The trillion dollar scandal

September 3, 2014

GFI [Global Financial Integrity] Welcomes ONE Campaign’s Report on the “Trillion-Dollar Scandal” of Illicit Financial Flows

Report Highlights the Human Cost to Developing Countries of Corruption and the Financial Structures Facilitating It

World Leaders Must Act to Implement Effective Transparency Measures at This Year’s G20 Summit and Beyond WASHINGTON, DC –

The ONE Campaign, an international advocacy and campaigning organization, today released a report, entitled “The Trillion-Dollar Scandal,” [see on this website under Publications/Others] highlighting the cost of corruption and other forms of illicit financial flows to developing countries and enumerating several crucial steps world leaders can take to curb these flows. Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington-DC based research and advocacy organization, applauded the report as a welcome and timely addition to this important discussion in international development. The report uses data from GFI research, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the International Monetary Fund to conclude that developing countries lose at least one trillion dollars—and potentially much more¬—every year to illicit activity, and translates this figure to the amount of development activity, such as nutrition aid, medical care, or education, that the population of these countries lose as a result. “This report describes one of the fundamental issues facing the developing world today, and should be on the desk of every policy-maker in this field,” stated Heather Lowe, GFI’s legal counsel and director of government affairs. “We are at a critical juncture in which high-level commitments to tackling this problem must now be translated into concrete actions.” The report makes policy proposals in five main areas—all designed to bring greater transparency to the global financial system: requiring companies to publicly disclose their beneficial owners, publishing company payments to governments for natural resource extraction projects, automatically exchanging financial information between countries to expose tax evaders, requiring transnational corporations to publicly report financial information on a country-by-country basis, and ensuring that government data is published in open, easily accessible formats to empower citizens and civil society to hold their leaders accountable. GFI has advocated for several of these policies since our founding in 2006 and have seen particular progress in the past two years.

“There are already very high expectations for the Group of 20 leaders meeting in Australia this fall,” continued Ms. Lowe. “Following the strong movement at past G20 meetings on automatic exchange, the OECD through the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project, and last year’s G8 on beneficial ownership, we hope to see the G20 come out with landmark commitments on all of these issues and carry this progress forward into the future. We’re proud to stand alongside the ONE Campaign in calling on these world leaders to address this very serious problem.”

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