G20 Urged to Stop Money Scandal in Developing Countries
4 September 2014 at 9:32 am
International campaigning and advocacy organisation ONE is calling on the Australian Federal Government to use its Presidency of the G20 to encourage world leaders to act to end what it describes as the secret deals and money laundering devastating developing countries.
New research released by One says that at least a trillion dollars a year is siphoned out of developing countries through corrupt activity involving shady deals for natural resources, the use of phantom firms, money laundering and illegal tax evasion.
Launched ahead of November’s G20 summit in Brisbane, ONE’s report, The Trillion Dollar Scandal, estimates that as many as 3.6 million deaths could be prevented each year in the world’s poorest countries if concrete action is taken to end the secrecy that allows corruption and criminality to thrive.
“When the 20 most powerful countries on earth meet in Australia—under a G20 presidency that has highlighted economic growth as its primary objective—they must commit to adopting smart laws that will blow open the culture of secrecy that allows shady deals and money laundering to thrive, robbing poor countries of more than a trillion dollars each year,” Dr. David McNair, Transparency & Accountability Policy Director at ONE said.
According to the report, if specific policies are put in place to increase transparency and combat corruption in four key areas—natural resource deals, the use of phantom firms, tax evasion and money laundering—massive financial losses from developing countries could be significantly reduced.
“In developing countries, corruption is a killer. Up to 3.6 million lives could be saved if we end the web of secrecy that helps the criminal and corrupt. When governments are deprived of their own resources to invest in the essentials – like nurses and teachers – the human cost is devastating,” McNair said.
“The Australian Government has identified that it sees global tax evasion and profit shifting as key agenda items at the G20 Summit. This new report identifies why it is so important to take action now, which is why we are calling on Australia to think globally and use its G20 presidency to help save lives.”
The organisation says the trillion dollars that is being lost is not development aid. It is money generated by business activity that is illegally siphoned out of developing countries.
The report calls on G20 leaders to take action in four areas:
Shine a Light on Phantom Firms: Make information public about who owns companies and trusts, to prevent anonymous shell companies and similar legal structures from being used to launder money and to conceal the identity of corrupt and criminal individuals and businesses;
Publish What You Pay: Introduce robust payment disclosure laws to increase transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors to prevent natural resources in poor countries from being stolen from the people living above them;
Crack down on tax evasion: Institute automatic exchange of tax information so that developing countries have the information they need to collect taxes they are due; and
Open Data: Publish government data so that citizens can follow the money from resources to results and hold their governments to account for the delivery of essential services.
The full report is available to view and download from this address: https://one-campaign.box.com/s/gjeu2ux5bvy80mhyi4l3
Or on the ONE website at http//one.org/scandal/en/report/en