Dirty money costs developing world $6 trillion, led by China: report

Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:00pm EST
 

By Stella Dawson

WASHINGTON, Dec 17 (TrustLaw) - Crime, corruption and tax evasion have cost the developing world nearly $6 trillion over the past decade, and illicit funds keep growing, led by China, a financial watchdog group said in a new report.

China accounted for almost half of the $858.8 billion in dirty money that flowed into tax havens and Western banks in 2010, more than eight times the amounts for runner-ups Malaysia and Mexico. Total illicit outflows increased by 11 percent from the prior year, Global Financial Integrity, a Washington-based group that campaigns for financial accountability, said in its latest report released on Monday.

"Astronomical sums of dirty money continue to flow out of the developing world and into offshore tax havens and developed country banks," said Raymond Baker, director of GFI.

"Developing countries are hemorrhaging more and more money at a time when rich and poor nations alike are struggling to spur economic growth. This report should be a wake-up call to world leaders that more must be done to address these harmful outflows," he said.

All the countries in the top 10, which this year saw India, Nigeria, the Philippines and Nigeria join the ranks, face significant problems with corruption, and in most there are vast gaps between rich and poor citizens as well as internal security problems.

Leaders of the Group of 20 major economies increasingly are focusing on ways to crack down on money laundering, bank secrecy and tax loopholes to prevent funds stolen from public coffers or earned through criminal activity from depleting the budgets of developing countries.

The sums are so huge that for every dollar in foreign direct aid, $10 leaves developing countries.

China lost $420.4 billion in 2010 and over the decade lost a total of $2.74 trillion. And its losses are steadily rising. In an October report, GFI said another $602 billion in illicit flows left China in 2011 for a total of $3.79 trillion between 2000-11.   Continued...