Finnwatch said that Finland ranked poorly in the latest financial secrecy index.
The semi-annual ranking is compiled by the Tax Justice Network, a UK-based advocacy group made up of researchers and activists concerned with tax evasion and tax havens, as well as other tax transparency issues. Countries with more transparency issues are at the top of the index.
Although Finland was clearly below the top countries in the latest index – including the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Luxembourg – according to Finnwatch, the Nordic countries are doing particularly poorly in terms of corporate ownership transparency.
Finnwatch explained that in Finland, information on the registers of rightholders is not available to everyone and only the largest business owners are in the register.
According to Finnwatch, this arrangement has made it more difficult to trace the assets of sanctioned Russian oligarchs.
"Finnish investigative journalists and non-governmental organizations must apply for permission to obtain register information from beneficiaries. In addition, the register is difficult to use. To get information from the registry, you really need to know what you are looking for," Finnwatch’s tax expert Saara Hietanen said in a statement.
Finnwatch emphasized that the lack of transparency increases the risk of corruption and also makes it more difficult to investigate and detect money laundering and tax evasion.
The organization also noted that requests for corporate financial statements from the register are subject to a fee and that tax-related court decisions are not fully disclosed or made available free of charge.
According to the Tax Justice Network, the world loses a tax haven equivalent to the annual salary of one nurse sixty times a minute. The group explained their role in the letter animated graphic representation.
Source: The Nordic Page