Economists urge G20 to create registry to track down oligarchs
London, United Kingdom ●
Tue 19 April 2022
On Tuesday, leading economists urged G20 leaders to establish a global asset registry to track tax evaders who may pressure Russia over invading Ukraine by exposing the oligarchs’ hidden wealth.
Successful economists Joseph Stiglitz of the United States and Thomas Piketty of France, among others, made the call in an open letter published in the Guardian newspaper ahead of Wednesday’s G20 finance meeting.
Building on advances in financial information sharing in recent years, “it’s time for a global asset registry to target hidden wealth,” the letter says.
It was signed by members of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Business Taxation, a think tank.
Western powers have rolled out a series of tough sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies since he launched his invasion of Ukraine in February.
Among those targeted is the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, Roman Abramovich.
Russian oligarchs are estimated to hold “at least $1 trillion in wealth overseas, often hidden in offshore companies whose true ownership is difficult to determine,” the letter said.
“On this wall of opacity, the efforts of countries that want to sanction them are now coming up against,” he added.
As populations suffer from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has aggravated this already worrying context”, with rising prices and insecurity, he said. he adds.
“We now have a unique opportunity to make progress in building a global asset registry” to cut through the shell company network and connect all kinds of assets to their true owners.