2013 Financial Secrecy Index: European Tax Havens blacklisted

7 November 2013 – The Tax Justice Network (TNJ), along with the Tax and judiciary haven platform (la Plateforme des paradis fiscaux et judiciaries) is publishing today its 2013 financial secrecy ranking. OECD countries, especially European countries, far from being winners in the struggle against tax havens, are directly concerned. The European Union which is to publish a new ranking of tax havens should first clean up its own backyard.

TOP 5

1. Suisse
2. Luxembourg
3. Hong Kong
4. Caïman
5. Singapour

United Kingdom, 21st + crown dependencies and British overseas territories= FIRST-PLACE RANKING

Switzerland remains at the top of the ranking. It first attracts European capitals but also developing countries capitals and does not show any intention to end opacity for Southern countries. [1]. It is closely followed by Luxembourg, the European Union founding country. United Kingdom, head of the 2013 G8 which had transparency at the top of its agenda, is undoubtedly the financial opacity winner. Its 21st place ranking actually hides an inconvenient truth: if you take into account all the surrounding territories controlled by London, the United Kingdom ranks first. Thus, far from being a problem limited to remote and exotic islands, financial secrecy is carrying on growing among major financial institutions.

Despite their well-intentioned statements, France and the European Union will not be credible in the struggle against illicit capital flows as long as they protect European tax havens. There is an urgent need to impose reforms to them as well as to the other top-ranked partner countries. The European Union which is about to publish new criteria in order to draw up a tax haven list should stop making exceptions for European opaque territories, as well as France with its own list.

The Tax and judiciary haven platform points out that recent tax haven concessions regarding transparency should be concerning all States and not only be applied to the most powerful, as it is the case in the ongoing negotiations toward automatic exchange of information. To do so, publishing information about legal opaque entities ownership such as trust or accounts country by country is crucial to achieve common progress for all states including developing countries.

As a reminder, about a third of the 32,000 billion dollars collected abroad in 2010 by the Great Fortunes are said to proceed from developing countries. The tax revenues lost every year by these same countries because of multinational company tax evasion account for more than the international aid declared by rich countries.

France which ranks for the first time in the index, ranks 43 out of 82 with a secrecy score of 41% and a global scale weight of 2.1%.

Logo Plateforme PFJProgress has been achieved in France in the struggle against financial opacity over the last few years. As an example, a bank law requires financial institutions to report on their activities country by country. But there is still a lot be done, the implementation of a public register of trust needs to be supervised and transparency of company owners and an update of these information should be improved. (For more details, see the box in Annex).

Press contacts:

CCFD-Terre Solidaire | Karine Appy | + 33 1 44 82 80 67 – + 33 6 66 12 33 02

Oxfam | Magali Rubino | + 33 1 56 98 24 45 – + 33 6 30 46 66 04

Sherpa | Jean Merckaert | + 33 6 81 84 30 64

Download a PDF version of the press release


[1] Statement of N.Pictet, President of the Swiss Private Bankers Association. http://www.alliancesud.ch/en/policy/tax_justice/switzerland-and-tax-evasion-from-the-south