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Sun 22 Jul 2012 07:52 PM

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World's super-rich 'hid $21trn in secret tax havens'

New study says figure is equivalent to the size of the US, Japan economies combined

World's super-rich 'hid $21trn in secret tax havens'
World's super-rich 'hid $21trn in secret tax havens'

The world's super-rich had at least $21trn hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a new study.

The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined, said The Price of Offshore Revisited published on Sunday by the Tax Justice Network.

The report was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey.

Henry said the $21trn was actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32trn.

Henry said he used data from the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments.

The report said the number of the global super-rich who have amassed a $21trn offshore fortune is fewer than 10 million people.

Of these, less than 100,000 people worldwide own $9.8trn of wealth held offshore, it added.

Henry said: "The lost tax revenues implied by our estimates is huge. It is large enough to make a significant difference to the finances of many countries.

"From another angle, this study is really good news. The world has just located a huge pile of financial wealth that might be called upon to contribute to the solution of our most pressing global problems."

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A.K 7 years ago

Come on when you make $1Billion you don't want to pay $300m (as an example) in taxes just because a piece of paper says you must. IMO it's perfectly understandable for the super-rich to protect their money against high taxes. Most billionaires do a lot of philanthropy and charity anyway. At the end of the day, it's their money, you would avoid taxes if you had the opportunity especially when you're talking 9 figure checks!

Jake 7 years ago

How about you see it from the other side, if you are going to pay 30% of your hard earned money, why shouldn't they? Oh, perhaps because the wealth will trickle down?

A.K 7 years ago

Point taken Jake. However do you think it is fair for most people to pay like $15,000 in taxes while you pay hundreds of millions?

gordon 7 years ago

Governments steal from the poor, they would also try to steal from the rich if they had the chance. Send 100 mio to an African state and see how much ends up in the pockets of politicians, give a government 10 billion in revenues and all of a sudden up goes the politican salaries and pensions, they pile on waste, whenever a government finds a pot of cash lying around they steal it.

The rich are lucky enough to try and avoid this theft, the poor do not..what happened in Greece was mainly caused by the Government squandering money, not the tax avoidance

Adnan 7 years ago

@gordon, you are absolutely right. Most governments -if not all- are a bunch of money-thirsty politicians. If all tax revenues were being monitored and appropriately used all countries would experience significant improvements regarding living-standards and poverty could be defeated.

So I too believe that tax-evasion by the rich is understandable because by doing that they stop funding the politicians rather than harm the people!

Intrigued 7 years ago

so in which countries is the money being held then?
How come it cant be reached and taxed it it is know about?

Either pay the tax or give up your passport and take the nationality of the country protecting your assets.

Saverin of Facebook gave up his US one. He is Brazilian living in Singapore.

Money clearly rules his life but at least he was honest about it.

Rothschild and Co and... 7 years ago

You've all missed the point. It's not about taxes. It's about who these people are and how they amassed that money. There isn't enough space here (or in a large book) to try to explain the enormity of the comprehensive con-trick that is world banking. Very few people can get their heads around it as everything you're told from school, traditional economics, and the babble of mass media leads you to believe the myth of paper currencies, and accept the way that, through the contrivance of this thing we call "the banking system" you are born in debt (to the super rich) and stay that way. Most people reading this will laugh or shrug. The smart ones will start researching the truth. It's there - just few people bother to read it let the penny drop (excuse the pun).