Your Excellencies, Honorable Ministers, distinguished officials, members of the Bar, and guests.
I am delighted to have the opportunity to participate in PALU’s annual conference, this year focusing on the eradication of corruption and illicit financial flows and the role of lawyers and lawyers associations. These issues have moved into the forefront of Africa’s agenda in recent years and will continue to shape thinking about maximizing domestic resources for development in the coming years.
Thank you. I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in CAPP Foundation’s 2017 conference. This morning we are focusing our attention on human smuggling and economic crime, as Lord Skidelsky will focus our attention this afternoon on incentivizing solidarity and civic virtue.
Can we curtail global crime while we welcome tax evasion? In my opinion the answer to this question is a resounding “NO.” But this is what we are trying to do.
Let us be very honest with ourselves. We in the West have over the past 4 or 5 decades built a global shadow financial system designed to move tax evading and tax avoiding money across borders. I think by now all of us are familiar with its elements – tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions, disguised corporations, anonymous trust accounts, fake foundations, money laundering techniques, trade misinvoicing is the most commonly used component of this structure, and then there are holes left in the laws of our western countries that facilitate the movement of money through this shadow financial system and ultimately into our own economies.
Global Financial Integrity
In May 2015, Professor Thomas Pogge delivered the keynote address at a conference, titled “Financial Transparency and Human Rights in Africa: Fostering Greater National and Regional Economic Opportunity in Africa through Human Rights and Financial Transparency,” co-hosted by Global Financial Integrity, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) in Johannesburg, South Africa.
A member of GFI’s Board of Directors, Dr. Pogge is the Director of the Global Justice Program and the Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University.
Testimony Urged U.S. Department of Labor to Reject Proposed QPAM Waiver by Credit Suisse
Heather Lowe, GFI’s legal counsel and director of government affairs, testified at a U.S. Department of Labor hearing in Washington on January 15, 2015, urging the department to maintain a ban on Credit Suisse’s ability to engage in high-risk transactions with the pension fund money that they manage following their November 2014 criminal conviction for aiding in tax evasion and the Swiss bank’s long history of systemic compliance failures at the institution and its affiliates.
GFI President Raymond Baker participated in “Illicit Financial Flows on the Post-2015 Development Agenda,” a panel discussion organized by the World Bank ‘s Integrity Vice Presidency on October 11, 2014 during the 2014 IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings. The forum addressed the issue of illicit financial flows in the context of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Joining Mr. Baker on the panel were (in alphabetical order) Hans Brattskar, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway; Mogens Jensen, Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, Denmark; Marcel, Senior Director, World Bank Group; Leonard Mccarthy, Integrity Vice President, World Bank Group; Dr. Atiur Rahman, Governor, Central Bank of Bangladesh; and Nena Stoiljkovic, Global Practices Vice President, World Bank Group.
Contributing to a Safer and More Secure World Demands That Financial Intelligence Units Work to Change the System from Within
GFI President Raymond Baker delivered the keynote address before the 22nd Plenary of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units in Lima, Peru.
Raymond Baker, the President of Global Financial Integrity, addresses the issue of illicit financial flows while speaking at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada at “Beyond 2015: Towards a New Consensus on Global Poverty,” a conference marking the launch of the Canadian chapter of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP).