The globalizing era has produced an explosion in the volume of illegitimate commercial and financial transactions. North American and European banking and investment institutions have been flooded with laundered and ill-gotten gains. Amounting to trillions of dollars, most of these sums are generated through secretive arrangements between cooperating but distant private-sector entities. Much of this subject is taboo in business and government circles, yet this torrent of stolen, disguised and hidden resources poses a major risk to state security, corporate stability, democracy, free enterprise, the effectiveness of international aid programs and the lives and well-being of billions across the world.
The Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks (colloquially known as the Banking Law of 1934) is the law that governs the regulation of banks in Switzerland. It created the current regime of bank secrecy that Swiss banks are famous for. Under the Banking Law of 1934, it is a criminal act for a bank to reveal the name of an account holder.
A far-reaching new study suggests a staggering $21tn in assets has been lost to global tax havens. If taxed, that could have been enough to put parts of Africa back on its feet — and even solve the euro crisis.
All countries need tax revenue to fund vital public services like healthcare and education, and to redistribute wealth to tackle poverty and inequality. One of the biggest barriers to doing this is tax dodging by multinational companies and rich individuals shifting their profits into tax havens.
David Cameron at the Open Government Partnership
Prime Minister David Cameron has championed open government in the UK with a pledge to make the government "the most open and transparent in the world".
Various OECD member states run satellite secrecy jurisdictions, but Britain's network is by far the largest, accounting for between a third and a half of the global market in offshore financial services.
Barack Obama at the Open Government Partnership
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.
The Corruption Chronicles comprehensively highlights how the Obama administration, which promised to be the most transparent administration in history, became the most secretive in a generation, and it exposes the inside facts that the Obama administration has desperately fought — sometimes in court — to keep from the American people.
You ask why, if there's an important role for a regulated banking system, do you allow a non-regulated banking system to continue? It's in the interests of some of the moneyed interests to allow this to occur. It's not an accident; it could have been shut down at any time. If you said the US, the UK, the major G-7 banks will not deal with offshore bank centers that don't comply with G-7 bank regulations, these banks could not exist. They only exist because they can engage in transactions with standard banks.