In the December 2016 Tax Justice Network monthly podcast, the Taxcast: In trusts we trust? We look at the new game in town: beneficial ownership avoidance, the booming industry in alternative escape vehicles from public registers and why we must shine the spotlight on all of them. Plus: we discuss two big stories we think will define 2017: the race to the bottom between nations on tax aka a transfer of wealth to the corporate community, and how the world’s biggest havens are increasingly having to account for the devastating effect their tax and/or financial secrecy policies are having on human rights around the world… (more…)
‘We would like to see a situation where we have helped developing countries to build and recover billions of tax revenue from multinationals that have woven circles around these governments,to build capacity and skills of those tax administrations to the point where the multinationals know that we have a level playing field whether you operate in Britain, whether you operate in Chad or in Bolivia, we want to see them practice in the same manner and pay the fair share of tax wherever they are operating from.’
James Karanja, Head of the Tax Inspectors Without Borders Secretariat
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In the October 2016 Tax Justice Network podcast: we look at the offshorisation of Iceland’s economy, its collapse and recovery. What are the lessons? Also, Brazil adds Ireland to its tax haven black list and Panama threatens anyone who dares call it a tax haven with a new law…plus more scandal and unique analysis you won’t find anywhere else. Produced by Naomi Fowler for the Tax Justice Network and featuring Sigrun Davidsdottir, journalist, blogger and podcaster, journalist Ingólfur Sigfússon and John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network.
You can download this directly onto your mobile device. phone or tablet (‘right click and save link as’ here)
“Iceland didn’t do what Europe has been doing, lingering in a limbo and not really tackling the big issues, we can see that every so often the European banking sector is struggling now with Italian banks, with Deutsche bank and so on, and this is very much down to the fact the painful things have been avoided and I often say that Iceland shows that a quick stab is better than a lingering pain. Iceland took the quick stab, it was extremely painful at the time but at least things have and are being slowly cleared out and that makes a huge difference compared to the so many European countries where the lingering pain is still there.”
Sigrun Davidsdottir, journalist, blogger and podcaster. Read her Icelog
“Panama is not just a major secrecy jurisdiction, it is a politically delinquent secrecy jurisdiction…they are moving away from a democratic country where civil society can interact freely…to an increasingly autocratic model and Panama now deserves to have strong international sanctions imposed upon it to make sure it doesn’t proceed down this highly autocratic highly secretive, highly non-cooperative model because the only people who’ll benefit from that are the criminals”
In the September Tax Justice Network podcast, the Taxcast: How a conman can devastate the lives of thousands of ordinary people, aided and abetted by the offshore industry – with banks, law firms and accountants all happy to look the other way and not ask questions. Plus, we discuss: the latest leak from the Bahamas, #BahamasLeaks; and Apple’s 13 billion euro underpaid tax bill: a defining moment in the battle between the low/no-tax world big corporations would like to see and democratic, accountable governance in the public interest. (more…)
‘Hello. This is John Doe. Interested in data? I’m happy to share.‘ We talk to the two journalists who got the Panama Papers scoop, Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier who’ve written a book about their experience.
Plus: what does Brexit mean for tax justice? We discuss the F4 (unholy) alliance between Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK, and the accelerated corporate tax race to the bottom.
‘Unfortunately there is the world people like you and me are living in and there is a second world, a parallel world, the offshore world where people with enough money will always find possibilities to hide their money…there are people out there choosing which law they want to stick to and that is a problem for democracy.’
‘I am very clear about what would happen if you take away the secrecy, if you take away the anonymity. I am completely sure that the whole system would crash because why would they go to the British Virgin Islands for a company when you can see who owns it? You know, it’s not rocket science.’
Post-Brexit: ‘I think that Britain’s likely development strategy will be to actually deepen its tax haven role sitting offshore Europe.’
In the June 2016 Taxcast from the Tax Justice Network: How different could the lives of those in poverty have been without secrecy jurisdictions? We give you the very latest estimates on the missing trillions offshored from the world’s developing regions. Also: Brexit and the special interests behind it: “Nakedly, brazenly, they’re pushing the City of London’s deregulated, criminal approach to finance”. Plus, the Panama Papers shed some light on secretive, pro-tax haven US lobbying group the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s funders.
“the revelations from the Panama Papers have been sensational but an international investigation with some kind of subpoena power would I think be 10 times as important.”
Featuring: John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network, and Columbia University Professor, Economist, lawyer and Tax Justice Network senior advisor James Henry. Produced and presented by @Naomi_Fowler for the Tax Justice Network.
What is corruption? Well, that’s a political question, and the answer depends on who you ask. In this podcast we discuss the anti-corruption summit in the City of London, the world’s capital of sleaze and ask if the sun ever set on the colonial era and the idea that corruption is a poor country issue. We explore extortive corruption versus collusive corruption and look at a new Poll which indicates for the first time the vast gulf between what the British people consider corrupt, and what has become a ‘normal’ way of doing business and politics. The overlap between the public and private spheres raises serious questions about democracy – and the nature of global fraud.
In the April 2016 Taxcast: we discuss the biggest offshore leak in history, the #PanamaPapers: could it provide an opportunity for nations to expand their secrecy market share? Once again, all eyes are on Trusts… Also, as the #LuxLeaks whistleblower Antoine Deltour’s trial begins in Luxembourg, we ask why protections for whistleblowers are being eroded and what it says about the state of our democracy.
Presented and produced for the Tax Justice Network by Naomi Fowler. Featuring: John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network, Member of the European Parliament Fabio De Masi, Antonio Gambini of CNCD 11.11.11, co-founder of Luxembourg’s home grown tax justice collective Collectif Tax Justice Lëtzebuerg Luc Dockendorf and a brief appearance by EU Commission President and former PM of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Juncker.
‘it does appear that the British Prime Minister is pushing to protect and enlarge the British Trust industry, at the expense of traditional banking secrecy arrangements and for that reason we must ensure that there is absolutely no way that Trusts can be used as a way of wriggling out of international information exchange processes.’
‘in many ways Luxembourg is a diverse, affluent, peaceful, happy society but then of course there is always those nagging questions where is the wealth really coming from and is it a sustainable business model and the wealth that we get, is it a zero sum or negative sum gain for people around the world?’