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Pandora Papers: Have they Spurred Global Financial Transparency Reforms?

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Have the Pandora Papers & other revelations brought about systematic financial transparency reforms, or is this issue still being ignored?

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On Friday, December 3rd at 14.30-16.00 UTC the Financial Transparency Coalition (FTC) will host a high-level panel discussion looking beyond the Pandora Papers, to find out whether these and other past revelations have brought about any systematic financial transparency reforms, or is this issue still being ignored.

The Pandora Papers investigation, led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, revealed that hundreds of public officials in 90 countries used shell company schemes to hide wealth offshore and avoid taxes with the assistance of global banks and law firms.

At least $7 trillion of private wealth is being held in secrecy jurisdictions and haven countries, equivalent to 10% of the world income, according to the United Nations. In total $2.7 trillion of wealth is held in secretive digital currencies as of November 2021. Hidden assets are a concern for corruption, financial crime, and tax abuses, and are harming good governance and democratic rights, undermining countries´ capacity to raise urgently needed funds to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and purchase vaccines, preventing a #Peoplesrecovery.

Despite the scale of this problem, many international institutions still do not support systematic financial reforms. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, for instance, do not include the establishment of public beneficial ownership registries in any of their policy advice or lending criteria as a measure of good governance, even though this is key to end tax secrecy. Meanwhile far from ending tax havens, new ones have emerged in the past few years such as the US state of South Dakota, the Nairobi and Kigali International Financial Centres, and Casablanca Financial City.

Two months after the Pandora Papers release, have these and other past revelations done anything to advance systematic financial transparency reforms? What is needed to stop global banks and law firms from enabling tax evasion? Can any reforms be expected? The following panellists will discuss these questions:

- Andrés Arauz, Ecuadorian presidential candidate and activist

- Will Fitzgibbon, Coordinator, ICIJ Africa and Middle East

- Alex Cobham, Chief Executive, Tax Justice Network

- Kaisa de Bel, Policy Analyst, Global Financial Integrity

- Chenai Mukumba, Policy Research and Advocacy Manager, Tax Justice Network Africa

- Eryn Schornick, financial transparency expert, moderator

Be sure to follow the FTC on Twitter at @fintrco, and follow the hashtag #PeoplesRecovery for more online discussions.

*The live Zoom event will include English and Spanish simultaneous translation for those who registered. The Zoom link will be provided closer to the event. For those not registered this event will be livestreamed on Facebook Live (without translation).

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