I am reading a book called “Treasure Islands” by Nicholas Shaxson. It’s about tax havens (or what he prefers to call “secrecy jurisdictions”) and I am really enjoying it – it’s terrifically well-written, and the subject is fascinating. I’m not sure whether I agree with it all (still only halfway through) but one comment he made has really been playing on my mind.
He talks about the Corruption Perceptions Index published each October by Transparency International, and says that the US, the UK and Switzerland all rank highly, i.e. are perceived to be clean-ish of corruption. “In fact,” he continues, “about half of the top twenty in the index are major secrecy jurisdictions, while the nations of Africa – the victims of the gargantuan illicit flows – are ranked ‘dirtiest’.” A newer index – the Financial Secrecy Index – conversely has “some of the countries traditionally seen as cleanest being ranked as among the world’s least transparent”. So should we turn the CPI upside-down?
To read a couple of my random thoughts on the UK new-ish Bribery Act, take a look here.