16 June 2013

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has gone live with an interactive database showing how many of the World’s elites have exploited tax avoidance regimes.  Users can search more than 100,000 secret companies, trusts and funds created in offshore tax havens.

The data is sourced from 2.5 million wiki leaks files that ICIJ member journalists have been investigating. Earlier releases of the information this year have had political impact in a number of countries and created a focus on tax avoidance which has previously appeared too difficult for individual countries to tackle. Tax avoidance is now on the political agenda and will be central to the G8 summit taking place in Northern Ireland.

The British Prime Minster apparently wants the G8 to “knock down the walls of company secrecy” to reveal who really owns and controls firms.   French President whose campaign manager has been “outed” for use of Cayman Islands bank accounts is calling for the “eradication” of tax havens.

The Offshore Leaks app “…allows users to explore the relationships between clients, offshore entities and the lawyers, accountants, banks and other intermediaries who help keep these arrangements secret.”

The app identifies more than 200 offshore entities associated with Cook Islands tax avoidance institutions, and 189 New Zealand addresses of people or companies associated with tax havens.