The release of massive amounts of new information about hidden off-shore wealth by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), confirms beyond reasonable doubt that the world’s financial system legitimises industrial-scale tax avoidance, aids criminals and drug cartels and facilitates corruption up to the highest levels of our society.
Porter McConnell, Manager of the Financial Transparency Coalition (FTC) said: “The sheer scale of material the ICIJ has now placed into the public domain exposes how the financial system is being made to work against the interests of ordinary citizens throughout the world. This holds true in both the developing and rich world.
“As world leaders gather for the G8, the ICIJ information is further proof that way too many banks, law firms and accountants conspire to rob countries of trillions of dollars of much needed revenue. This is neither sustainable nor tolerable and must be fixed for the well-being not only of the international financial system, but for national and local governments.
“The FTC applauds the hard work of the ICIJ and its international network of journalists who have worked tirelessly to bring this material to light. Yet given the devastating effect corporate secrecy has on our political and economic system – not least an erosion of the public’s faith and trust- this issue must no longer be left only to journalists to monitor and expose.
“We urge global leaders meeting in Northern Ireland to cut through the rhetoric and commit to fixing the wholesale inadequacy of our global financial system by ensuring that details regarding corporate ownership (who is the “real” or “beneficial owner”) are made publicly available; that the automatic exchange of tax information becomes a global standard with no loopholes for anyone; and that full country-by-country reporting rules apply to all industrial sectors in every economy.
“The only people to fear a transparent financial system are law-breakers. Financial transparency will aid growth and contribute to efficient markets. The ICIJ is to be thanked for its painstaking work in unravelling the complex links that facilitate corruption and tax evasion. Its disclosures will do the world a huge service if policymakers at the G8 act swiftly to close down the secrecy that pollutes our financial system.”