Eurodad reaction to #FinCEN Files

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On Sunday 20 September 2020, an international network of over 400 journalists coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the FinCEN Files – exposing the global movement of illicit financial flows through the international banking system.

In response to the FinCEN Files, Tove Maria Ryding, Tax Justice Coordinator at the European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad) said:

"The FinCEN files give us a stark reminder of the fact that the job of cleaning up the global financial system cannot just be left to the banks. Our governments need to step up and create the safeguards, transparency, control and global cooperation needed to stop the international flow of illicit money.

"In light of the coronavirus crisis, this problem has never been more urgent. During the last financial crisis, governments put great effort into saving the banks, but often neglected the wellbeing of their citizens, who were faced with cuts in public funding for hospitals and schools while international illicit financial flows continued to drain the public coffers. This time has to be different.

"The existing international standards have both failed to solve the problems, and at the same time created difficulties for small countries with low levels of resources, who have sometimes struggled to comply with cumbersome and ineffective rules. Meanwhile, the United States has kept dragging its feet when it comes to cooperating and sharing information with other countries. As we can see in the FinCEN files, there has also been a dangerous reluctance when it comes to cracking down on the global banks that move illicit money around. A key problem is that the largest and richest countries, which are also often the home countries of the largest banks, have dominated international standard setting. We urgently need a global process where all countries participate on an equal footing to review and renew the international standards to stop illicit financial flows.

"It is still far too easy for fraudsters, criminals and tax evaders to move money through the international system without revealing their identity. Also within the EU, there is still a lot of homework to be done, both in terms of strengthening regulation and implementing the rules that have already been agreed. As step number one, governments need to ban anonymous shell companies and secret trusts by creating public registers showing who really owns what.

"We are deeply thankful to the hundreds of journalists and whistleblowers around the world who continue to take on the dangerous job of exposing international fraud and tax dodging by some of the world’s most powerful players – both individuals and large multinational corporations. But it’s high time for governments to join the fight against illicit financial flows, including by introducing the transparency, global cooperation and the regulation we need to put an end to this problem."

ENDS


Media contact: Julia Ravenscroft: jravenscroft@eurodad.org/ +32 486356814.