Super rich hold $32 trillion in offshore havens

LONDON Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:02am EDT

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing up to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to research published on Sunday.

The study estimating the extent of global private financial wealth held in offshore accounts - excluding non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses - puts the sum at between $21 and $32 trillion.

The research was carried out for pressure group Tax Justice Network, which campaigns against tax havens, by James Henry, former chief economist at consultants McKinsey & Co.

He used data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and central banks.

The report also highlights the impact on the balance sheets of 139 developing countries of money held in tax havens by private elites, putting wealth beyond the reach of local tax authorities.

The research estimates that since the 1970s, the richest citizens of these 139 countries had amassed $7.3 to $9.3 trillion of "unrecorded offshore wealth" by 2010.

Private wealth held offshore represents "a huge black hole in the world economy," Henry said in a statement.

(Reporting by Chris Vellacott)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (27)
BluePelican wrote:
So, is this wealth personal, or is it your contention that it belongs to “the collective”? This is a debate which is popular today. It occurs when economies fail and failing leadership stalks radical remedies.

Jul 22, 2012 6:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Quite frankly, what people do with their money is none of my business.

Jul 22, 2012 7:36am EDT  --  Report as abuse
sylvan wrote:
Let’s off-shore the tax cheats that off-shore their money. To have that much money and then hide it to cheat on your taxes is disgusting and gross on every level. This is why the US has a debt problem. I hope that when tax reform hits that the govenment takes 90% of that money and sends the criminals to jail.

Jul 22, 2012 7:49am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.