Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Hiding the cash

The UK protects its tax havens. The foreign minister Alan Duncan said the government would only pressure the territories to adopt new transparency measures when they became a global standard, and insisted that an EU commitment to introduce public registers did not meet that threshold.

 British crown dependencies and overseas territories, however, are only required to provide information on the true owners of offshore companies to law enforcement, and only if requested.
“Registers must be open – to civil society, the media, journalists, non-governmental organisations – if all the relevant dots are to be joined up, as the release of the Paradise Papers so clearly shows,” said Andrew Mitchell, a Conservative MP and former secretary of state for international development. “With the best will in the world, the regulatory authorities are not in that business, and narrow questions from regulatory authorities simply do not suffice.” 

Mitchell said World Bank data showed that more money was stolen from Africa through unpaid taxes or concealment each year than the continent received in overseas aid or foreign investment. “We owe it to the poor of Africa, as well as to our own taxpayers, to take the action we can to bring about an end to this scandal,” he said.

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