Friday, March 27, 2009

Links - March 27

** Also see our searchable archive of past story summaries; and Offshore Watch. **

The club of incorruptibles.
March 23 (Le Monde) - They belong to the same brotherhood, that of men and women with no other purpose than to clean up the world democracies in tracking corruption in every corner. They are members of a private network created by the former judge Eva Joly, with the active support of Norway. They are not numerous, about twenty, and meet discreetly twice a year. In February, they met in Zambia.

Toxic Assets Were Hidden Assets
March 25 (WS Journal) - Hernando de Soto, author of "The Mystery of Capital" writes in an opinion for the Wall Street Journal that toxic assets are a symptom of the debased global financial architecture, a problem that must be tackled from the root in order to reign derivatives in. This must be done using six longstanding procedures to guarantee value such as recording assets and transactions, and prioritizing production over finance.

Stockbrokers 'hid AIB deals behind secret tax havens'
March 25 (Independent) Dubbed the 'Irish-style Watergate' AIB's stockbroking arm used black-listed tax havens to circumvent rules preventing it from buying and selling the bank's shares, the bank's former auditor told a Dail committee yesterday.

A seven day plan pre the G20
March 25 (Tax Research UK) Co-founder of Tax Justice Network Richard Murphy, blogging from the House of Commons, outlines a seven point plan toward reforming the global financial architecture in response to a challenge by Michael Meacher MP in a classic 'what would you do if you were Gordon Brown for a day..(or week).

Obama’s bank plan could rob the taxpayer
March 25 (Financial Times) Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, comments on the Geithner-Summers plan saying, 'under the plan the loan is precisely designed to be a one-way bet, for the purpose of overpricing the toxic asset in order to bail out the bank’s shareholders at hidden cost to the taxpayers.'

Tax: Sarkozy ready to resign from his post as co-prince of Andorra
March 24 (AFP) PARIS (AFP) 'President Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened Wednesday to UMP members to resign from his post as co-prince of Andorra if the G20 does not progress on the issue of tax havens.'

Tough rules needed to shut financial market casino - UN
March 19 (Reuters) Tough international rules are needed to regulate currency, commodities and other financial markets and "close down the big casino" to prevent more economic crises, a U.N. agency said on Thursday.

Volcker panel to study tax reform, report to Obama
March 25 (Reuters) 'A panel led by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker will study options for U.S. tax reform and report back to President Barack Obama by December 4, the White House budget director said on Wednesday.'

Early Day Motion
March 24 (UK Parliament) - That this House condemns Barclays Bank for indulging in alleged tax avoidance schemes which may have reduced the Treasury's tax revenues by over £1 billion; and urges the Government not to provide any loans, guarantees and financial support to Barclays and suspend its deposit-taking licence until it cleans up its affairs and withdraws from manufacturing, marketing, sale and implementation of all tax avoidance schemes.

Early Day Motion
March 24 (UK Parliament) - That this House congratulates Wikileak for publishing documents relating to alleged tax avoidance schemes used by Barclays Bank; and urges the Government to place copies of those documents on the HM Treasury website.


AIG's Bonus Unit Now in IRS's Sights
March 24 (WS Journal) 'Some of the same banks that got government-funded payouts to settle contracts with American International Group Inc. also turned to the insurer for help cutting their income taxes in the U.S. and Europe, according to court records and people familiar with the business.'

Bancos devem dar mais informação aos clientes - Silva Lopes
25 Mar (Lusa) – Former Portuguese Finance Minister calls for more international financial transparency at TJN event involving John Christensen in Coimbra, Portugal. Translation here.

A vault unlocked
March 23 (Financial Times) 'Bern’s acceptance of international standards on tax transparency, potentially lifting the veil on billions of francs in foreign assets never declared by their owners, came in an international chain reaction by countries whose bank secrecy rules long appeared impregnable.'

Almost half of all Malaysians guilty of tax evasion:
March 23 (Earth Times) 'At least 900,000 Malaysians are guilty of not paying their taxes'
There were an estimated 2 million people with taxable earnings in the country, but only 1.1 million are currently paying. Companies fared even worse, with only 104,000 corporations paying taxes on their profits, out of the 500,000 firms registered.

Co-op credit societies may be used for money laundering
March 23 (The Economic Times) India: 'With banks closing most loopholes for money laundering, co-operative credit societies may turn out to be the weak link in the system.'

France and Jersey in deal to fight tax fraud
March 23 (Reuters) 'France and Jersey have signed an agreement to combat tax fraud by exchanging information, the French government said on Monday.

Andorra, Taxed by the Financial Crisis
March 24 (Le Monde) No one would criticise Obama for ognoring Andorra, 'yet despite its Lilliputian size, these entities will hold for a few hours of the major discussions of this world at the G20 summit held in London on 2 April.'

On Tax Havens
March 24 (Le Monde) 'At the heart of St. Helier prosperous one of the most formidable network of financial institutions on the planet. This island of 186 km2 and 90 000 people raised a short distance from Cherbourg has 47 branches of international banks and several hundred fund managers, accounting firms and law firms.'

London and New York are also tax havens
March 24 (Le Monde) Marc Roche of the Le Monde interviews John Christensen, Director of the Tax Justice Network.

Switzerland: Moralising small steps
March 24 (Le Monde) Switzerland and the fate of foreign funds is as stake as the question of tax evasion, fraud and capital flight is questioned by the international community.

Swiss banks ban top executive travel
March 26 (TJN) - Switzerland’s private banks have started to ban their top executives from travelling abroad, even to neighbouring France and Germany, because of fears they will be detained as part of a global crackdown on bank secrecy.

Offshore account holders offered tax deal
March 26 (FT) - Thousands of British investors with up to £3bn stashed in secret Liechtenstein bank accounts will be asked to come forward voluntarily under a deal to be negotiated next week that could be the first of many worldwide.

Barclays tax documents: how Matthew Oakeshott told their lordships what we couldn't
March 27 (Guardian) - Yesterday in the Lords, Matthew Oakeshott, the Lib Dem Treasury spokesman, used parliamentary privilege to tell his fellow peers about what newspapers could not: Documents leaked to the Liberal Democrats.

House Committee Schedules Hearing On Banking Secrecy
March 26 (Tax-News) - Congressman Richard Neal has announced that a House of Representatives committee will hold a hearing on issues involving 'banking secrecy practices and wealthy American taxpayers.' It will focus on the apparent limitations of the Qualified Intermediary (QI) program.

An imbalanced summit
March 25 (Asia Times) - By Oscar Ugarteche - A group of seven highly indebted rich countries (HIRC) of the world have organized a meeting of 20 nations in London next month to discuss the future of the world's finances. They have called to the table some creditor developing countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, some Arab countries, China and India, but have left aside all the world's other surplus countries, creditors to the US and Europe.

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