From the Editor
Corruption is high on the international community's agenda at the moment; the links between corruption and persisting poverty and inequality in many countries are widely acknowledged. But the focus of attention is nearly always corrupt politicians and officials in developing countries. As John Christensen argues, our perceptions of corruption have been distorted to fit a developed-world agenda. This edition of TJF aims to paint a more accurate picture by examining the international dimension, particularly the way in which offshore and onshore financial centres enable corruption to thrive.
Our lead article, by Juan Hdez. Vigueras, looks at the multi-million euro corruption scandal unfolding on Spain's Costa del Sol and uncovers the close links to some of Europe's tax havens. In Thailand, where anti-corruption street protests earlier this year contributed to the ongoing political crisis, the Prime Minister and his family have used offshore companies to obscure their suspect commercial transactions, as Chanida Chanyapate and Alec Bamford reveal.
Turning to corporate corruption, Richard Murphy considers the implications for corporate governance of the recent convictions of former Enron chief executives and argues for tougher measures to address the problems of offshore secrecy and tax avoidance. Lucy Komisar proposes a code of conduct for banks, and invites readers to comment on her suggestions on what the code might contain, and David Spencer urges the international community to include capital flight and tax evasion in the definition of corruption.
TJN friends and colleagues have been busy over the last few months. Raymond Baker tells us about his 30-city tour in the USA and Europe with his book on illicit money and corruption, Capitalism's Achilles Heel, and Jorma Penttinen reports on the launch of the Nordic Tax Justice Network.
I hope you enjoy reading this edition of Tax Justice Focus, which is available for download from the Newsletter section of our website in both print and screen editions: www.taxjustice.net/cms/front_content.php?idcat=6
The next TJF will be a special edition on Africa, ahead of the launch of a Tax Justice Network for Africa in 2007.