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Economists Urge Global Action Against Tax Havens

Some 300 economists on Monday urged governments around the globe to work together to make significant moves
toward ending the era of tax havens.

In April’s publication of the Panama Papers, a leak of 11.5 million documents from a Panama law firm which detailed how the world’s rich hide their money, reopened the debate about the fairness of tax havens.

The economists said in an open letter organised by aid agency Oxfam ahead of Thursday’s international anti-corruption summit in London that “the existence of tax havens does not add to overall global wealth or well-being.

“They serve no useful economic purpose.”

They appealed to British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and other leaders to use the summit to forge new global agreements on issues such as public country by country reporting, including for tax havens.

They agreed that governments must also put their own houses in order by ensuring that all the territories for which they were responsible made publicly available information about the real ‘beneficial’ owners of companies and trusts.

“The UK, as host of this summit and as a country that has sovereignty over around a third of the world’s tax havens, is uniquely placed to take the
lead,’’ they said.

The signatories include Angus Deaton, who won the 2015 Nobel Prize for economics for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.

Another signatory, the Director of the Earth Institute at New York’s Columbia University, Jeff Sachs, said that tax havens did not just happen, “they
are the deliberate choice of major governments, especially the UK and the U.S., in partnership with major financial, accounting, and legal institutions that move the money.

“The abuses are not only shocking, but staring us directly in the face,’’ Sachs said. (dpa/NAN)

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