Bank plans African tax haven

| 03/05/2009

(Guardian): Barclays bank is playing a lead role in the establishment of a tax haven in Ghana, in a move that could see huge mineral wealth in west Africa vanish into it from poverty-stricken countries’ coffers, the Observer can reveal. The controversial UK lender has worked closely with the Ghanian government to start an International Financial Services Centre offering low taxes and minimal financial disclosure. Development charities fear that its establishment so close to oil and mineral-rich countries such as Nigeria and others will encourage tax and capital flight.

There is also concern that cocaine barons, increasingly using west Africa as a trafficking route into Europe, could launder drug money through Ghana. The process of establishing a Ghanaian tax haven has been under way since 2005 and Barclays was instrumental from the start when it signed a memorandum of understanding with the country.

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