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Narrative report oN australia
Part 1: telling the story
Australia, not traditionally regarded as a secrecy jurisdiction, is ranked at 44th position in the 2015 Financial Secrecy Index. This ranking is based on a combination of its secrecy score and a scale weighting based on its share of the global market for offshore financial services.
Australia has been assessed with 43 secrecy points out of a potential 100, which places it in the lower mid-range of the secrecy scale (see chart 1).
Australia accounts for less than 1 per cent of the global market for offshore financial services, making it a tiny player compared with other secrecy jurisdictions (see chart 2).
Australia has taken significant steps to address tax evasion and tax avoidance, especially as it relates to revenue loss from Australia. However, its record of helping other countries combat tax evasion and money laundering is somewhat mixed.
Telling the story: Australia as a secrecy jurisdiction
A number of recent cases demonstrate that Australia undoubtedly hosts significant quantities of illicit funds from outside the country. However, due to the nature of illicit financial flows, comprehensive data is not available.
In June 2015, Global Witness worked with a number of media outlets to expose evidence of how Australian lawyers have been allegedly involved in facilitating bribery and money laundering of funds out of Papua New Guinea (PNG).1
In response to the work of Global Witness Sam Koim, the head of PNG’s anti-corruption body ‘Task Force Sweep’, called on the Australian federal government to launch a major investigation and said, “Australia is becoming the choice destination for dirty politicians in the region to park their funds.”2
Also in June 2015, the media reported on allegations of senior Malaysian Government officials and businessmen involved in bribery laundering money through the purchase of Australian property.3 The purchase of Australian properties was conducted via shell companies in the British Virgin Islands and Singapore.
One reason for the failure to stop illicit funds finding a safe haven in Australia appears to be weaknesses in Australia’s anti-money laundering laws. In 2007 the Federal Government released draft legislation to extend anti-money laundering provisions to real estate agents in relation to the buying and selling of property, dealers in precious metals and stones, lawyers, accountants,
Chart 1 - How Secretive?
4-50 5-60 6-70 7-80 8-90 9-00
Chart 2 - How Big?
Australia accounts for slightly under 0.6 per cent of the global market for offshore financial services, making it a small player compared with other secrecy jurisdictions.
The ranking is based on a combination of its secrecy score and scale weighting.
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© Tax Justice Network 2015 - 23.9.2015
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notaries and company service providers. Yet this legislation was never implemented.
George Bernard Shaw