In 2009, leaders of the world’s 20 most powerful nations declared “the era of bank secrecy is over.”
Today, bank secrecy is not over. In fact, many tax havens are thriving.
Bank deposits held by individuals in tax havens amounted to around $2,700 billion at the eve of the G20 London summit in 2009, according to the Bank for International Settlements. This figure has actually increased during the past three years.
Since the London G20, there has been no substantial repatriation of funds onshore.
So the Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development urges G20 leaders to give serious attention to stemming these illicit flows. Doing so would help provide an alternative to austerity in the developed world and a path towards growth particularly in developing countries.
At a time when the global economy faces enormous challenges, the introduction of the following key financial transparency measures would create the conditions needed for financial stability:
- Multilateral automatic tax information exchange;
- publicly accessible registers that reveal the true identity of individuals who own companies and trusts;
- full country-by-country reporting of all multinational companies taxes, turnover and costs in every country they operate;
- a serious crackdown on intra-group trading known as transfer pricing;
- vigorously applied anti-money laundering rules and laws.
Notes to Editors
1) The Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development, a consortium of governments and research and advocacy organizations, focuses on achieving greater transparency in the global financial system for the benefit of developing countries.
3) The G20 has set up the Anti-Corruption Working Group to monitor whether its goals in this area are met. The group sets benchmarks for members and publishes annual progress reports. The Task Force hopes that G20 leaders will renew its mandate for a further two years at the Los Cabos summit.
4) The G20’s Anti-Corruption Working Group could be a model for more accountable and effective follow up on summit commitments. It has been an effective means of keeping commitments towards the top of the agenda and of ensuring some basic coordination between G20 members.
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