month’s latest podcast and radio programme inRead the full article… The post Our October 2017 Spanish language Podcast: Justicia ImPositiva, nuestro podcast de octubre 2017 appeared first on Tax Justice Network.

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Naomi Fowler

Links

Tax justice: A powerful means to address inequality CIDSE

A new global solution to money laundering will mainly just help rich countries Quartz
On a report (linked yesterday) by the Financial Transparency Coalition and Christian AID.

PANA Committee finds resistance to reforms by ‘some member states’ Malta Today

Azerbaijan Laundromat shows UK is choice of crooks and despots, says Hodge The Guardian

UK banks’ money laundering risks in South Africa show why senior bankers must be held to account Global Witness

Switzerland agrees to share tax information on multinationals Reuters
Cites TJN Director and Chair John Christensen: ”There are still some issues in Switzerland regarding tax transparency, but there has been progress, and the move to country by country reporting is a major step forward” 

Latin American & Caribbean network convenes its 4th Biennial Assembly in Buenos Aires Global Alliance for Tax Justice

#TaxJustice Tour in Hungary Global Alliance for Tax Justice

João Paulo Batalha – Corruption in Portugal: The mighty have fallen – the elite’s day of reckoning Brave New Europe

Austalia: Come hide with us – bean counters raid big law firms The Conversation
“Could the incursion be designed also to allow the accounting firms to assert legal professional privilege over tax advice for their multinational clients so they can keep that advice out of the hands of the Australian Tax Office?”

EU leaders want proposals on taxing online giants early next year Reuters

France dials back on digital tax plans after US meetings Politico

This Russian general fought the mob. Why does he own $38 million of Florida real estate? The Miami Herald

Bermuda’s New Premier Fires Back At ‘Tax Haven’ Accusations Tax-News
See our blog “We are not a tax haven.” They all say that, and #wanath

Unequal Exchange: How poor countries are blindfolded in the global fight against banking secrecy Financial Transparency Coalition & Christian Aid

Combating Illicit Financial Flows Through Corporate Tax Evasion, By Léonce Ndikumana Premium Times

Strengthening regional collaboration in international taxation Tax Justice Network Latin America & Caribbean (In Spanish)

Nigeria: Federal Government Cautioned on Use of Corporate Tax Incentives to Achieve Projects Implementation This Day Live

Panama Papers: Ousted Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif indicted over corruption claims  The Guardian

Final report of the Panama Papers Committee of Inquiry: European governments heavily accused for failure Sven Giegold

#PanamaPapers: MEPs accuse EU national governments of lacking political will on tax avoidance EU Reporter

Offshore Shell Games 2017: The Use of Offshore Tax Havens by Fortune 500 Companies ITEP& U.S. PIRG
See also – Study: 73% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Offshore Tax Havens in 2016

Cayman Islands technocrats lobby on Capitol Hill Cayman News Service

Public country-by-country reporting is going to happen Tax Research UK

Six ways the UK’s financial regulation system is a protection racket for the elite Left Foot Forward
By TJN Senior Adviser @premnsikka

Running the numbers – How African governments model extractive projects – Analytical Report African Natural Resources Centre, African Development Bank

Web of Australian Adani solar companies leads to offshore tax havens The Guardian

Hong Kong Group to Acquire Liechtenstein Bank finews Asia
‘Just weeks after Luxembourg’s oldest bank was sold to Chinese firm Legend Holdings, a Hong Kong listed conglomerate has also moved into European private banking

UK banks ‘exposed to money laundering in South Africa’ BBC News

Did Uganda miss $38 million in tax from Actis-Umeme deals? The Observer

France Probes Danske Bank in Relation to Magnitsky Case OCCRP

Shell Executives Charged With Bribery In Italy PM News Nigeria
“In April, Global Witness and Finance Uncovered revealed that Shell executives knew that $1.1bn they paid for OPL 245 would go to Dan Etete and were likely to be used in a vast bribery scheme”

Rio Tinto: where were the auditors? Tax Research UK

Tax Justice Network: Italian ‘fraudsters’ mock lax UK companies regulations

TJNThe latest edition of the Offshore Wrapper, www.taxjustice.net

 

Italian ‘fraudsters’ mock lax UK companies regulations

Italian fraudsters and mafia associates are having fun with the lack of regulations at the UK business registry Companies House, as well as the well known poor language skills of the Brits.

It has been revealed that an alleged mafia money launderer used UK companies to help him move the proceeds of crime.

The UK was chosen because of the extremely light touch regulatory environment which means that practically anyone can set up a company in no time at all. At the same time, the use of a UK company in a chain of companies can bestow an illusion of respectability on the group.

Indeed the Italians it seemed decided to test how far the UK’s no questions asked culture went when filling out their forms.

Companies they set up had addresses like “0, Street of the 40 thieves”. Companies were set up by people with fake names such as “the chicken thief” who put down their occupation as “fraudster”. All of these titles were in Italian, but still you might think someone might have checked what the Italian for fraudster was?

The full story is here.

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Tax Justice Network: Banking secrecy is not over in Switzerland

TJNHappy Paniversary!

This week it has been one year since the Panama papers were released, and a number of organisations around the world have been marking the occasion though the global week of action for tax justice.

In London, activists from the TJN and Methodists for Tax Justice held a protest outside the offices of PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Why PwC? Well the auditor has been one of the biggest promoters of tax avoidance schemes for multinationals, as well as having been implicated in a host of other corporate scandals.

From watchdogs to lapdogs

But of course it isn’t just PwC that has been asleep at the wheel whilst the companies they audit crash. A new report out from the Atul Shah of the University of Suffolk Business School looks at the failure of KPMG to warn shareholders of HBOS, a major UK bank, of problems with the company before they collapsed in 2008.

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Taxpayers’ Alliance Campaign Update

tpaThe new tax year means a series of changes to taxes and benefits, and one we are particularly happy to see is the lowering of the benefits cap. This is a policy that began with the TPA when we called for it in our Spending Plan and one we have campaigned for since. Our Research Director Alex Wild spoke about it on BBC Panorama on Wednesday night. You can watch him here (part one) and here (part two).

James Price
Policy Analyst

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Taxpayers’ Alliance: The chancellor u-turns on national insurance

TPAllianceBy John O’Connell, Chief Executive, Taxpayers’ Alliance

You may remember last week that our Chairman, Andrew Allum, predicted that the Chancellor might U-turn on his decision to raise National Insurance. Well, he was right. While the Chancellor’s aim was to make the system fairer, so the self-employed would pay roughly the same as employees, the move went down badly amongst the public, the media and even the party’s own MPs.

The move was reminiscent of George Osborne’s attempted ‘pasty tax’ back in 2012, and goes to show that marginal tinkering around the edges of the tax system simply does not work. Parliamentarians may indeed be worried that the changing nature of work will erode the tax base, but instead of fiddling with individual levies, they should use this opportunity to undergo a full review of our overly complicated, often punitive tax system. The first place they should start is our 2012 Single Income Tax, which you can read online here.

John O’Connell
Chief Executive

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The Tax Justice Network Weekly – Friday 14 October

TJNStories about Uber, eBay and Donald Trump appearing with best wishes from the team at the Tax Justice Network.

  • US – One particularly interesting article comes from the New York Times, an op-ed written by two former White House ethics counsels. It was their job to check the tax returns of presidential nominees under both the Bush and Obama administrations. In their view Donald wouldn’t have made the cut.
  • Ireland – Comedy tax policy of the week goes to Ireland. Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said he is cracking down on individuals who use tax havens to hide their money. Didn’t mention anything about the multinationals funneling billions through Ireland every day, undermining the tax systems of other countries.
  • Malaysia- the ramifications of the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia continue to rock the world, with the Singaporean government shutting down one Swiss Bank, and allegations surfacing of the money being tied to White House lobbying.

Stories from the TJN Blog and links to stories from around the world about multinational corporations and their Tax manipulation/avoidence/evasion

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Facebook UK tax – TJN statement

TJN
October 9, 2016  Blog, Taxing corporations

Facebook UK’s accounts for 2015 were published Oct 9th 2016, online at Companies House. TJN Director of Research Alex Cobham commented:

“Facebook UK’s accounts show specific issues, but point also to the real problem: that major multinational companies appear to be able to pick and choose, unlike the rest of us, where and how much tax they will pay. Theresa May has said her government will fight back against tax avoidance – if the Prime Minister is serious, she will immediately implement the tax transparency measure that passed in the new Finance Bill so that the public can see which companies are meeting their UK responsibilities.

“There are two main points of interest in these accounts: first, it appears that Facebook UK has paid no tax, despite the misleading spin being put on the company’s position; and second, that Facebook continues to claim that its UK operations are significantly less profitable than elsewhere.

Read full story: http://www.taxjustice.net/2016/10/09/facebook-uk-tax-tjn-statement/

Tax Justice Network: Campaign Update Friday 30 September

TJNWelcome to the tax justice weekly, a weekly roundup of all the news from the world of tax justice.

EU Leaks – a new platform for whistleblowers

From the Greens / Europe Free Alliance in the European Parliament, a new initiative called EU Leaks: EUleaks is a European platform where you can submit information in a highly secure and anonymous way. Transparency and accountability are essential for democratic governance. The EUleaks project provides a platform for increasing transparency by providing a new […] The post EU Leaks – a new platform for whistleblowers appeared first on Tax Justice Network.

Read more about EU Leaks, 2016-09-28  • By Nick Shaxson

Much more below, read about the nefarious activities of global tax havenry

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Tax Justice Network – Campaign Update Saturday 24 September

TJNWelcome to the tax justice weekly, a weekly roundup of all the news from the world of tax justice.

This week the big story has been the Bahamasleaks.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has published a new leak of information from the Bahamas corporate registry, which will now be added to the data from the Panama Papers and BVI leaks to make one large searchable database of offshore companies. Go and have a play.

World leaders were also meeting in New York for the annual opening of the general assembly. Tax justice issues were on the radar, with the Foreign Minister of Equador using the opportunity to repeat calls for the establishment of a global tax body to co-ordinate agreement on international tax rules.

Have a great weekend.

With best wishes from the team at the Tax Justice Network

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