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  1. Wealth
November 2, 2009

Delaware most opaque tax haven, Switzerland in third

By Spear's

A new league table identifying the world’s most secretive tax havens has been published, putting Delaware, US, ahead of Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the City of London. Spear’s ranked Delaware number one in its review of tax havens in June last year.

A new league table identifying the world’s most secretive tax havens has been published, putting Delaware, US, ahead of Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and the City of London. Spear’s ranked Delaware number one in its review of tax havens in June last year.

The low tax jurisdictions were given an opacity score by the Tax Justice Network, an organisation promoting transparency in international finance, which was combined with their importance as a host of cross-border financial activity. Switzerland received the highest opacity score of 100, along with Malaysia, Barbados and other small Caribbean nations, but its global weighting was less than a third that of Delaware (opacity: 92), moving it into third.

John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network’s International Secretariat, Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network’s International Secretariat, ‘Secrecy is a core feature of the global financial system. Jurisdictions compete each other to provide it in order to attract financial flows.  
 
‘But this comes at a price. Financial secrecy provides cover for all manner of crimes and abusive practices: money laundering, tax evasion and avoidance, insider trading, terrorist financing, embezzlement, Ponzi schemes, illicit financial flows, fraud and much more.
 
‘The Financial Secrecy Index shows just how entrenched the problem of financial secrecy is. The index is an important tool that highlights the desperate need for new rules in international finance that would make the disclosure of information between different tax jurisdictions automatic.’

The Financial Secrecy Index’s release coincides with the release of the final version of the Foot Report into the United Kingdom’s offshore low tax jurisdictions, which concluded that they may need to raise VAT and corporation tax to provide a sustainable economic base.

Download the Financial Secrecy Index here

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