Since 2002, African countries have been negotiating with the European Union (EU) a new framework of cooperation called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). These are supposed to replace the Cotonou Agreement, which is the current basis of the relationships between African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) countries and the EU. However, instead of negotiating with the ACP countries as a group, as had been the case in all previous agreements, the EU decided that the EPAs would be negotiated with each of the three regions of the ACP group individually.
Robert Moses, 75, a legendary leader and organiser in the 1960s U.S. civil rights movement, was huddled with a dozen people discussing plans for a campaign to make quality education a constitutional right. On one side was his son Omowale, 38. Next to Omo was John Doar, 89, head of the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department in 1960-67 and prosecutor of the major civil rights cases of that era.
The global bank HSBC may be running offshore accounts for central banks. According to a U.S. Senate investigation, an HSBC subsidiary in London called HSBC Equator Bank had a sister bank in the Bahamas.
To end poverty, you have to know how it began - with globalisation. No, not the 20th century variety engendered by multinationals and their friends at the IMF, World Bank and WTO. They just codified practices that kept developing countries poor.
At a recent conference in Miami organised by Offshore Alert, a specialised media organisation focused on financial crime, IPS correspondent Lucy Komisar sat down with veteran investigator Bob Roach to discuss the hurdles facing regulators trying to crack down on tax havens, which cost the U.S. alone an estimated 100 billion dollars annually.
Jeffrey Owens, the tax "point person" of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), was stung by activist critics of the OECD standards under which countries will be put on a tax haven blacklist and targeted for sanctions.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is hitting pay dirt with a novel legal tactic designed to catch tax evaders. And it's going to use it to force international banks to give up the names of tax cheats.
This could be the moment when a fatal blow is delivered to the world's tax havens. Or it could be another largely cosmetic change that allows offshore financial centres such as Switzerland, the Cayman Islands and Liechtenstein to deflect attacks on the system by sacrificing the few tax miscreants that governments catch in their nets.
President Barack Obama said he would crack down on firms that use offshore centres to evade taxes. He could begin with a New York subsidiary of one of the world's largest private banks, which used a Cayman Islands company to shift its profits.
U.S. senators at Timothy Geithner's confirmation hearing for Treasury Secretary Wednesday may want to ask him about a failure to act that is costing the U.S. a lot more than the amount he evaded on taxes.