"There are lies, damned lies and statistics", or so the saying goes.
Yet few can swat away the 'broad brush strokes' uncovered by tax haven expert James Henry this week.
His report, 'The Price of Offshore Revisited' for the Tax Justice Network, showed that the world's Premier League of wealthy people are exploiting legal loopholes to hide between £13Trillion and £20Trillion in tax havens.
Read those last few words again. We are not talking millions, or even billions, but trillions of pounds of corruption that is keeping the poorest in extreme poverty.
These are astronomical - almost incomprehensible figures – which boggle the mind. The £13Trillion represents an amount more than the combined American and Japanese GDPs and the suspicion that millions are being kept in the misery of poverty by a greedy minority has been demonstrated by this finding.
As a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, Henry himself has all the credentials and authority to present the case to us. The report will provide effective evidence to put before decision makers in the battle against corruption.
For instance, Henry found that trillions has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks. The report includes damning evidence that the UK and the USA are implicated. The evidence of extreme, crippling poverty is all around us. What is becoming increasingly clear is the systemic relationship between tax havens and the rape of the poor. The toxic link between unscrupulous illicit flows and the poorest in Africa and Asia compels everyone in general and Christians in particular to take positive action.
Next year EXPOSED2013 gives us all an opportunity to do precisely that. The campaign aims to challenge governments, business and the church to respond to the urgency which Henry's report has thrown up to the world's eye.
EXPOSED2013 will be launching a world petition to G20 nations, calling for a full and automatic exchange of tax information, and demanding that these world leaders keep their promise to tackle banking secrecy and tax avoidance.
This report, which shines further light into the dark corners of tax fraud, provides our politicians and policy makers with fuel for urgent action. If they fail to deal with the corruption highlighted in Henry's report, they could go down in history as the political generation who turned a blind eye to the super-rich and failed the poor.
Joel Edwards (Twitter @nigpat @micah_2015) is the Director for Micah Challenge International www.micahchallenge.org and a regular broadcaster with the BBC. He is also a former commissioner with the Equality and Human Rights Commission in the UK.
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