chapter  11
21 Pages

‘Follow-ing the money’ ten years on

Transparency and the fight against banking secrecy
WithElena Blanco, Miguel J. Arjona-Sánchez

During the G-20 Summit in London on 2th April 2009, the leaders of the richest countries in the world declared an end to the era of banking secrecy. This chapter considers the legal measures developed to end banking secrecy as promised at the G20 meeting in 2009 in the aftermath of the financial crisis and assesses which progress has been made in 10 years. It aims to trace the origins of banking secrecy and links its exponential growth since the post-war period to the creation of offshore financial centres (OFCs) – sometimes called tax havens. The chapter argues that ‘secrecy’ and lack of transparency are at the centre of a very specific type of ‘regulation’ that enables private and corporate groups to interact with quasi-public agencies to derail any transparency reforms. It explores the concept of OFCs commonly referred to as ‘tax havens’.