Heads of state, former heads of state, heads of government, former heads of government, relatives and associates of government officials (as well as a fair share of celebrities) have all been exposed for hiding money in offshore accounts.
Here is a list of the top 10 Biggest Tax Havens in the World.
(Ranking is based on a combination of its secrecy score and scale weighting)
#10 United Arab Emirates
One of the world’s best known tax havens or secrecy jurisdictions.It has a low-tax environment and a complex array of free trade zones with multiple secrecy facilities and lax enforcement.
A large slice of the inbound money comes in the form gold.
Secrecy Score: 77%
Tax Haven Status: Tiny
An island of hospitality to banks and businesses and also one of the biggest global centers for Islamic finance. There is no corporate income tax, personal income tax or capital gains tax. Bahrain also has a wide network of tax treaties with a number of developing countries.
Secrecy Score: 74%
Tax Haven Status: Small
Between $2.81 to $3.38 trillion of tax exempt interest-bearing assets held by non-residents as of August 2013. Germany does not sufficiently exchange tax-related information with a multitude of other jurisdictions and despite recent progress with its anti-money laundering framework, major loopholes and many implementation deficits still exist
Secrecy Score: 56%
Tax Haven Status: Huge but Shifty
Many members of the population are high-net worth individuals. Beirut’s offshore financial services sector has been growing at an average of nearly 12 percent per year since 2006. Lebanon’s political and military troubles over recent decades have disrupted the offshore financial sector, but it has proved astonishingly resilient.
Secrecy Score: 79%
Tax Haven Status: Small and Secure
The most important private banking and wealth management center in the Eurozone.
It has 143 banks holding almost $800 billion in assets, over $300 billion of which are in the secretive private banking sector and is a center of lax financial regulation and is still one of the world’s most important financial centers.
Breaking professional secrecy can result in a prison sentence
Secrecy Score: 55%
Tax Haven Status: Huge
#5 The Cayman Islands
Banking assets worth $1.4 trillion in June 2014.
Hoststing over 11,000 mutual and other funds with a net asset value of $2.1 trillion.
It has 200 banks, over 140 trust companies and over 95,000 registered companies and retains many secrecy features plus laws that can put people in jail not only for exposing confidential information, but merely for asking for it.
Secrecy Score: 65%
Tax Haven Status: Aggressively Protective
A major wealth management center, with $1.4 trillion in assets under management in 2013.
In 2014 it become Asia’s largest foreign exchange trading center.
It hosts a lack of serious reforms to its corporate secrecy regime and a lack of interest in creating public registries of beneficial ownership.
Secrecy Score: 69%
Tax Haven Status: Intentionally Blind?
The U.S. has led the charge in combating international tax evasion using offshore financial accounts. However, the U.S. also provides a multitude of secrecy and tax-free facilities for non U.S. residents
It's one of the few places left where advisers are actively promoting accounts that will remain secret from overseas authorities.
Secrecy Score: 60%
Tax Haven Status: Ironic
#2 Hong Kong
Hong Kong has the second largest stock exchange in Asia after Tokyo with $2.1 trillion under management in April 2015 and over $350 billion in private banking assets.
China’s control over Hong Kong has shielded it from global transparency initiatives.
It also has not signed the multilateral agreement to initiate automatic information exchange via the CRS.
Secrecy Score: 72%
Tax Haven Status: See-No-Evil
Switzerland is the grandfather of the world’s tax havens, known to have introduced Banking Secrecy Laws as far back as 1934
However, in 2010, the US enacted the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and the Swiss government was ultimately forced to bow to US pressure
In 2013, the US government signed a tax treaty that calls for Swiss banks to provide details on their American account holders
Secrecy Score: 73%
Tax Haven Status: BOSS
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