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New Panama Papers data will increase unstoppable pressure for reform

9 May 2016 -  Christian Aid welcomes today’s impending new release of data from the Panama Papers, which will help create new pressure for vital reform.

“The release of this new information will be hugely important,” said Toby Quantrill, the charity’s Principal Adviser on Economic Justice.

“While the individual stories revealed will be fascinating, the true value of this data is in enabling people everywhere to slice through secrecy, and understand the scale and nature of the system that allows the richest to accumulate wealth at the expense of the poor.

“This new information will add to the unstoppable pressure for reforms to end the financial secrecy which is so useful to tax evaders, the corrupt, and terrorists around the world.

“As ‘John Doe’, the Panama Papers source has said: ‘Banks, financial regulators and tax authorities have failed. Decisions have been made that have spared the wealthy while focusing instead on reining in middle and low-income citizens.’”

Mr Quantrill added: “People living in poverty in developing countries desperately need this sort of information to be made public, for everyone to see. There is no other way to ensure that the information will reach everyone who needs it.

“Having the eyes of the world on such information also means that is far more likely to be acted upon by the police, tax authorities, anti-corruption investigators, and other authorities.

“Rich countries often talk a good talk, but behind the scenes they are still refusing to share the information that would enable poor countries to plug some of the gaping holes in their public finances.”

Information already made public through the Panama Papers has led to media stories in developing countries including Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Nigeria, and many others.

Mr Quantrill said: “There is a lesson in all of this for David Cameron: that genuine transparency is the friend of ordinary people all over the world.

“If his Anti-Corruption Summit this week is to have any credibility, then he must use it to announce an end to secrecy in UK tax havens, which is causing ruin around the world. Anything else will be a regarded as a shameful failure to act.” 

For more information please contact Rachel Baird on rbaird@christian-aid.org  or 07850 242950   

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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