Monday, 9 May 2016

Where has the money gone?

The Guardian newspaper yesterday [8 May 16] published an interesting study done by Prof. James Henry of Columbia University on off-shore financial centers.
*The analysis done by Prof Henry for "Tax Justice Network" shows that US$12 trillion has been siphoned off from emerging economies since 2014. This ill-gotten wealth is stashed in off-shore secretive destinations.
* Of this total amount, Chinese citizens have stashed away US$1.2 trillion, once Hong Kong and Macau estimates are also included.
* This would indicate that corruption in China is widespread and that the rich have little faith in their government.
* States such as Russia, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are also high on the list as are Angola and Nigeria.
* Tax dodging is not the only reason. Criminals and kleptocrats are just as prolific in stashing wealth abroad.
* Most wish to utilize the services of off-shore financial centers to keep their money safe and their wealth secret.
* In return for absolute secrecy, they are willing to receive paltry returns, sometimes as low as 1%.
* Off shore capital belonging to Chinese and Russian citizens has increased by 9% since 2010.
* If only 1% tax could be levied on this huge stash of funds, the tax yield would be US$ 120 billion. This amount would be nearly equal to the entire global aid budget that stands at US$ 130 billion.
* Of interest is the fact that Cayman Islands etc are not the only off-shore centers that keep identity of investors secret; but Delaware State in the US also allows foreign investors to start companies and businesses where the ultimate ownership need not be disclosed!    

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