By Mary Carroll, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In a study The Price of Offshore Revisited, commissioned by the Tax Justice Network (TJN), it was estimated that Brazil’s richest have approximately US$520 billion worth deposited in tax havens. Brazil comes in fourth place only after China (US$1.18 trillion), Russia (US$798 billion) and South Korea (US$779 billion).
By the end of 2010, the TJN research showed that millionaires from 139 countries around the world have at least US$21 trillion stored in offshore accounts. The figure is equivalent to the size of the U.S. and Japanese economies combined.
James Henry, a TJN Senior Adviser and a former chief economist at McKinsey, explained that “the study focused on a huge ‘black hole’ of the world economy that has never been measured, the offshore private wealth, a vast amount of earnings that are not taxed.”
The study draws attention to tax havens at a time when many countries are raising taxes and austerity measures are being put place to deal with debt, particularly in Europe, where many have taken to the streets in protest against these measures.
Mr. Henry said that the super-rich move money around the globe through an “industrious bevy of professional enablers in private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries. […] The lost tax revenues implied by our estimates are huge. It is large enough to make a significant difference to the finances of many countries.”
“From another angle, this study is really good news. The world has just located a huge pile of financial wealth that might be called upon to contribute to the solution of our most pressing global problems,” he said.
The research was based on data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (IBRD), the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and national governments.
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