Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Follow the Money

John Christensen has sparked a global debate with his recent speech about offshore corruption at the Royal Geographical Society. The story has been picked up by most of the mainstream media and has attracted comments on a variety of blogs. HM Revenue & Customs has reacted strongly to the notion that Britain is amongst the most corrupt nations, but has entirely missed the point - see Richard Murphy's blog on this subject.

What is missing, however, is a response from Transparency International, which until now has shaped the corruption discourse through tools such as the Corruption Perceptions Index, which started things off in 1995. Despite criticisms of their perceptions based approach, and despite discussions with TI personnel about the role of tax havens in encouraging and facilitating corruption, TI remains silent on the issues of tax havens, tax evasion and dirty money flows through the offshore interface. So our challenge to TI is simply this: do you or do you not accept that the existence of offshore tax havens encourages and facilitates tax evasion, money laundering and other corrupt practices? If so, how will you build this into your Perceptions Indices?

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