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The Tax Justice Network has cautiously welcomed the commitments made by the G20 to take a tougher line on tax havens: ‘Great strides have been taken on tax havens in the last couple of days,’ although the OECD list is ‘deeply flawed’. John Christensen, the director of the international secretariat of the TJN, wrote a piece about tax havens in the LRB in 2005.

Meanwhile, Jason Sharman, a political scientist at Griffith University in Queensland and the author of Havens in a Storm: The Struggle for Global Tax Regulation, has found that the countries in which it’s easiest to set up anonymous bank accounts for shell companies are not the Cayman Islands, Switzerland or Liechtenstein, but the United States and Great Britain. Sharman’s research was reported gleefully by the Swiss newspaper Le Temps, as well as by the Economist, which acknowledged the part played by its own classified ads (‘Offshore Banking: New Accounts in 8 Minutes’ etc). The article’s headline? ‘Haven hypocrisy’.

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