Islamabad for return of stolen assets to developing countries

Published October 24, 2020
Pakistan’s representative Saad Ahmad Warra­ich. — Photo courtesy Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations
Pakistan’s representative Saad Ahmad Warra­ich. — Photo courtesy Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations

UNITED NATIONS: Pakis­tan has urged the internatio­nal community to ensure that the stolen assets of developing countries are fully returned to them.

In a statement before the Sixth Committee, a primary legal forum of the UN General Assembly, Pakistan on Thurs­day also demanded manda­tory frameworks to counter ill practices, such as profit shifting to avoid taxation.

“The figures of stolen wealth from corrupt practices including bribery, tax evasion and money laundering are staggering — about $2.6 trillion annually,” said Pakistan’s representative Saad Ahmad Warra­ich while presenting the statement before the committee.

A UN panel reported recently that governments forfeit up to $600 billion in yearly tax revenue to offshore profit-shifting by multinational companies, on top of illicit monetary flows that ravage developing countries’ economies.

The report prepared last month, also noted that money laundering annually moves at least $1.6tr, or 2.7 per cent of the global gross domestic product, across borders. The UN High-Level Panel on Int­ernational Financial Accounta­bility, Transparency and Integrity, or FACTI, was formed in March with the goal of helping member states achieve sustainable development by 2030.

The panel found that at least $7tr in private wealth, representing 10pc of the world’s GDP, were held offshore.

It also identified major gaps and systemic problems in the global framework to fight tax abuse, corruption and financial crime.

The report concluded that international financial controls had not kept pace with the increasingly digitalized global economy, and governments could not agree on what to do about the problem.

Published in Dawn, October 24th, 2020

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