The OECD says there are vast amounts offshore – and that can only be with the knowing assistance of the world’s big banks

The OECD issued a new report overnight for the G8. The subject is automatic information exchange – the theme of today’s G8 summit.

Richard Murphy is the founder of the Tax Justice Network

The OECD issued a new report overnight for the G8. The subject is automatic information exchange – the theme of today’s G8 summit.

In the forward to the report they say:

As the world becomes increasingly globalised it is becoming easier for all taxpayers to make, hold and manage investments through foreign financial institutions, something that not long ago was accessible only to a select few. Vast amounts of money are kept offshore and go untaxed to the extent that taxpayers fail to comply with tax obligations in their home jurisdiction. Offshore tax evasion is a serious problem for jurisdictions all over the world, OECD and non‐OECD,small and large, developing and developed. Cooperation between tax administration is critical in the fight against tax evasion and a key aspect of that cooperation is exchange of information.

Before considering the report any further let’s just consider what that means;

First it says that the work I, the Tax Justice Network and many, many NGOs have done to highlight and quantify this issue has been justified and our conclusions are justified.

Second it says that for all the protestations we hear from the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories and many other places that they are not tax havens is just wrong: they are.

Third, it means that there is a massive financial services industry presence designed to meet this demand. That demand is met by lawyers and accountants, of course, but none of it is possible without banks. And those are the same banks that we saved around the word in 2008. RBS, Lloyds, HSBC, Santander and so many others operate in large numbers of tax havens. And they very obviously fail to tackle tax abuse.

Indeed  they facilitate it, and that cannot now be unknowingly. That abuse is a part of their business models: it has to be.

I make the point deliberately. The problem that the G8 and governments around the world is facing is not a petty issued. It is about organised crime and that crime is managed through the world’s banking system. It’s the dimension to this problem that they will not, however, name. And that’s the first and fundamental weakness of what they propose.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

7 Responses to “The OECD says there are vast amounts offshore – and that can only be with the knowing assistance of the world’s big banks”

  1. LB

    Yep. Germans have lots of money in German banks. That’s offshore.

    Send in the gunboats.

    After all they UK is up the swannee. The state’s spent all those pension contributions and bugger me, the punters want their pensions. Tad inconvenient I say. How can we go swanning off to conferences when the plebs want their money back.

  2. LB

    Secondly, you miss the main point.

    Take the Coop bank. In the news because they have decided to loot savers money to pay for their crimes [Isn’t that the case? Banks lose money, the bosses must be criminals. Imagine that. The COOP run by fraudsters. Why aren’t the left going on about that then?]

    Now, if the PIBS had got their assets separated from the COOP, in Bermuda, then its clear. The COOP can’t take their money because the Bermudan courts would say no, its not yours to have.

    Ditto Cyprus.

    Ditto Jews escaping the Nazis.

    All because the state has those debts it can’t pay.

  3. skarpa

    LB – the left are going on about it. Quit trolling.

  4. blarg1987

    What crimes did Co Op do? Rescue Britannia? In which case might the auditros who gave it a clean bill of health or the managers of Britannia be responsible if they were not truthful about the full debts the bank owed?

  5. LB

    They are bankers. They lost money. They must be guilty.

    Is that standard socialist thinking?

  6. blarg1987

    No I think you will find it is the idea that many banks did practices that were economically unviable in the longer term for short term gain, then suddenly the preverbial hit the fan and so the tax payer had to to bail them out or guarentee low interest loans (which Barclay used). And now the focus of the media is on those at the bottom end of society rather then those at the top.

  7. LB

    COOP did.

    However, its peanuts, a mere fleck comapred to the state.

    The state pension is economically unviable in the longer term and MPs have proffited for a short term gain.

    There are no taxpayers to bail out the taxpayers.

    So one some points of accuracy.

    1. What are the guarantees at low cost?

    2. The bailout. What cash to whom?

    3. What about the regulator and Brown and Balls. Why no blame for them.

    4. Casino banks. Why does the last government report state it was retail banks at fault.

Leave a Reply