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The latest Government plans for a public register of who owns millions of UK companies were welcomed by Christian Aid on Monday (21 April) as a significant step towards ending the menace of phantom firms used by criminals.

But the charity also called on the Government to go further and ensure the UKs tax havens – the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies – follow its lead. The tax havens include the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and Jersey.

“While the details of the new register are still to be finalised, today’s announcement shows the Government is heading in the right direction,” said Joseph Stead, Christian Aid’s Senior Economic Justice Adviser.

“On key questions, such as ensuring that companies owners are identifiable, making the register open to the public and free to use, and putting strict limits on any exemptions, the Government appears to be moving towards the right answers,” he added.

Christian Aids comments come as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills unveiled its latest thinking on how the UKs new public register of company owners should operate. Prime Minister David Cameron announced the creation of such a register last October. The UKs new register will require all individuals who control more than 25% of a company to declare details of how they exercise control over the company, as well as their full name, a contact address, month and year of birth, nationality and country of residence. While exemptions will be allowed, they will only be available in exceptional circumstances and will have to be applied for.

“Christian Aid, 17,000 of our supporters, and many others have been campaigning hard for this,” added Mr Stead. “We will not stop until we the register is up and running effectively but we are pleased that the Government appears to have listened to our arguments on how the tax evasion and corruption that phantom firms facilitate is costing developing countries vital resources for tackling poverty.

“The UK now has the opportunity to set a new gold standard on transparency of company ownership, that other countries should be encouraged to follow. While we are pleased the UK is talking about encouraging the EU and G20 to follow its lead, we are concerned that there is no talk about the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

“All of them have committed to having consultations on establishing similar public registers to the UK. Yet while the Prime Minister has written to the European Council calling for the EU to follow the UK’s lead, there has been no similar encouragement to the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.

“We are calling on the Government to use all powers and influence at their disposal to spread public registers around the world, including to the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies,” said Mr Stead.

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Christian Aid welcomes move against tax havens – urges UK to go further

Apr 222014

Since Ronald Reagans supply-side tax cuts for the rich followed by other giveaways like eliminating the death tax so billionaires can pass on their fortunes tolucky heirs the United States has been on a mad dashto oligarchy, as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship note.

By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship

The evidence of income inequality just keeps mounting.According to Working for the Few, a recent briefing paper from Oxfam, In the US, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

Our now infamous one percent own more than 35 percent of the nations wealth. Meanwhile, the bottom 40 percent of the country is in debt. Just this past Tuesday, the 15th of April Tax Day the AFL-CIO reported that last year the chief executive officers of 350 top American corporations were paid 331 times more money than the average U.S. worker. Those executives made an average of $11.7 million dollars compared to the average worker who earned $35,239 dollars.

Mr. Moneybags from the Monopoly game

As that analysis circulated on Tax Day, the economic analyst Robert Reich reminded us that in addition to getting the largest percent of total national income in nearly a century, many in the one percent are paying a lower federal tax rate than a lot of people in the middle class.You may remember that an obliging Congress, of both parties, allows high rollers of finance the privilege of carried interest, a tax rate below that of their secretaries and clerks.

And at state and local levels, while the poorest fifth of Americans pay an average tax rate of over 11 percent, the richest one percent of the country pay are you ready for this? half that rate.Now, neither Nature nor Natures God drew up our tax codes; thats the work of legislators politicians and its one way they have, as Chief Justice John Roberts might put it, of expressing gratitude to their donors: Oh, Mr. Adelson, we so appreciate your generosity that we cut your estate taxes so you can give $8 billion as a tax-free payment to your heirs, even though down the road the public will have to put up $2.8 billion to compensate for the loss in tax revenue.

All of which makes truly repugnant the argument, heard so often from courtiers of the rich, that inequality doesnt matter. Of course it matters.Inequality is what has turned Washington into a protection racket for the one percent.It buys all those goodies from government: Tax breaks. Tax havens (which allow corporations and the rich to park their money in a no-tax zone).Loopholes. Favors like carried interest. And so on. As Paul Krugman writes in his New York Review of Books essay on Thomas Pikettys Capital in the Twenty-First Century, We now know both that the United States has a much more unequal distribution of income than other advanced countries and that much of this difference in outcomes can be attributed directly to government action.

Recently, researchers at Connecticuts Trinity College ploughed through the data and concluded that the U.S. Senate is responsive to the policy preferences of the rich, ignoring the poor. And now theres that big study coming out in the fall from scholars at Princeton and Northwestern universities, based on data collected between 1981 and 2002.Their conclusion:

Americas claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened. The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.Instead, policy tends to tilt towards the wishes of corporations and business and professional associations.

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Americas Mad Dash to Oligarchy

From its inception, America has welcomed the best and brightest to its shores, and we have the worlds largest economy to show for it. Similarly, foreign direct investment has been an essential driver of our economic growth. Unfortunately, America is losing its competitive advantage in attracting global investment and the well-paying jobs it provides.

Maine, which ranks ninth in the nation in the number of workers per capita employed by foreign companies, is in a global race for jobs. At a time when most lawmakers are doing all they can to encourage job creation, however, the Maine Legislature has passed a tax haven bill that will ultimately discourage foreign investment in the Pine Tree State.

Insourcing companies, foreign companies that operate in the United States, are bringing investment and jobs to our country from abroad. In Maine alone, insourcing companies employ 30,500 people more than 6 percent of the states private-sector workforce.

To ensure insourcing companies have the best opportunity to grow business and workforce in the United States, policymakers must recognize how the global economy works. The tax haven legislation may seem like it is going after abusive tax practices, but in reality, it misses the mark completely in understanding the 21st-century complexities of how global businesses operate. This could spell bad news for Maines efforts to retain and attract insourcing companies, which would have a negative impact on the states economy overall.

In fact, the Organization for International Investment recently released an economic report providing a first-ever analysis of the role insourcing companies have played in the U.S. economy over the past decade. The findings were striking. Insourcing companies, as a group, outperformed the economy-wide average in nearly every relevant economic indicator, including increasing their contribution to U.S. gross domestic product by 25.2 percent, nearly double the private sectors 14.3 percent increase. The report also showed that these companies charitable giving has grown by 44 percent over the past decade, compared to an economy-wide contraction of nearly 5 percent.

Insourcing companies raise their industries economic performance, invest heavily in research and development, buy materials locally, establish innovative workforce training programs, and increase compensation and benefits for Americans by paying them a 22 percent premium above the U.S. private-sector average. In short, when insourcing companies invest in America, families prosper and communities thrive.

At the state level, Maine ranks 45th in the nation in corporate tax rate competitiveness, according to the Tax Foundation. Instead of working to modernize the tax code, lawmakers in Augusta recently passed legislation that would blacklist certain countries by deeming them tax havens and arbitrarily penalize employers in the state who have operations in these jurisdictions. The flawed premise behind tax haven legislation is that if a global company has operations in any number of jurisdictions, it must be doing so to avoid paying taxes. This legislation completely overlooks legitimate business decisions such as reaching new customers or streamlining supply chains.

The bills premise is a false assumption that misrepresents the value global companies provide, and it conflicts with the longstanding agreements that America has negotiated with other countries to ensure global companies pay the taxes owed in an equitable manner.

Take Luxembourg as an example: America has had a tax treaty in force with Luxembourg for more than a decade. Even though Maines population is 2.5 times larger than this European country, Luxembourg has invested more than $202 billion in the United States. In fact, last year alone, its investment in the United States outpaced those from Germany, France, China, and Mexico, to name a few.

Simply put, states that do not respect the obligations of our nations tax treaties and protocols risk losing the investments that directly support 5.6 million jobs in America. States that align with these international norms position themselves to capture global investment and jobs in the future. Gov. Paul LePage should veto the tax haven legislation that will only make Maine less competitive in the global race for job creation.

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Tax haven legislation is misguided, will make Maine even less competitive

Westfield, the worlds biggest shopping centre owner, benefited from 200million of taxpayers cash to build its Stratford centre before the Games

An Olympic shopping mall that benefited from 200million of taxpayers cash has just paid 0.5% corporation tax on tens of millions of pounds of profit.

Westfield, the worlds biggest shopping centre owner which has donated more than 200,000 to the Tories, is accused of using aggressive but legal tax avoidance tactics to shift nearly 60million to offshore tax havens during the Olympic year.

Despite raking in 141million in 2012, the accounts of a complex web of firms that built, own and manage Stratford City shopping centre in East London suggest they paid 211,893 in UK corporation tax.

Westfield said it takes its tax responsibilities seriously and honours all tax requirements in the UK.

Michael Gutman, Westfields UK boss, is among the elite club of Tory donors rewarded with meeting PM David Cameron and some senior ministers for giving more than 50,000 a year to the party.

Australian multinational giant Westfield owns a string of UK malls, including two in London which are the largest in Europe, and has donated 201,270 to the Conservative Party since 2012.

The Olympic Development Agency controversially spent 200million of taxpayers cash on roads and other infrastructure work that benefited the East London shopping centre.

A report by Australian trade union United Voice has looked at the accounts for the 1.5billion Stratford City mall, which featured singer Nicole Scherzinger at its opening.

Stratford City is jointly owned by Westfield and two foreign pension funds from Canada and Holland.

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London 2012 Olympic shopping mall makes 40million profit but pays just 211,000 in tax

By Jonathan Riley

Statehouse Correspondent

BOSTON — As the state’s citizens rushed to file their taxes on Tuesday, advocates of a state budget amendment that would close offshore tax havens released a new report estimating what such loopholes cost regular taxpayers.

“Many Americans would be shocked to hear that there’s an invisible tax burden that’s been placed on them this year by some of the world’s largest, most profitable corporations,” Deirdre Cummings, legislative director of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, told a gathering at the Statehouse steps.

Cummings was joined by Nathan Proctor, state director of Massachusetts Fair Share, and Rep. Josh Cutler, the Duxbury Democrat who filed an amendment to the House budget proposal that would require companies to treat profits made in the state and funneled to tax havens such as the Cayman Islands as domestic taxable income.

The event, held to lend support to Cutler’s bill, also saw the release of a MASSPIRG report, titled “Picking Up The Tab 2014.”

The report said that in 2013, the cost to the average commonwealth taxpayer to “pick up the tab” for companies sheltering money offshore would be the equivalent of $1,886 for individual taxpayers and $6,269 for small businesses.

“Eighty-two of the 100 largest publicly traded corporations have subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. Some of the worst offenders include very profitable Wall Street banks, high tech giants, and the pharmaceutical companies,” Cummings said.

Proctor said Cutler’s amendment to close the corporate tax loophole identified by MASSPIRG in January would generate $79 million annually.

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Report: Tax havens cost Mass. residents

Coffee shop chain will move to London in wake of row over tax avoidance Anger over the corporation’s actions led to customer’s spurning Starbucks The Africa and Middle East operations will also be run from the UK

By Peter Campbell

Published: 13:16 EST, 16 April 2014 | Updated: 18:51 EST, 16 April 2014

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Starbucks will move its tax base from the Netherlands to London in an attempt to banish its immoral image.

The coffee chain is changing controversial methods it uses to push money into overseas tax havens. The surprise announcement puts pressure on Google and Amazon, which have been criticised for similar tax avoidance.

Starbucks faced a boycott in 2012 after it emerged the company had paid corporation tax only once since arriving in the UK in 1998.

Starbucks has said it will pay more tax in the UK as it announced its European HQ will move to London. The coffee shop chain was hit by a customer boycott two years ago in protest over its tax payments

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Starbucks to pay more tax in Britain following customer boycott

(Image: U.S. PIRG)The average U.S. taxpayer would have to pay an extra $1,259 in taxes per year to make up for revenue lost to offshore tax havens and corporate tax dodgers, according to a report released by U.S. PIRG to mark Tax Day on Tuesday.

That lost revenue must be made up somewhere, the group notes, and that burden falls on average tax payers through cuts to public services, higher taxes, and national debt.

According to the report, Picking up the Tab: Average Citizens and Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens, corporations and wealthy individuals evade an estimated $184 billion in state and federal income taxes per year, using “complicated accounting tricks to shift their profits to offshore tax havens.”

$110 billion of that comes from corporations such as Pfizer, Microsoft, Citigroup and General Electric.

Average taxpayers and small business owners foot the bill for offshore tax dodging,” said the report’s co-author Dan Smith. “Every dollar in taxes companies avoid by booking profits to shell companies in tax havens must be balanced by cuts to public programs, higher taxes for the rest of us, or more debt.

Likewise, the average small business would have to pay around $3,923 on Tax Day to make up for corporate tax havens.

“Offshore tax havens give large multinationals a competitive advantage over responsible small businesses which dont have subsidiaries in tax havens to reduce their tax bills,” the group writes. “Small businesses get stuck footing the bill for corporate tax dodging.”

And the practice has been continually upheld by U.S. lawmakers.

As U.S. PIRG points out, the Senate Finance Committee just recently voted for “two especially egregious offshore loopholes,” costing the U.S. around $8 billion in lost revenue over the next two years.

One such Committee vote allowed General Electric to keep its 18 subsidiaries in tax haven accounts, amounting to $110 billion kept offshore. GE had hired 48 lobbyists to persuade the lawmakers.

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$1,259: What Corporate Tax Dodgers Cost the Average Taxpayer

US taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals sheltering money in overseas tax havens, according to a report. "Tax haven abusers benefit…

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Havens leave US taxpayers $1,259 tab each – report

Happy Tax Day! Heres something to think about when rushing to meet tonights tax filing deadline: The federal and state government loses more than $180 billion in revenue every year to corporations and wealthy people who shelter their money in offshore tax havens. To put that in context, every U.S. taxpayer would have to slap an extra $1,259 on their tax bill this year in order to make up for …

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Offshore Tax Havens Cost You $1,259 a Year

Every year that multinational corporations and wealthy individuals lower their U.S. tax bills by stashing profits in off-shore tax havens, you pay more to cover their tab. The same is true for small businesses. …

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Tax Dodging Companies Cost You More Than $1,200 Each Year

U.S. taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals sheltering money in overseas tax havens, according to a report.

“Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars – but they avoid paying for these benefits,” U.S. Public Interest Research Group said in the report released today, the deadline for filing 2013 taxes.

“Instead, ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt,” it said.

In total, the U.S. loses $150 billion in federal revenue and another $34 billion in state revenue annually because of money parked in tax havens, the Boston-based consumer advocacy group concluded.

That’s almost 5 percent of total federal revenue. The U.S. is projected to raise $3.032 trillion this year, up from $2.775 trillion for fiscal year 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

U.S. PIRG released the report as it tries to increase pressure on lawmakers to change how companies pay taxes on income credited to foreign subsidiaries.

Offshore Accumulations

The largest U.S.-based companies have accumulated $1.95 trillion outside the U.S., up 11.8 percent from a year earlier, according to securities filings from 307 corporations reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Together, they added $206 billion to their stockpiles of offshore profits last year, leaving earnings in low-tax countries until Congress gives them a reason not to. Three multinational firms — Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. — added $37.5 billion, or 18.2 percent of the total increase.

Prospects have dimmed for a revision of the U.S. tax code this year that would have addressed offshore havens.

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Tax havens leave US filers with $1,259 tab each

U.S. taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals sheltering money in overseas tax havens, according to a report.

Tax haven abusers benefit from Americas markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars – but they avoid paying for these benefits, U.S. Public Interest Research Group said in the report released today, the deadline for filing 2013 taxes.

Instead, ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt, it said.

In total, the U.S. loses $150 billion in federal revenue and another $34 billion in state revenue annually because of money parked in tax havens, the Boston-based consumer advocacy group concluded.

Thats almost 5 percent of total federal revenue. The U.S. is projected to raise $3.032 trillion this year, up from $2.775 trillion for fiscal year 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

U.S. PIRG released the report as it tries to increase pressure on lawmakers to change how companies pay taxes on income credited to foreign subsidiaries.

The largest U.S.-based companies have accumulated $1.95 trillion outside the U.S., up 11.8 percent from a year earlier, according to securities filings from 307 corporations reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Together, they added $206 billion to their stockpiles of offshore profits last year, leaving earnings in low-tax countries until Congress gives them a reason not to. Three multinational firms — Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. — added $37.5 billion, or 18.2 percent of the total increase.

Prospects have dimmed for a revision of the U.S. tax code this year that would have addressed offshore havens.

President Barack Obama, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, support lowering the corporate rate and making significant changes to the taxation of foreign income.

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Tax Havens Leave U.S. Filers Thousand-Dollar Tab: Report

U.S. taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals sheltering money in overseas tax havens, according to a report.

Tax haven abusers benefit from Americas markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law all supported in one way or another by tax dollars but they avoid paying for these benefits, U.S. Public Interest Research Group said in the report released Tuesday, the deadline for filing 2013 taxes.

Instead, ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt, it said.

In total, the U.S. loses $150 billion in federal revenue and another $34 billion in state revenue annually because of money parked in tax havens, the Boston-based consumer advocacy group concluded.

Thats almost 5 percent of total federal revenue. The U.S. is projected to raise $3.032 trillion this year, up from $2.775 trillion for fiscal year 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

U.S. PIRG released the report as it tries to increase pressure on lawmakers to change how companies pay taxes on income credited to foreign subsidiaries.

The largest U.S.-based companies have accumulated $1.95 trillion outside the U.S., up 11.8 percent from a year earlier, according to securities filings from 307 corporations reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Together, they added $206 billion to their stockpiles of offshore profits last year, leaving earnings in low-tax countries until Congress gives them a reason not to. Three multinational firms Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. added $37.5 billion, or 18.2 percent of the total increase.

Prospects have dimmed for a revision of the U.S. tax code this year that would have addressed offshore havens.

President Obama, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, support lowering the corporate rate and making significant changes to the taxation of foreign income.

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Tax haven abuse costs U.S. filers billions

BERKELEY, Calif., April 14 (UPI) — More wealthy Americans are hiding their funds in tax havens overseas, giving the appearance of less wealth while maintaining their assets.

A new study conducted by Professors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman at UC Berkeley says that 40 percent of the rich are routing their investments through offshore tax havens. These havens are in the Cayman islands, the British Virgin islands, and Luxembourg, among others, and prevent the wealthy from having to pay taxes on the income.

Since these assets have gone unrecorded, it has created statistical anomalies showing that despite the fact that the rich are richer than ever, the world economy doesn’t show it. Zucman posits in the report that if this unrecorded wealth were recorded, the Eurozone would shift from a net debtor to a net creditor and the U.S. would see a significant reduction in net debt.

This report comes at a time when the inequality gap between the rich and poor is the widest it’s ever been, with many disappointed as the U.S. Congress stalls raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits in a slowly recovering economy.

[HuffPost Live]

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40 percent of the rich are hiding their money in tax havens

As much as six per cent of all world wealth is hidden in tax shelters, according to a new study ‘One per centers’ earned an average of $1.2million in 2012, the most recent year data is available for, but the top 0.01 per cent earned over $30million One per centers’ incomes have remained flat, but the super rich 0.01 per cent have seen incomes sky rocket by 1,300 per cent since the early 1990s

By Ryan Gorman

Published: 18:59 EST, 12 April 2014 | Updated: 19:00 EST, 12 April 2014

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The richest of the rich are amassing wealth at an astonishing rate and increasingly hiding it in offshore bank accounts, a new report claims.

Those at the top 0.01 per cent of the tax bracket are hiding at least six per cent of their assets offshore, and their expatriation of wealth to tax havens is flying under the radar of even the authorities, according to UC Berkley professor Gabriel Zucman.

‘Ofcial statistics substantially underestimate the net foreign asset positions of rich countries because they fail to capture most of the assets held by households in offshore tax havens,’ Zucman wrote.

Losing out: Government entities like the IRS are less able to tax wealthy citizens because they are increasingly hiding assets in tax shelters

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Super rich are even richer than thought as increasingly they hide money in overseas tax havens

If financial service providers really want to be a 'force for good' in Africa, there needs to be more transparency and less promotion of offshore tax havens, writes Toby Quantrill Ideas about what constitutes corporate responsibility are changing quickly. It is clear that being considered a good corporate citizen is now about much more than philanthropy alone. Businesses are increasingly …

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Barclays and Deloitte criticised for the way they do business in Africa

Family tax 'blow' and tax havens crackdown make headlines

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Osborne 'dig' and family tax 'blow' – papers

Chancellor wants to make it easier to impose fines and jail terms on tax avoiders exploiting offshore havens George Osborne is planning to make it easier to impose jail terms or heavy fines on British residents using offshore tax havens to cheat the exchequer out of billions in revenue. The chancellor, who is in Washington at the International Monetary Fund's spring meeting, has drafted a …

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Tax dodging: George Osborne plans to strengthen criminal law

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George Osborne announces crackdown on tax havens



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