Task Force Members to Appear on Panel at the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Bangkok

November 12th, 2010

Panel to Address the Immediate Civil Society Response to the G20 Seoul Summit Outcome

BANGKOK, THAILAND – Several representatives from the Task Force on Financial Integrity & Economic Development will appear on a panel Saturday at the 14th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC). The four day gathering of world leaders, academics, civil society representatives and private-sector business executives–all addressing the issue of international corruption–comes to a close Saturday evening in Bangkok.

Task Force representatives François Valérian of Transparency International (TI), Raymond Baker of Global Financial Integrity (GFI), and Robert Palmer of Global Witness will join a few other representatives of TI—including TI Chair Huguette Labelle—on a panel titled “G20, the Day After. Immediate Civil Society Reactions to the Seoul Nov 11-12th G20 Summit.”

The IACC website describes the discussion as follows:

The financial and economic crisis that broke out in fall 2008 has had disastrous consequences trapping millions in poverty worldwide, triggering a devastating rise in unemployment and placing national economies at risk. There is increasing evidence that corruption and fraud have contributed significantly in causing the financial crisis and they have been a prime cause of the serious decline in public confidence in both financial services firms and government regulators. In order to avoid another crisis substantial and sustainable reforms of the international financial architecture and system that reduce risk and increase transparency, accountability and integrity are needed.

Sustainable financial regulatory reforms should address the excessive culture of deregulation, the incentives for short-term risk-taking, the opacity of financial markets and products and the privatisation of profit concomitant to the socialisation of loss. The initial reaction of states to the crisis has been a massive injection of cash flows into the financial system in order to bail out companies. This measure may on a short term basis serve to save economies from collapsing, but it does not provide a long-term answer to the risks of the current practices and systems. To restore global confidence and reduce opportunities for corruption and fraud reforms need to include enhanced government oversight and regulation, enhanced public transparency as well as accountability of the relevant public and private actors, increased international coordination, especially in the fight against financial crime, built-in incentives for long-term action as well as improved corporate governance.

This special session will formulate an immediate civil society reaction to the outcomes of the Seoul G20 Summit and hold leaders to account for progress made on the initially ambitious reform agenda.

Earlier today, the Task Force released its own official statement on the outcome of the G20 Seoul Summit commending the G20 for addressing development and corruption while criticizing the world leaders for failing to promote transparency.  The statement quotes–among others–GFI Director Raymond Baker, who will be participating in the IACC panel tomorrow, which will be streamed live on the IACC website when the session begins at 14:00 ICT (Bangkok time), 08:00 CET (Paris time), 07:00 GMT (London time), and 02:00 EST (Washington, DC time).  Reacting to the G20 earlier today, Task Force members said:

“The Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth, includes some innovative ideas like strengthening tax collection powers in developing countries. Likewise the Action Plan from the corruption working group proposes positive steps on asset recovery, money laundering, and visa bans for corrupt officials,” said Gavin Hayman, Campaigns Director of Global Witness. “But the G20 has missed the opportunity to take concrete action to promote transparency in the financial system that will really have an impact on corruption, tax evasion and poverty.”

“What is missing from the Seoul communiqué are the key elements of global financial transparency: country by country reporting for multinational corporations, automatic tax information exchange, full disclosure of corporate ownership or beneficiaries of offshore trusts and accounts, and a tougher stance on non cooperative jurisdictions,” said John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network.

“Crime, corruption, and tax evasion drive $1 trillion out of the developing world every year,” said Global Financial Integrity director Raymond Baker.  “That’s $10 lost for every $1 that comes in as aid.  This money ends up in tax havens as well as banks in G20 nations.  Transparency would stem this outflow of dirty money by making it harder for criminals and kleptocrats to stash their dirty money abroad.”

“G20 leaders don’t have time to waste,” said Nuria Molina-Gallart, director of the European Network on Debt and Development.  “In 2011 the G20 must put into place concrete measures to ensure that big corporations and financial institutions comply with the highest standards of financial transparency and integrity.  The global playing field must be leveled for developing countries to have a shot at sustained and robust development in the post economic crisis recovery.”

A lot of ideas are packed into these four paragraphs, leaving plenty to discuss at the IACC session tomorrow.  Be sure to watch the live stream of the event here on the IACC website.

For more information on the panel, visit the IACC website here.


Written by Clark Gascoigne

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