Switzerland tops list of tax havens

SwitzerlandSwitzerland has topped an index of the world's most secretive tax jurisdictions, followed by the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg.

The index was compiled by the UK charity Christian Aid and a research group, the Tax Justice Network, and aims to expose the harmful effects of bank secrecy, such as its links to money laundering and illegal tax evasion.

Christian Aid says that despite the G20 governments committing two years ago to eradicate tax havens, secretive jurisdictions have increased their share of business.

Domiciles such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands say they offer valuable services to the fund management industry. But Alex Cobham, chief policy adviser at Christian Aid, said their discretion comes at a high price.

“Tax haven secrecy is hugely damaging and facilitates crimes such as money laundering, corruption and tax evasion,” he said. “It also has a grave impact on the economies of developing countries as it enables some unscrupulous companies trading internationally to cheat the exchequers of such countries by hiding their tax liabilities.”

©2011 funds europe