Global Financial Integrity

 

New Study: Illicit Financial Flows Hit US$1.1 Trillion in 2013

US$7.8 Trillion drains from Developing World from 2004-2013

Trade Fraud Responsible for Illicit Outflows of US$6.5 Trillion

China, Russia, Mexico, India, Malaysia are Biggest Exporters of Illicit Capital over Decade

Sub-Saharan Africa Still Suffers Largest Illicit Outflows as % of GDP

WASHINGTON, DC – Illicit financial flows from developing and emerging economies surged to  US$1.1 trillion in 2013, according to a study released Wednesday by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington, DC-based research and advisory organization. Authored by GFI Chief Economist Dev Kar and GFI Junior Economist Joseph Spanjers, the report pegs cumulative illicit outflows from developing economies at US$7.8 trillion between 2004 and 2013, the last year for which data are available.

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UNCAC Coalition Calls for States Parties to Move on Beneficial Ownership Transparency at 6th COSP

When the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and official observers gather in St Petersburg next week for the 6th Conference of States Parties (COSP), the UNCAC Coalition will be advocating for enhanced language...

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Photographs from GFI Conference “Illicit Financial Flows: The Most Damaging Economic Problem Facing the Developing World”

Photos from “Illicit Financial Flows: The Most Damaging Economic Problem Facing the Developing World,” a 2-day conference in Washington, DC that was hosted by Global Financial Integrity and held at the National Press Club.

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GFI Engages, Third Quarter 2015

A Quarterly Newsletter on the Work of Global Financial Integrity from June to September 2015

Global Financial Integrity is pleased to present GFI Engages, a quarterly newsletter created to highlight events at GFI and in the world of illicit financial flows. We look forward to keeping you updated on our research, advocacy, high level engagement, and media presence. The following items represent just a fraction of what GFI has been up to since March, so make sure to check our website for frequent updates.
Global Financial Integrity Conference: Illicit Financial Flows: The Most Damaging Economic Problem Facing the Developing World

Based on the culmination of work GFI has done with the support of the Ford Foundation including a book by GFI, the conference included discussions and keynote remarks from experts on the nature of IFFs, country-level perspectives, and how and why curtailing these IFFs should be a priority for the global community.

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Event Recap: How Illicit Financial Flows are Europe’s Common Enemy

On Wednesday, representatives from the Senate, European Embassies of Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and anti-corruption NGOs, including GFI’s Tom Cardamone, gathered in the U.S. Senate’s Kennedy Caucus Room to discuss the growing dangers of illicit financial flows in Europe as major contributors to the European financial crisis.

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) spoke about his experience with Russia’s systematic aggression in the Balkan areas, and advised they take a stronger stance against Russian encroachment. Dependence on American financial and military hegemony in the region is not a sustainable security solution, he added. Sessions, who also served as Attorney General of Alabama, urged that Central and Eastern Europe push for anti-corruption and transparency laws.

I am convinced that prosperous and open societies make the world better. The values of financial integrity are exactly what we need.

All agreed that financial integrity is the linchpin of stability and security. Hon. Becky Norton Dunlop, Vice President of the Heritage Foundation, said:

Ensuring transparency is key to dealing with corruption.

This is not just a Republican issue. This is not just a Democratic issue; this is an issue for all Americans.

The crisis in Crimea was preventable, argued Natasha Srdoc, Chairman of the Adriatic Institute for Public Policy. Regional stability is greatly undermined by Western European banks promoting fraudulent transactions in the Balkans. Had Ukraine formally broken its ties to Russia and joined the EU, it could have deterred Russia from annexing Crimea. Yet joining the EU may also have exposed the corruption schemes of Ukrainian elites, including that of former President Viktor Yanukovych and former PM Pavlo Lazarenko, whose own anonymous shell company was based in Wyoming.

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Chart: Russian Bank Deposits in the U.S. Before and After Sanctions

russianrubles

According to data provided by the U.S. Treasury, approximately $13.5 billion in bank deposits held by Russians left U.S. banks in March:

What happened between February and March? On February 26th, Russian military forces began to invade Crimea, setting off the international crisis in the region. Within a few weeks, Western nations imposed sanctions on some Russian individuals.

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Russian Foreign Direct Investment and Tax Havens

It can be tough to impose economic sanctions against Russian citizens if you can’t find their money. Russia’s very complex relationship with tax havens could make this more difficult.

It is also tough to try to pinpoint exactly how much Russian money is being held in tax havens due to the fact that a lot of it isn’t reported to Russian officials/international organizations like the IMF (that’s the whole point of hiding your money in a tax haven).

The amount that is actually reported is pretty jaw-dropping. Approximately 61% of Russia’s $403 billion in outward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is held in tax havens:

Just to be clear, FDI is any amount of investment in a entity which gives the investor some  control over that entity’s operations. So, if a Russian billionaire incorporates an entity in Cyprus (often these entities in tax havens are just bogus “shell” entities), and invests $1,000,000 into the entity, that will show up in the FDI statistics.

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On International Anti-Corruption Day, GFI Reviews Major Developments from 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – As the world commemorates International Anti-Corruption Day on Monday, December 9, 2013, Global Financial Integrity (GFI)—a Washington-based, non-profit research and advocacy organization—reviewed many of the most notable achievements, developments, and shortcomings in fighting corruption and illicit financial flows for 2013.

“2013 has proven to be a landmark year in terms of policy advancements to curtail corruption and illicit financial flows,” said GFI President Raymond Baker, a longtime authority on financial crime. “Years of hard work by policymakers, researchers, and advocates culminated in real, on-the-ground policy achievements that will directly impact the amount of money leaving developing countries. We saw a few setbacks, but overall the year was very encouraging.”

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