April 15, 2009
Monique Perry Danziger, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
Official Statement from GFI
WASHINGTON, DC – This time last year the German government was pursuing a campaign to obtain information on 900 of its citizens whose names appeared on a list of secret accounts at Liechtenstein’s LGT bank. Meanwhile, presidential hopeful and then-Senator Barack Obama was pledging to crackdown on tax havens and tax evaders if elected president. The world economy was still in one piece and the Dow was above 10,000.
Also a year ago GFI director Raymond Baker, speaking about the developments in Europe, commented, “There is a coming sea-change in how the world deals with illicit financial flows; the changes being proposed within the EU and U.S. have the potential to recover huge sums of national revenue while hindering illicit commerce around the world.”
Today, the notion of tax havens, banking secrecy, and even the broader concept of a shadow financial system have permeated the public consciousness and galvanized political debate. The G20 nations included tackling tax havens as part of their ambitious strategy to shape a post-crisis world economy and, in keeping with his campaign pledge, President Obama’s administration has made strongly worded statements about the problem. Even the Vatican has issued a statement calling for an end to tax havens.
On this tax day, GFI applauds the efforts of all anti-tax-evasion crusaders including Senator Carl Levin, whose tireless efforts to investigate and hold-accountable tax havens and tax dodgers and introduce legislation aimed at curtailing harmful offshore schemes.
Continued action on banking secrecy and tax haven abuse is needed on many fronts in order to end a problem that drains capital from rich and poor nations alike and facilitates the movement of criminal proceeds and terrorist financing.
GFI pledges to remain singly focused on promoting financial transparency around the globe.