The dust has not settled yet and there is probably much more to come from this and future leaks. Investigations have started, international cooperation will be key and hopefully those that have not respected the law will be punished. Here below a couple of reflections based on what I read/seen/heard these days between one toy and another, from the deep of my sabbatical:
1- Quantity vs quality
The amount of data at take is huge, there is still a question mark about its quality. My take is that the most powerful stories are those about cases journalists had already investigated, and were stuck in front of the secrecy wall, rather than those searching for the glorious and famous ones from scratch.
2- Progress at policy level is tangible
Several of the “celebrities” involved are indeed already under investigation in their respective countries. This, together with the xx billions which came into state coffers following global trend on disclosure initiatives shows progress made is indeed substantial and the optimum is yet to come with automatic (not only on request) exchange of bank info going live next year.
3- More resources are needed
The fact that the rules are in place and will soon be applicable is not enough. Revenue agencies worldwide need additional resources to be able to go after tax cheaters vigorously and swiftly, look at Canada has already taken the lead with several hundred millions going immediately to the CRA to tackle avoidance and evasion.
4- A whole of government approach is often missing
The most serious cases have to do with corruption, drug dealing and other crimes. To fight those effectively, Counties should take a “whole of gov” approach to fight economic crimes, which are often strictly linked and ultimately resulting in tax evasion/fraud and money laundering. The OECD and the Oslo dialogue are already looking into that. Agencies like the Italian Guardia di Finanza bring together all these tasks into one entity, favoring cross-pollination and sharing and can be a model for other counties in terms of detection.
Sharing is caring after all, isn’t it? So now I can go back to play(mobil) with Carlo and Maya.