The Tax Justice Network’s Estimating the Price of Offshore Revisted report says that over $21 trillion has been squirrelled away in offshore tax-havens by 90,000 super-rich tax-cheats (0.001% of the world’s population). The crime was abetted by a network of “enablers” from banks like UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.
Much of the money has been looted from the world’s poorest countries, whose populations live in conditions of crushing poverty exacerbated by even more crushing international debt. The report estimates that if those countries’ oligarchs and crime bosses were to pay their fair share of taxes that these debts could be settled. For example, Nigeria has lost £196b to tax havens — while the country’s national debt was about $37b as of 2011.
Heather Stewart has more in The Observer:
James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer.
He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Their wealth is, as Henry puts it, “protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy”. According to Henry’s research, the top 10 private banks, which include UBS and Credit Suisse in Switzerland, as well as the US investment bank Goldman Sachs, managed more than £4tn in 2010, a sharp rise from £1.5tn five years earlier.
Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing took $3,000,000 out of his bonus and shared it among 10,000 of the company’s junior employees. From CNN:
Yang had earned $5.2 million in bonuses for the fiscal year ending in March. His total earnings, including salary, incentives and other benefits, amounted to $14 million, according to the company’s annual report.
I’m not sure what a “junior” employee is — if it’s a Chinese factory assembly worker, then a $300 bonus would probably contribute a significant improvement in material conditions.
[Video Link] I met Brett Hamilton when I blindly hired him through Taskrabbit to help me move some monstrously heavy armoires. While we were giving ourselves hernias I learned that he is the bassist for Falling Still, and I’ve been enjoying their music ever since. Here’s their latest video, for a song called “If U Stay.” IIRC, the white van featured in the video is the same one Brett brought over to move the furniture!
Authorities said Sunday they believe Katherine Jackson, the mother of Michael Jackson and the guardian of his three minor children, is safe in Arizona with family members after she was reported missing.
Alexandre de Araújo, a Portuguese Disney megafan, produced this spectacularly detailed model of the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland Paris. He gives us a loving video tour of his five-year project, of which he is justly proud.