Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Tax-dodging and dirty money

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has a couple of good news items this month.


Senegal has ripped up its double tax agreement (DTA) with Mauritius, the island tax haven at the center of our 2019 investigation Mauritius Leaks. (If you want more info on what a DTA is, read here!) The agreement, which was signed in 2004, cost the West African nation $257 million in lost tax revenue. One researcher told us this decision was a “big deal” and could spark similar moves by other African countries.


The European Commission wants a central authority to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing. Executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis said the six-point plan would “put an end to dirty money infiltrating our financial system.” Member states have until July 29 to give their feedback, but some – including Malta, Estonia and Hungary – have already taken issue with it. Transparency International says the plan is “high on generalities but low on specifics.”

Hungary (which under Orban has declared an end to liberalism), Estonia (home to at least one bank with Russian oligarchs as clients) and Malta (where rich people may buy citizenship, no questions asked) are all too likely objectors. One imagines that this corruption-tainted UK government is happy not to have to take a public position on the proposed anti-money-laundering authority.

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