Africa

Havens that have become a tax on the world’s poor

Duncan Campbell
Bellaciao
September 22, 2004
London, England: Billions of pounds, enough to pay for the entire primary health and education needs of the world’s developing countries, are being siphoned off through offshore companies and tax havens, according to a new group called Tax Justice Network. The group, formed last year by tax experts and economists, will work with the UN and other international bodies to reverse the practice of hiding money from governments worldwide. “The collateral damage to the licit international system and to international development is truly enormous and the only people who benefit are those who have something bad to hide,” said Tim Peat, economic justice campaigner at War on Want. “Tax havens are the seedy backstreet bars of the financial world, where corporations and multi-millionaires huddle in shadowy corners to pursue their business out of sight of respectable citizens.” The list of political figures who have availed themselves of tax havens includes Haiti’s “Baby doc” Duvalier, Zaire’s President Mobutu, Sani Abacha, the former president of Nigeria, and Raul Salinas, the brother of former Mexican president, Carlos Salinas de Gortari. In 1999, The Economist estimated that African leaders had $20 billion in Swiss bank accounts alone, twice the amount that sub-Saharan Africa spends on servicing debts.¬†

Categories: Africa, Corruption, Odious Debts

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