UN ex­pert urges next UN chief to crack down on Malta… and other tax havens

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

A United Na­tions hu­man rights ex­pert has urged the next UN sec­re­tary-gen­eral to make the elim­i­na­tion of tax havens a pri­or­ity to en­sure that cor­po­ra­tions, bil­lion­aires and ‘klep­to­crats’ pay their fair share of taxes.

Speak­ing on Fri­day, Amer­i­can law pro­fes­sor Al­fred de Zayas also urged An­to­nio Guter­res, who will suc­ceed Ban Ki-moon as UN chief on 1 Jan­uary, to call a world con­fer­ence on phas­ing out the off­shore havens.

He said the United Na­tions “must no longer tol­er­ate the scan­dal of se­crecy ju­ris­dic­tions that fa­cil­i­tate tax eva­sion, cor­rup­tion and money-laun­der­ing”.

Af­ter pre­sent­ing his new re­port to the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly, De Zayas told a news con­fer­ence it is es­ti­mated that as much as $32 tril­lion is held off­shore in fi­nan­cial se­crecy ju­ris­dic­tions, avoid­ing fair tax­a­tion.

He said gov­ern­ments lose $3 tril­lion ev­ery year in tax eva­sion and tax avoid­ance schemes “and most per­pe­tra­tors have en­joyed im­mu­nity”.

De Zayas, who is the UN ex­pert on the pro­mo­tion of a demo­cratic and eq­ui­table in­ter­na­tional or­der, said the key is­sue is trans­parency. “Once you have trans­parency, tax havens are use­less, but the prob­lem is the se­crecy ju­ris­dic­tions,” he said.

His re­port cited The Tax Jus­tice Net­work Fi­nan­cial Se­crecy In­dex, which ranks ju­ris­dic­tions ac­cord­ing to their se­crecy and the scale of their off­shore fi­nan­cial ac­tiv­i­ties.

The top three ju­ris­dic­tions listed in 2015 were Switzer­land, Hong Kong and the United States. Malta is num­ber 27 on the list, but it was still sin­gled out as a high-pro­file tax haven.

Other ‘high-pro­file ju­ris­dic­tions’ listed in­clude the United King­dom and its ter­ri­to­ries and de­pen­den­cies, Bel­gium, Cyprus, Liberia, Lux­em­bourg, The Nether­lands, Panama and Sin­ga­pore. De Zayas urged the Gen­eral Assem­bly to draft a con­ven­tion to out­law tax havens world­wide. “The United Na­tions must take con­certed ac­tion against

Al­fred de Zayas, UN in­de­pen­dent ex­pert on in­ter­na­tional or­der, held a news con­fer­ence on Fri­day call­ing for the abo­li­tion of tax havens at the UN head­quar­ters

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