SwissLeaks Scandal one year on: political response to tax dodging is sluggish, says Oxfam

The political response to tax dodging in the 12 months since the SwissLeaks scandal hit the headlines has been slow and restrained, said Oxfam today.  SwissLeaks exposed how global banking giant HSBC's Swiss branch helped wealthy individuals hide $100 billion in secret bank accounts out of the reach of tax authorities.

Claire Godfrey, Policy Lead for Oxfam’s ‘Even it Up’ Campaign, said:

“A year has passed since the Swiss Leaks scandal but still much more needs to be done to ensure wealthy individuals and big business pay they fair share of taxes.

“Governments across the globe are missing out on billions of dollars because of tax dodging, and it is the poorest countries that are hit hardest. The SwissLeaks scandal revealed that Latin-American residents amassed almost $52.6 billion in Swiss HSBC accounts between 2006 and 2007 – equivalent to around a quarter of total public spending on healthcare in the region. 

“Greater transparency is needed to avoid new scandals like SwissLeaks. New measures agreed by the G20 and a number of rich governments are a step forward but must deliver more for poor countries. Governments must also adopt public registers on beneficial ownership so tax authorities can find out who is hiding their money in tax havens abroad. Action is also needed to stop countries like Switzerland operating as tax havens."

Notes to editors: 

More information on SwissLeaks from the ICIJ.

Contact information: 

Anna Ratcliff: +44 (0) 7796993288, anna.ratcliff@oxfaminternational.org

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.

Read: Breaking the cycle: How Europe can stop industrial tax dodging

Act now: End the Era of Tax Havens