Time and Location

Tuesday, 4 June 2013, 19.00 – 21.00 
AK Bildungszentrum, Großer Saal
Theresianumgasse 16-18, 1040 Vienna


Brigitte Unger, Utrecht University School of Economics, WSI Wirtschafts-und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (Düsseldorf)

James Henry, International Tax Justice Network (New York)

Gubad Ibadoglu, Azerbaijan State Economic University, Economic Research Centre (Baku)

Welcome: Otto Farny, Arbeiterkammer Wien

Chair: Martina Neuwirth, VIDC-Vienna Institute

Language: Englisch, German (simultaneous interpretation)

Turning the tide: The Fight Against Tax Crimes, Money Laundering and Corruption

(c) Patrizia Gapp


Due to the global financial crisis, public households are stretched to the edge – also in Europe. Debt levels soar worldwide, the problem of over-indebtedness has reached the centers of the global financial system. At the same time, 21 to 32 trillion USD of private wealth is hidden in offshore accounts, 7 to 10 billion USD come from 139 developing countries. A lot of it goes untaxed. Tax crimes, money laundering and corruption are often intertwined. They deprive governments in developing and developed countries of urgently needed revenues. Tax evaders, kleptocrats and drug barons often use the same means and channels to hide money. They are helped by secrecy jurisdictions (amongst them Western countries) as well as a global web of “enablers” (accounting firms, lawyers, company service providers etc.

But times are changing. Tax and legal authorities begin to clamp down on tax evasion and corruption more thoroughly. The G-20 and the OECD support the automatic information exchange of tax data. The European Commission wants stronger measures against money laundering. And Austria might give up its banking secrecy (at least partially).

Is all this lip service paid to worried taxpayers (and voters)? Or is the tide really turning?


Brigitte Unger is Director of the WSI Instute for Economic and Social Research in the Hans Böckler Foundation (Germany) and chair of public sector economics at the Utrecht University School of Economics. Mrs. Unger’s publications are on corporatism, economic policy, tax competition and money laundering. She has measured money laundering for the Netherlands in 2006, has published three books with Edward Elgar on money laundering and several academic articles on it. Furthermore, she is consultant of the Dutch Ministry of Finance, the UN, the EU and EUROSTAT on money laundering issues.

James Henry is the author of the worldwide-cited Tax Justice Network study “Price of Offshore Revisited” (2012). He is an economist, lawyer and investigative journalist, and former chief economist at McKinsey & Co. Mr. Henry has written numerous articles in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Nation etc. His books include “The Blood Bankers” (2003) and “Pirate Bankers” (2006) about the global underground economy. He also worked on debt and the link between debt and the underground economy. His essay on ‘Third World’ debt relief, "The Mythology of Debt Relief”, was published in Steve Hiatt, “A Game As Old As Empire” (2007).

Gubad Ibadoglu is Associate Professor of Economy (Azerbaijan State Economic University) and Senior Analyst at the Economic Research Centre (Azerbaijan). He works and publishes extensively on energy and oil revenue management in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus as well as on public finance issues. Mr. Ibadoglu is member of the International Board of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). At the national and regional level, he is part of the National Budget Group and the Steering Committee of the Black Sea NGO Forum.