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Dispatches: Tax Havens and Criminology

NCJ Number
Global Crime Volume: 8 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2007 Pages: 260-270
Alain Deneault
Date Published
August 2007
11 pages
This article examines the nature and role of "tax havens" in criminal operations.
Tax havens are some 70 countries that offer foreign individuals and operations that legally establish a presence there a virtually zero tax rate, bank secrecy, and a bulwark against foreign legal authorities. These tax havens make it possible to conduct business without being scrutinized and regulated by tax enforcement agencies and other agencies responsible for enforcing the laws in jurisdictions where criminal enterprises make their money. In the course of financial and industrial globalization, tax havens offer a framework where the state is no longer sovereign over the enterprises that can exploit and harm its citizens. This article calls this circumstance "offshore sovereignty," under which various types of organizations conduct their moneymaking activities, which may be criminal, unhampered by state structures. The Enron case is presented as an example of offshore sovereignty. Enron is but one of many cases in which economic globalization has not involved creating a free market in which competition prevails, but rather has provided a zone in which the rules of the economic game have been taken over by private interests whose only concern is to increase profits unfettered by laws designed to prevent exploitation and threats to public safety. "Crime" must now be viewed as inseparable from the operations of traditional companies, which are progressively substituting themselves for the state under the exaltation of deregulation and the free market. 34 notes