ICIJ Bahamas exposé underscores urgent need for global tax body under UN

Published: 21st September 2016

Within hours of Oxfam International’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima declaring at the UNGA that the glory days for tax havens are over, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has released a damning exposé pointing the finger at the Bahamas for tax abuse. According to the leaked documents, more than 175,000 Bahamian companies, many linked to politicians, were registered there between 1990 and 2016.

From New York, Ms. Byanyima said:

“The ICIJ’s latest exposé into tax abuse in the Bahamas underscores again how prolific it is - and how accepted it is - among many of the world’s most powerful business leaders and politicians.

“This comes as President Obama said only yesterday that the world will not be stable as long as the richest 1 percent control the same wealth as the other 99 percent. Many of those in the 1 per cent, along with multinationals, use tax havens like the Bahamas to shore up their wealth by not paying their dues at devastating expense to the rest of humanity.

“It's estimated that tax dodging by multinational companies costs countries around the world up to $240 billion annually, while this abuse by corporates and individuals leads to poor countries losing $170 billion in desperately needed revenues each year.

“Tax dodging is an issue of human rights. It dashes life chances and irrevocably damages societies. This large scale tax abuse must stop, with no ‘ifs or buts’ - and that’s why Oxfam is calling for a UN body to reform the tax system as it is clearly broken.”

Notes to editors

ICIJ Bahamas report: https://www.icij.org/offshore/former-eu-official-among-politicians-named-new-leak-offshore-files-bahamas 

Winnie Byanyima speaking at a UNGA tax event earlier today: https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/778607745171877910

President Obama on making the global economy work for everyone: https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/778256659965616133

Contact information

For interviews:

At the UNGA, Vanessa Parra | vparra@oxfamamerica.org | +1 (202) 476-0093

In the UK, Dannielle Taaffe | dannielle.taaffe@oxfaminternational.org | +44 7917 11 00 66

For updates, please follow @Oxfam or our UNGA Delegation Twitter List:https://twitter.com/Oxfam/lists/oxfam-at-unga-2016

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