A letter released by a British based activist group Oxfam has signature of 300 leading Economists from all over the world has urged the world leaders to take action against Global Tax havens. The recent Panama Papers leak has given a voice to the people calling for an end to tax havens which are the main cause of increasing inequality as they chiefly serve the interests of the rich only.
Signatories to the document include Columbia University’s Jeff Sachs, best-selling author Thomas Piketty and Nobel Prize-winner Angus Deaton.
“Tax havens do not just happen. The British Virgin Islands did not become a tax and secrecy haven through its own efforts. These havens are the deliberate choice of major governments, especially the United Kingdom and the United States, in partnership with major financial, accounting and legal institutions that move the money,” Sachs said.
The letter came ahead of an anti-corruption summit in London that kicks off Thursday with political representatives from 40 countries as well as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Later Monday, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists was expected to release the next installment of material related to the so-called Panama Papers investigation into financial secrecy.
“The abuses are not only shocking, but staring us directly in the face. We didn’t need the Panama Papers to know that global tax corruption through the havens is rampant, but we can say that this abusive global system needs to be brought to a rapid end. That is what is meant by good governance,” Sachs said.
Many of the companies and individuals whose names appeared in the Panama Papers were linked to offshore accounts in places such as the British Virgin Islands. These accounts were set up by a law firm in Panama called Mossack Fonseca.
“Millions of the world’s poorest people will continue to be the biggest victims of tax dodging until governments act together to tackle tax havens, by introducing public registers of who really owns companies and trusts as well as automatic tax information-sharing between countries,” Oxfam Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said.