August 12, 2009
Monique Perry Danziger, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
WASHINGTON, DC – As negotiations in the United States civil case against Swiss bank UBS ostensibly concluded today, Global Financial Integrity (GFI) urges continued efforts to improve information-exchange protocols and overall transparency in international finance as key next-steps in U.S. efforts to curtail tax evasion.
“Moving forward on the issue of tax evasion, banking secrecy, and opacity in the international financial system is key,” said GFI director Raymond Baker. “Every year the United States loses as much as $100 billion to tax evasion, and the developing world is losing ten times that amount. The UBS case is just one example of how banking secrecy abets illicit financial practices and confounds attempts at good diplomacy.”
GFI urges Lawmakers to support Congressional efforts to increase transparency in both offshore and onshore financial centers in the fall and calls on civil society groups to voice their support of these efforts in the months to come.
“There will be several pieces of critical legislation introduced in the fall dealing with a range of problematic issues including tax haven abuse, lack of beneficial ownership disclosure for U.S. company formation, and money laundering. The problem of bank secrecy is complex and vast, and correspondingly legislative efforts to tackle this problem will need to be varied and entail the jurisdiction of multiple Congressional committees.”
“The UBS case is just the beginning,” said Mr. Baker. “We expect to see continued action on the problems of banking secrecy and illicit financial practices by the U.S. as well as other nations and multinational bodies around the world.”