Is It Really True That Switzerland Is The #1 Most-Corrupt Nation, & U.S. #2?

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The Tax Justice Network produces a Financial Secrecy Index, ranking countries for the assistance their legal systems provide, to money-launderers, and to all people who seek to protect corruptly-obtained wealth. The higher the score, the more corrupt the government is. The last time this Index was published, in 2015, Switzerland was rated the world’s most-corrupt country, and Hong Kong was then #2. But now, in its newly released global rankings, “Financial Secrecy Index — 2018 Results”, though Switzerland still holds its #1 (most-corrupt) spot, the U.S. has become #2, and Hong Kong has now fallen to #4, which is immediately below Cayman Islands (which is #3, and which had been #5 in 2015).

 

The detailed report-card for Switzerland says"

“the Swiss will exchange information with rich countries if they have to, but will continue offering citizens of poorer countries the opportunity to evade their taxpaying responsibilities. These factors, along with ongoing aggressive pursuit of financial sector whistleblowers (resorting at times to what appear to be non-legal methods) are ongoing reminders of why Switzerland remains the most important secrecy jurisdiction in the world today.”

The detailed report-card for the United States notes America’s rising score, and resulting success in attracting corrupt wealth, as follows:

The rise of the US continues a long term trend, as the country was one of the few to increase their secrecy score in the 2015 index. The continues [intending the word “continued”] rise of the US in the 2018 index comes off the back of a significant change in the US share of the global market for offshore financial services. Between 2015 and 2018 the US increased its market share in offshore financial services by 14%. In total the US accounts for 22.3% of the global market in offshore financial services.

The U.S. report-card asserts that, “Financial secrecy provided by the U.S. has caused untold harm to the ordinary citizens of foreign countries, whose elites have used the United States as a bolt-hole for looted wealth.” Of course, this isn’t the largest such “bolt-hole” — it’s the second-largest. Furthermore, the report-card for Switzerland said:

According to the Swiss Bankers’ Association banks in Switzerland hold CHF 6.65 trillion ($6.5 trillion) in assets under management, of which 48 percent originated from abroad: this made Switzerland the world leader in global cross-border asset management, with a 25 percent share of that market.1 In terms of the narrower wealth management sector, Deloitte estimated that Switzerland was also the world leader with US$2.04 trillion in assets under management in 2014, compared to the $1.65 trillion and $1.43 trillion for the UK and US respectively.2 

The “Secretiveness” scores ranged from “100%” meaning total secrecy, to “Moderately secretive” meaning from 31% to 40% secretive; and, so, among the 112 ranked countries, none were unwelcoming of corruptly obtained wealth; all were at least “moderately” welcoming of it.

Furthermore, other factors than “Secretiveness” were also included in the rankings. The 242-page Methodology document says, for example, that “The secrecy score is cubed and the weighting is cube-rooted before being multiplied to produce a Financial Secrecy Index which ranks secrecy jurisdictions according to their degree of secrecy and the scale of their trade in international financial services.” So, countries such as Montserrat,  which ranked at the very bottom, #112, actually had a “Secrecy” score of 77.5% (higher even than Switzerland), but it had extraordinarily good “International Standards and Cooperation” such as with “Anti-Money Laundering” and a 0% score of non-cooperation with “Bilateral Treaties.” Above all: any country, in which only few wealthy foreigners want to park their money, was ranked among the least-corrupt, in Tax Justice Center’s methodology — and “FSI Share,” or the percentage of the global total wealth that’s stashed offshore within the given country, is by far the dominant factor, in their calculations of ‘Financial Secrecy Index’, so that their methodology is simply absurd. The Methodology document ‘justifies’ this deceptive practice by saying:

The ranking reflects not only information about which are the most secretive jurisdictions, but also the question of scale (i.e. the extent to which a jurisdiction’s secrecy is likely to have global impact). In this way, the Financial Secrecy Index offers an answer to the question: by providing offshore financial services in combination with a lack of transparency, how much damage is each secrecy jurisdiction actually responsible for?     

Obviously, any ranking-system that’s ranking countries more according to how big a percentage of the global offshore wealth it’s hosting, than according to how secretive the country is when other countries are seeking its assistance in tracking down assets that are held abroad, is no real ‘Financial Secrecy Index’ at all, and thus should be renamed, perhaps as “International Economic Harm Index” or something else that’s not nearly as misleading as the existing title for it (‘Financial Secrecy Index’) is.

Be that as it may: among the 112 nations that were ranked,

China was #28 and was 60% secretive (60% “Secrecy Score”).

Russia ranked #29 and was 64% secretive.

Ukraine ranked #43, and was 69% secretive.

By contrast, U.S. was ranked as 60% secretive; so, U.S. is actually in their league and is less corrupt than Ukraine, but is ranked as the 2nd-most-‘Secretive’ of all rated countries. Switzerland was ranked as 76% secretive, which places Switzerland among the 28 most-secretive countries on the list — but it has the highest ‘Financial Secrecy Index’ of any, even though more than two dozen countries received a higher “Secrecy Score.”

The nine highest-scoring nations on their actual “Secrecy Score” were, from the top: (#1) Vanuatu 89%; (#2) Antigua-Barbuda 87%; (tied #s 3-5) UAE, Bahamas, and Brunei, 84%; (tied #s 6-9) Thailand, Kenya, Liberia, and Bolivia, 80%.

So: Those were actually the 9 highest-scored “Secrecy Score” countries.

The 7 lowest-scored “Secrecy Score” ones were: 42% (tied) UK and Slovenia, 44% Belgium, 45% Sweden, 47% Lithuania, 49% Italy, 49% Brazil.

But is Brazil really among the least-corrupt countries? Is it, even, really, among the financially most transparent countries?

Furthermore, the detailed report-card for the U.S. asserts:

A wealthy Ukrainian, say, sets up a Delaware shell company using a local company formation agent. That Delaware agent will provide nominee officers and directors (typically lawyers) to serve as fronts for the real owners, and their details and photocopies of their passports can be made public but that gets you no closer to who the genuine Ukrainian owner of that company is: if the nominees are lawyers they are bound by attorney-client privilege not to reveal the information (if they even have it: the owner of that shell company may be another secretive shell company or trust somewhere else). The company can run millions through its bank account but nobody – whether domestic or foreign law enforcement – can crack through that form of secrecy in any efficient or effective way. In the words of Dennis Lormel, the first chief of the FBI’s Terrorist Financing Operations Section and a retired 28-year Bureau veteran, “Terrorists, organized crime groups, and pariah states need access to the international banking system. Shell firms are how they get it.” ...

Almost two million corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) are formed in U.S. states each year, many by foreigners, without the states ever asking for the identity of the ultimate beneficial owners. Some serve legitimate purposes but many, in the words of Senator Carl Levin, “function as conduits for organised crime, money laundering, securities fraud, tax evasion, and other misconduct.”

Nonetheless, the U.S. is granted a modest “Secrecy Score” of only 60% — though the process that’s described there is providing 100% secrecy. Nothing is being said, not even in the Methodology document, about how a country which can provide 100% secrecy, deserves a mere 60% “Secrecy Score.”

The detailed report-card on Switzerland likewise includes considerable text describing a country that seems as corrupt as is indicated in the text describing America. Granting the U.S. a “Secrecy Score” of only 60%, while Switzerland receives a much higher 76% such score, is puzzling; and, again, the Methodology document provides no help to understand what the actual methodology that was used is — much less to justify the methodology.

Perhaps the worst score of all should go to the Tax Justice Network itself.

However, maybe the so-called “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists” deserves an even worse score, because that organization headlined on January 30th, “US, Switzerland singled out for financial secrecy by new index” and reported favorably about this “new index,” which is actually in at least its second edition, since an earlier one was reported in 2015 — so, this isn’t even a ‘new index’ at all, but is at least a three-year-old index. Isn’t a bit of investigative journalism necessary from a purported professional organization of ‘Investigative Journalists’? Or does mere ‘journalistic’ stenography now qualify, even as ‘investigative’ journalism? Is ‘journalism’ now mere PR, propaganda, public relations? And is ‘investigative’ now mere reading and reciting from a source? What’s the difference between PR versus ‘investigative journalism’?

And: what’s the difference between America’s 60% “Secrecy Score” and Switzerland’s 76% one? Based upon the detailed report-cards, how would it be possible to be ‘more corrupt’ than each of these countries is?

The United States Government routinely characterizes any Government that it seeks to overthrow as being ‘corrupt’. Perhaps that fact, more than any other, shows how corrupt the U.S. Government itself really is. Throwing stones from glass houses does no one any good. But it does prove — and not merely by some organization’s flawed methodology — that hypocrisy can sometimes signal a threat that could turn out to be even worse than “Financial Secrecy” or “Secrecy Score” or even than real corruption. When the United States Government called Saddam Hussein, and Muammar Gaddafi, and Viktor Yanukovych, etc., by such terms as “corrupt,” the invasions and coups which were ‘justified’ by means of that U.S. name-calling, perpetrated vastly more harm than any corruption which was, or might have been, perpetrated by those individually blamed persons. Such “stones from glass houses,” as the U.S. casts, contain bombs; they’re actually warheads; they are weapons of mass destruction, such as extremely corrupt governments employ with the most hypocritical of ‘humanitarian’ ‘concerns’, for the mass-victims, which commonly result from their mass-weapons. Corruption that’s so heavily armed, is the worst sort of corruption there is — regardless of whether it’s associated with an exceptionally high “Financial Secrecy Index,” or any other type of extraordinary corruption. And, certainly, the U.S. far outdoes Switzerland, on this score. So: Trump is right — “America is Number One”, after all.

Comments

stizazz junction Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:11 Permalink

“The governments Israelis have elected are essentially part of a long-running criminal enterprise judging by the serial convictions of former presidents and prime ministers. Most recently, former President Moshe Katsav was convicted of rape, while almost every recent head of government, including the current one, has been investigated for corruption." - Philip Giraldi, former CIA Officer

Israhell=Most corrupt nation

In reply to by junction

Teja stizazz Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:16 Permalink

They are small scale newcomers, compared to the City of London Corporation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_London_Corporation

An organisation which was described as "ancient" when Magna Carta was written, predating the Norman Conquest of England. Predating the Kingdom of England. It is organized democratically... in a way - corporations and human inhabitants both have votes. Guess who has got the majority? 24'000 business votes against 9'000 humans.

In reply to by stizazz

Multi Teja Mon, 02/05/2018 - 05:32 Permalink

"...countries for the assistance their legal systems provide, to money-launderers, and to all people who seek to protect corruptly-obtained wealth"

Really? that's going to be the problem?  Nothing to do with people who don't want their money TO BE FUCKING TAXED!

In bizzarro world, working people who wants to avoid State theft are the corrupts. The politicians and their cadre of mandarins who want to take your money, redistribute it to their constituencies, while of course keeping their generous cut, are the heroes.

God bless you Switzerland, God bless you Hong Kong.

In reply to by Teja

Winston Churchill Teja Mon, 02/05/2018 - 08:05 Permalink

The corporation is owned by the 6 original  Trade Guilds.It was the first "enterprise zone" in effect to develop

the city for commerce.It was given a royal charter to facilitate that.

It is primarily to this day a landlord.The tenants are the nefarious ones.There is no Guild of

bankers, stockbrokers, etc they are/were the corporations tenants, not its owners.The corporation

is unlimited liability."Working for the corporation" was English slang for working for the council.The

model was followed in all the major cities but without a royal charter.Its an anachronism but its

kept for tourism reasons among others.

Its somewhat arcane workings with pomp and circumstance/ Guild secrecy lead to lots of

hyperbole and speculation.You could just ask me, I'm a member of one of the six worshipfull guilds.Attending a meeting

is like a root canal combined with a property managers conference.

Keep looking in the wrong place though, the real PTB love it.

In reply to by Teja

Teja ted41776 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:15 Permalink

UK lowest scored? LOL. UK should be listed as client state of the City of London Corporation, the oldest and largest tax haven organisation in the world. Also the Channel Islands (Jersey, Guernsey), the Isle of Man, many Caribbean Islands, Hong Kong and others have to be counted as its client states, where laws are written to help black money flow.

And that is not a conspiracy theory. Just read "Treasure Islands" by Nicholas Shaxson. Will open your eyes.

In reply to by ted41776

gespiri Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:24 Permalink

This article is garbage.  Corruption for the author means secrecy of the country on how it deals with foreigners depending on status.  What about Israel, UK, and the arab states?

Corruption index should be how the public deal with the countries' government agencies (and its politicians) when it comes to special interests, gov't regulations, business environment, foreign investments, etc.  What Switzerland is doing (and is know for) is financial secrecy of its clients which is its core competency.  It minds its own business and focus on domestic issues instead....something many western countries should learn from.

Teja gespiri Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:28 Permalink

People receiving stolen goods and selling them usually "mind their own business" and "focus on domestic issues". They don't want problems with the police, are always friendly and non-violent.

There are also enough documented cases where Swiss banks round up their business model by appropriating money where the owners were killed (eg by the Germans) and their descendants do not have full documentation of what happened to them in the concentration camps.

In reply to by gespiri

ProsperD9 Teja Mon, 02/05/2018 - 03:34 Permalink

Are you kidding???.....Switzerland paid 1.24 billion to holocaust survivors and victims from dormant accounts from a Swiss fund set up after a scandal over dormant accounts of Jews killed in the Second World War. Within the fund, a total of $800 million were destined for account holders and their heirs. In addition, the fund gave a flat-rate sum of $5,000 each to 12,300 claimants whose cases were deemed "plausible but undocumented". All together 457,000 Holocaust survivors and heirs have received money from the fund. Among them were 199,000 people who were pressed into forced labor by Nazi Germany, and who received a share of $288 million....In fact,  the fund gave a flat-rate sum of $5,000 each to 12,300 claimants whose cases were deemed "plausible but undocumented.".....How many people can just walk-in and claim money without documentation except the Jews?

In reply to by Teja

Heros ProsperD9 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 04:27 Permalink

"All together 457,000 Holocaust survivors and heirs have received money from the fund" 

So jews are claiming that the brutally efficient final solution 6 million jew murder machine left almost half a million survivors who all claimed to have family money in Swiss bank accounts?  That out of a total population of 2.5 million jews before the war in all the areas of Europe that Hitler temporarily occupied?

Even Einstein couldn't make these numbers add up.  But then again Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  He must have been referring to holocaust mathematics.

In reply to by ProsperD9

LetThemEatRand Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:31 Permalink

Silver medal?!  Okay you fuckers, we'll show you silver.  Get ready to rumble.  We'll show you who's number fucking one.

Oh, 1st is worse?  Fuck you for thinking we're almost first!  We'll bomb anyone who thinks we're good or bad.

hooligan2009 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:38 Permalink

deloittes sizes of investment management assets are a joke.

blackrock has 5 trilion on its own and ia a global asset manager.

state street, northern trust, BoNY provide custody for several trillion EACH.

there are a whole bunch of asset managers with a trillion each.

this

".. nominees are lawyers they are bound by attorney-client privilege not to reveal the information (if they even have it: the owner of that shell company may be another secretive shell company or trust somewhere else). The company can run millions through its bank account but nobody – whether domestic or foreign law enforcement – can crack through that form of secrecy in any efficient or effective way"

says it all and explains why Delaware and the Cayman Islands are favorite domiciles for hedge funds, whose staff will never set foot in either place.

hedge funds are also major arteries for money laundering - (think Och Ziff - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Och-Ziff_Capital_Management#Criticism )

Minburi Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:49 Permalink

I agree with the findings of this article.  If only one nuke needed to be dropped anywhere on the planet to make this world a better place, it would be on top of BIS in Basel.

Heros Mon, 02/05/2018 - 02:54 Permalink

The author secretly has redefined corruption to mean tax evasion, privacy to mean secrecy.  A heavy, oppressive income tax is the second platform of the Communist Manifesto.

Switzerland still tries to offer to financial privacy to individuals.  Marxists, and brainless marxist zombies called "progressives", confuse marxism with god and think that oppressive income tax is a holy commandment, and that evasion of these taxes is a holy sin against their god.

Heros ProsperD9 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 04:09 Permalink

I read this blog post linked in the article about Rudolf Elmer and his squealing on his bank clients:

http://www.taxjustice.net/2015/07/01/guest-blog-how-switzerland-corrupt…

Curiously Elmer doesn't discuss how much IRS or other tax authority whistle blowing rewards he was hoping to cash in on.  Bradley Birkenfeld sued the IRS for denying his claimed $450m in whistle blowing incentives, but due to his being a sleazy snake in the grass he ended up with several months in prison and only $100m.

These greedy "whistle blowers" turn in their clients who trusted in what they thought were honest "Swiss Bankers".  This is a betrayal of a personal obligation and trust for a bribe by tax authorities.  People ended up in prison for "tax evasion" due to Birkenfeld, I am not sure whether Elmer managed to get anyone locked up.  In any case these "bankers" were happily working for banks and taking large bonuses knowing that they were abetting tax evasion only until they saw the chance to get rich.  It was then that they discovered the sacred marxist sin of "corrupt" tax evasion and betrayed numerous people who had trusted them.

In reply to by ProsperD9

Singelguy Heros Mon, 02/05/2018 - 07:45 Permalink

As taxes continue to rise to fund the interest expense of sovereign debt worlwide, the demand for privacy will continue to grow. The irony is that TPTB cannot repeal those secrecy laws without exposing themselves so they just continue to feed the monster until the monster consumes them. 

In reply to by Heros

DuneCreature Mon, 02/05/2018 - 03:46 Permalink

~~~))) ... Crooks, Pedos, Psychopaths And FBI Control Files ...(((~~~

Someone just run over here and hit me in the head with a hammer, a metal chair or maybe a handy cinder block,........please, I beg you, put me out of my misery.

Please, please, just be sure to finish the job. .. Take my pulse. ... Wait a minute or two and hit me again if I even twitch. ... If I start to snore, find a pillow, but it on my face and sit on top. .... When you can't hear muffled gasping anymore count to a thousand and then jump up and down on my head and use the cinder block a few more times just for good measure.

Why am I readily jump off a bridge or be pushed in front of a bus?

Because I don't want to live in a country run by pure idiots, baby eating witches and policed by winged monkeys building Control Files on everyone. ... Yes, everyone. ... And especially everyone with any influence inside of the Washington DC Beltway.

Understand this fact. ....... The FBI has a magic pass to collect ANY kind of information on anyone they want. .. If someone applies for employment in dot gov the FBI is the agency who vets them. .. Checks their background. .. Dissects their life history. ... You sign away your rights to privacy on your dot gov job application. They visit your neighbors and relatives and quiz them about your past behavior. They also have access to ALL of your personal records. .. Criminal, medical, school transcripts and notations (some you never get to see), mental health, military, civil, phone calls (NSA), mail (USPS) and your hairdresser appointments and rumors thereof.

They can see everything because you've given them permission.

Now, understand that the FBI can and does collect the same dossier of info on ANYONE they want. .. If you hit the FBI radar, they are all over your private records like a pair of extra tight yoga pants and rifling through your bank account records like Harvey Weinstein gropes tipsy young starlets in his office.

The FBI just goes to any party they feel like, flip out a badge, and your banker, doctor, shrink, favorite masseuse, bartender, baby sitter or bookie coughs up anything they want about you (The FBI loves and even encourages made up information when they are conducting a 'background check' on some future patsy, knowing they can pressure the interviewee into falsely testifying if need be.)

What is the FBI doing collecting all of this information (dirt)? .......... Building a fat Control File on persons of interest. ....... A long tradition started by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover ( At least two US Presidents considered Hoover a common blackmail artist).

The secretive, twisted FBI is basically the American Stasi.

Terrorism is the cover for this secret illegal activity and blackmail (or control) is the ultimate objective.

National Security Letters are the 'gag order' they use to keep all this Control File building hushed up and behind the veil at DoJ.

If the right person wants a few control files on an adversary (or 100) all she or he has to do is strike a deal and the weasels at the FBI cough them up. ..... The only control file that isn't on the table is the control file on the person they are selling all the other control files to.

Killary demanded some 400 + 'control files' (background checks) from the FBI as the Fist Lady and Billy Bob Is-Is backed her demands in a caper the came to be known as Filegate.

That's how Killary and Billy Bob Rapist manages to steal billions using the Clinton Satan Foundation and no one in DC wants to even acknowledge the blatant thieving. ..... It's like Killary is the Invisible Mob Ma.

Apparently the FBI isn't interested in a major theft in progress. They are too busy building Control Files for fun and profit.

The only thing they can't control are the 'out-of-control' length of my ZH spews about Control Files. ...... Now you know about Control Files too. ........... Did you bring a big hammer like I asked?

Live Hard, He Who Controls The FBI Control Files, Controls The Country With Blackmail, Bullying And Intimidation, Die Free

~ DC v8.8

DuneCreature Oldguy05 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 09:10 Permalink

Is that you Uncle Karl?

Live Hard, I Thought We Had Funeral Services For Your Ass Back In ’08? ……….. You Pulled A Fast One On Aunt Hildegard And Slipped Off To Zurich On A Night Train, Didn’t Cha? … I Thought The Fiery Explosion In The Chicken Processing Plant That Alleged Took You Out Smelled Kind Of Fishy Instead Of Fowl. …. Very Clever Of You To Leave Behind Some Sperm In A Shoe. .. The Ashes Of That Sock And Shoe Are Sitting On Auntie’s Mantle And She Gives It A Chair At The Dinner Table, Die Free, Die Free

~ DC v8.8

In reply to by Oldguy05

DuneCreature Cthonic Mon, 02/05/2018 - 09:34 Permalink

While we’re at it:

http://themillenniumreport.com/2017/03/the-hammer-ultra-secret-supercom…

What happened To THE HAMMER investigation? .. Ask the FBI Director at the time, Slippery Jim = The Memo - (If you want to cut to the Weasely action go to 21:00) = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMjx5pz1JRA1:00)

Live Hard, All Of The Bad Guys In DC Are Building Their Own Private Control File Database These Days. ........... The Place Is One Big 'Control File Clusterfuck', Die Free

~DC v8.8

In reply to by Cthonic

I am Groot Mon, 02/05/2018 - 05:44 Permalink

After the Swiss taking in all of the billions in stolen Nazi gold, my first guesses would have been Mexico and Venezuela. The entire country of Mexico is one giant drug cartel. And Venezuela has literally collapsed from corruption. I would think any other place that has a dictator like North Korea would be at the top of the list too. The US probably made the #2 slot because of the FBI, the CIA,the NSA and the Clinton Foundation......

Thanks a lot Hillary ! You fuckin corrupt, dumb whore.

Oldguy05 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 06:39 Permalink

"The United States Government routinely characterizes any Government that it seeks to overthrow as being ‘corrupt’. Perhaps that fact, more than any other, shows how corrupt the U.S. Government itself really is."

 

We,ve been Demo or Rino for at least 24 years and that's the Modus Operandi isn't it? Blame others for what we ourselves are doing?

kwaremont Mon, 02/05/2018 - 09:10 Permalink

I remember a report (I think UBS) from years ago claiming that around HALF of the global assets exported from the home country (taxes, dictators, criminals, politicians, even legal companies) is kept in Switzerland.

When I was working in Switzerland, my bank announced to me that, starting from next year, as an EU citizen I will have to report everything I have in swiss banks, but... they suggested, they had a solution: they negotiated with the EU that investment vehicles founded before a certain date are exempt from this... so... they created HUNDREDS of such funds just before this date, so that they can use it in the future. Here we go... you can't fool the swiss banker so easily (of course, they will charge you for this service, no doubt).

Flankspeed60 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 09:49 Permalink

So, Switzerland lands the title of 'Most Corrupt' because it fails to willingly enable the corruption of other kleptocracies disguising themselves as governments. Interesting metric.