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Europe heralds new era of tax transparency
December 14th, 2010
While the headlines are full of information that governments did not intend to release, European ministers of finance including UK Chancellor George Osborne last week agreed to a draft directive outlining a powerful new basis for the automatic exchange of tax information between jurisdictions – a directive which, if it does what it says on the tin, would be a dramatic step towards the end for European tax havens. This Tuesday 7 December there was a meeting in Brussels of the Economic and Financial Affairs council (EcoFin, effectively Europe’s council of finance ministers). The press release (still provisional)...
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FIFA and the Corrosion of Financial Integrity
November 30th, 2010
The biggest sport in the world is football. Soccer, that is. Unfortunately, it also offers a paradigmatic example of the poisonous effects of a lack of financial integrity. There are a great many people with a stake in the outcomes of football – for example, the World Cup held in South Africa earlier this year has verified viewing figures of 715 million women, men and children (around one in ten of the world’s population), having been broadcast in 214 countries. The sport’s world governing body FIFA estimate there were 26 billion World Cup match viewings – enough for each...
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Why Financial Integrity?
August 24th, 2010
The Task Force on Financial Integrity and Economic Development has a problem. There are two common reactions when people hear about it. The first is ‘Snappy title.’ The second is ‘Financial integrity? What’s that?’ Now, it’s true that the title is on the long side, but this shouldn’t in itself be a problem – if the name gives people an immediate understanding of what we do, and why it matters. And to be fair, the focus of the Task Force is – well, exactly what it says on the label. Each of the five recommendations we pursue aims to contribute...
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The ‘black hole of Geneva’
July 27th, 2010
Markets do not work well when they are not transparent, and nowhere is that more true than in financial markets. If I sell you a banana, I care about the wider market for bananas – whether, for example, the crop has failed in the Dominican Republic, so that I should be raising my prices. I care about you, however, only insofar as you have the money to give me in exchange now. But if I sell you a loan, I care about your creditworthiness and your financial prospects, because I need to know that you will Continue Reading
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