"We need a more just and transparent financial system"

The former Greek Prime Minister and current leader of the Socialist International, George Papndreou made clear that status quo of financial secrecy in the world is unacceptable, and that radical change is needed during the first day of the _Financial secrecy, society and vested interests_ conference at the Norwegian School of Economics in Bergen Tuessday.

The main hall of NHH was completely full when former Prime Minister George Papandreou spoke to delegates and students at NHH. Papandreou used Norway as an example of a country with good transparency and cited a study that if Greece had the same level of transparency as Norway, the country could have had 8 percent economic growth now. He also compared Norway and Nigeria, and concluded that the main difference between the two oil nations in terms of economy is that in Norway the revenue has gone to the state while in Nigeria the money has ended in the hands of the corrupt. In addition to the former Greek Prime Minister, four other presentations were held the first day.

Tax havens are not only for tax evasion

Professor Guttorm Schjelderup from the Norwegian School of Economics was the first presenter. He urged society to stop looking at tax havens only in terms of tax evasion. "The International Exchange Treaties does not deal with the main culprit: The ring-fenced secrecy jurisdictions, Schjelderup during his presentation. "In order to use IETs we have to know something before we ask for information beforehand, Schjelderup said in his presentation, pointing to the fact that there is loads of time to move money to a new secret location if this is not known."

National security

Schjelderup also mentioned several other areas where tax havens (secrecy jurisdictions) can have a negative impact, for example as a threat to national safety. As an example Schjelderup mentioned that the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik used an account in Antigua to hide away money. Furthermore, Tim Daniels from the US law firm Edwards Wildman gave the delegates insight into the the hunt for hidden money from several former statesmen, while PWYP Chairman Frian Aarsnes plunged into how corporations facilitate secrecy in order to transfer money out of the market.