Super-rich hoarding $32 trillion cash in secret, tax-free havens
Between $21 and $32 trillion in cash being kept hidden
The super-rich and their families are estimated to have as much as $32
trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens. This
clandestinely hidden cash represents up to $280 billion in lost income
Those who wish to avoid paying taxes on their earnings frequently convert their cash into gold and secret them away in Swiss bank accounts.
The study was conducted by the pressure group Tax Justice Network, which campaigns against tax havens, by James Henry, former chief economist at consultants McKinsey & Co.
"What's shocking is that some of the world's biggest banks are up to their eyeballs in helping their clients evade taxes and shift their wealth offshore," John Christensen, of the Tax Justice Network says.
This hidden dosh is as significant as the U.S. and Japanese GDP combined. Roughly 10 million people worldwide have offshore accounts, with 100,000 people owning half of those secreted assets.
Christensen adds that he was shocked by "the sheer scale of the figures.
"What's shocking is that some of the world's biggest banks are up to their eyeballs in helping their clients evade taxes and shift their wealth offshore," Christensen said.
"We're talking about very big, well-known brands - HSBC, Citigroup, Bank of America, UBS, Credit Suisse - some of the world's biggest banks are involved...and they do it knowing fully well that their clients, more often than not, are evading and avoiding taxes."
Many of the practices used to secret the funds away are plainly illegal, Christensen says.
Using data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and central banks, the report also highlights the impact on the balance sheets of 139 developing countries of money held in tax havens by private elites, putting wealth beyond the reach of local tax authorities.
The study estimated that since the Seventies, the richest citizens of these 139 countries had amassed $7.3 to $9.3 trillion of "unrecorded offshore wealth" by 2010.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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Keywords: Secret havens, tax-free areas, illegal cash shoring
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