UN civil rights expert Alfred de Zayas [official profile] on Friday called on [press release] incoming secretary-general Antonio Guterres [UN News Centre report] to host an international conference on phasing out offshore havens to force billionaires and “kleptocrats” to pay their share of taxes. De Zayas reported that as much as USD $32 trillion is held in offshore accounts, which costs nations up to $3 trillion per year in lost taxes. De Zayas stated, “[c]orruption, bribery, tax fraud and tax evasion have such grave effects on human welfare that they must be exposed, prosecuted and punished nationally and internationally,” by “[establishing] an inter-governmental tax body with a mandate to draft standards and ensure enforcement of measures against perpetrators.”
Tax evasion and other monetary corruption have become commonplace. In August the European Commission ruled [JURIST report] that Ireland may recover up to €13 billion from Apple after the company benefited from undue tax breaks. The commission ruled the tax breaks were illegal based on EU law because the tax benefit meant that Apple paid less taxes to operate in the country than other businesses, resulting in an unfair economic advantage. And in April the Commission opened a probe [JURIST report] into the international business practices of Google concerning the tech giant’s relationship with other Android developers, questioning whether Google’s practice of requiring mobile phone producers to pre-load Google applications on new devices could hinder innovation and might violate international antitrust law.
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