WASHINGTON: A massive database of private offshore banking entities that could be used for tax evasion was posted online on Friday for public use by the muckraking group that first reported the files. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) said anyone can now search the records of some 100,000 companies, trusts and funds located in leading tax havens to see who could be making use of them to skirt home-country taxes. “Secrecy creates an environment where fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other forms of corruption thrive. The Offshore Leaks Database helps remove this secrecy,” said ICIJ director Gerard Ryle. “Opening up the records serves the public interest by bringing accountability to an industry that has long operated in the shadows.” The ICIJ, which first revealed that it had the huge cache of computerised files last year, has already prompted investigations into tax dodging in a number of countries, including Greece, India, the Philippines and South Korea.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2013.
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