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(English) International Financial Centres: Status of the Debate, Challenges, and Ways Forward

Paper of the Commonwealth Secretariat

Marlborough House 

London SW1Y 5HX 

September 2009 

Executive Summary

The global economic crisis has intensified the debate about the role of International Finance Centres (IFCs). Serious concerns have been expressed that IFCs deprive developed states of tax revenue because of a lack of transparency, and facilitate capital flight and the laundering of the proceeds of corruption from developing states. In response, it has been countered that significantly increased IFC transparency over the last decade has failed to reveal substantial illicit funds, and that onshore centres are at least as likely as offshore to receive flight capital and corruption funds from developing countries. Hosting an IFC can potentially provide benefits for small, isolated developing countries in terms of economic diversification, government revenue, foreign currency earnings and highly-skilled employment in an environmentally sustainable manner.

CFMM_2009_Sharman 

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*Paper prepared by Jason Sharman, Griffith University, Australia. The views expressed do not necessarily represent the position of the Commonwealth Secretariat or member Governments of the Commonwealth

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