08:37 GMT +319 January 2020
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    Leading poverty charity Oxfam revealed on Thursday that the top 50 biggest companies in the United States have hidden trillions of dollars in offshore funds amounting to more than the GDP of Spain, Mexico and Australia.

    EDINBURGH (Sputnik), Mark Hirst – In a report, titled "Broken at the Top," Oxfam found that the companies profited by almost $4 trillion globally between 2008 and 2014 and received a "staggering" $11 trillion in US government support over the same period.

    "Yet again we have evidence of a massive systematic abuse of the global tax system. We can’t go on with a situation where the rich and powerful are not paying their fair share of tax, leaving the rest of us to foot the bill. Governments across the globe must come together now to end the era of tax havens," Senior Tax Advisor at Oxfam Robbie Silverman said in a statement.

    Oxfam went on to say that they estimate 90 percent of global firms are involved in tax avoidance.

    "The same tricks and tools used by multinational companies to dodge tax in the US are being used to cheat countries across the world out of their fair share of tax revenues, with devastating consequences. Poor countries are particularly hard hit, losing an estimated $100 billion a year to corporate tax dodgers. This is enough to provide safe water and sanitation to more than 2.2 billion people," Silverman said.

    One of the leading overseas territories named in the Oxfam report is the British crown dependency of Bermuda.

    Speaking exclusively to Sputnik News, Ronen Palen, a Professor in International Politics and a respected expert in the use of tax havens by corporations, said "We knew that companies use tax havens for tax planning purposes, we knew less about them stashing trillions in tax havens."

    Palen suggested that there is not enough political will in the United Kingdom to resolve the problem.

    "Companies should pay tax like the rest of us, unless they do the system is broken. There are always ways and means of resolving such techniques of avoidance, but we need serious political will. I am not surprised to hear the name of Bermuda, British overseas territories are leading the pack of tax havens: indeed, I see the UK as part of the problem, not part of the solution right now," Palen told Sputnik.

    On April 3, the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung exposed the alleged involvement of a number of former and current world leaders in offshore schemes by publishing materials it claimed came from Mossack Fonseca.

    Mossack Fonseca has refused to validate the information contained in the Panama Papers leaks and accused reporters of gaining unauthorized access to its proprietary documents. It warned that using unlawfully-obtained data was a crime that it would not hesitate to punish by legal means.


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