Vanuatu Tax Evasion Means Government Must Get Tough On Corruption

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9th May 2008, 05:35pm - Views: 479





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Vanuatu Tax Evasion Means Government Must Get Tough on Corruption


MELBOURNE, May 9/Medianet International-AsiaNet/ --


In the wake of Robert Agius’ alleged tax evasion scheme in Vanuatu, the Uniting Church, Synod of

Victoria and Tasmania has called on the Australian and Vanuatu Governments to work together to

ensure tax havens are shut down and those who use them are exposed and brought to justice.  


Robert Agius’ tax evasion scheme helped wealthy Australians allegedly avoid paying up to $100

million in tax. Dr Mark Zirnsak, Director of the Synod’s Justice and International Mission Unit and

author of the "From Corruption to Good Governance" report released in Parliament in March 2008

said "banking secrecy laws and tax havens are a global problem for which we need a global

solution. They assist in facilitating corruption, tax evasion and money laundering for organised

crime and terrorism."


A large and powerful country like Australia should be leading the way in shutting down and limiting

the impact of tax havens.


"In combating banking secrecy laws globally, the Australian government will be taking a vital step in

ending global poverty" said Dr Zirnsak.


The Tax Justice Network, of which the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania

is a member, has estimated that up to US$11,500 billion has been hidden in tax havens. This has

resulted in an annual loss in legitimate tax revenues of over US$250 billion. 


"We call on the government of Vanuatu to accept the recommendation of its Financial Services

Commission to reform its laws and end its status as a tax haven", said Dr Zirnsak. "Vanuatu’s

development needs should not be met through profits from a financial services structure that is

open to facilitating corruption and tax evasion" said Dr Zirnsak.


One of the key recommendations of the "From Corruption to Good Governance" report was a call

for a global effort to end banking secrecy and tax havens as a fundamental aspect of reducing

extreme poverty.


For all media queries or to arrange an interview with Director of the Justice and International

Mission Unit at the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Dr Mark Zirnsak, please contact: 


Ruth Snelleman

Media Liaison, Uniting Church in Australia

Synod of Victoria and Tasmania 

+61 418 330 483 


SOURCE: Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania










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