For the past few months the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has been releasing information about offshore tax havens. ICIJ’s database was leaked from two wealth management firms: Portcullis TrustNet (Singapore) and Commonwealth Trust Limited (British Virgin Islands). The ICIJ chose La Nación de Costa Rica to analyse the data which reveals how offshore companies and trusts are used for tax minimisation, tax avoidance, and possible money laundering.
Now, the ICIJ has released the database for public analysis.
The ICIJ’s database arrived with perfect timing for me: I was thinking about some PhD-related new chapters. In 2005, I wrote a Masters essay (PDF) on international governance for anti-money laundering initiatives. I was re-reading Nick Kochan’s The Washing Machine: Money, Crime & Terror In The Offshore System (London: Gerald Duckworth & Co., 2006), and eyeing off my copy of Jeffrey Robinson’s The Sink: How Banks, Lawyers and Accountants Finance Terrorism and Crime – And Why Governments Can’t Stop Them (London: Constable & Robinson, 2003).
Now, thanks to the ICIJ, I have some data on offshore tax havens to examine.