Offshore Leaks Database allows public to search offshore tax haven info
Tourists walk along the beach of Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman Island, a territory that has become notorious for its offshore banking centers that have tax advantages for foreign investment operations, Aug. 3, 2012. (AP / David McFadden)
Published Saturday, June 15, 2013 4:13PM EDT
If your name is on this list, you might not be happy about it.
The Offshore Leaks Database holds the names of more than 100,000 secretive offshore companies, trusts and funds created in locations from Singapore to the Cayman Islands.
Although creating offshore accounts is legal in most countries, offshore accounts can afford the secrecy that allows for individual and companies to evade paying the taxes they would otherwise owe.
The database -- now accessible in a web app released Friday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists -- is the largest stockpile of information about offshore accounts ever made public.
Reports from news organizations that have had early access to the database have spurred calls around the world to rein in those who hide their assets offshore.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s latest budget included measures to provide rewards for Canadians who blow the whistle on offshore tax evasion, offering 15 per cent of whatever money is ultimately recovered.
The federal government said in May that it has convicted 44 individuals of offshore tax cheating since 2006, and enforcement efforts have recovered about $4.5 billion.
During the upcoming G8 talks in Ireland set for June 17-18, tax evasion is one of the three main themes on the discussion agenda.
While the database contains the names of companies involved, and where the accounts were set up, personal information gathered from the leak such as emails, phone numbers, bank accounts have been withheld from the public.