Thursday, April 04, 2013

Unmasking the tax-cheats

The rich are the biggest thieves on the planet. Globally, they are estimated to be hiding US$21 trillion in tax havens to avoid paying their fair share. Now, thanks to a mega-leak, the identities of who is hiding what are going to be unmasked:

Millions of internal records have leaked from Britain's offshore financial industry, exposing for the first time the identities of thousands of holders of anonymous wealth from around the world, from presidents to plutocrats, the daughter of a notorious dictator and a British millionaire accused of concealing assets from his ex-wife.

The leak of 2m emails and other documents, mainly from the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), has the potential to cause a seismic shock worldwide to the booming offshore trade, with a former chief economist at McKinsey estimating that wealthy individuals may have as much as $32tn (£21tn) stashed in overseas havens.

The leak has already exposed a Mongolian politician, a Canadian Senator's husband and a dictator's daughter. And there will be more. Interestingly, Nicky Hager was involved in the analysis, so hopefully we'll be learning about our local tax cheats as well.