Illicit Financial Flows

Saturday, October 29, 9:00am  5:30pm

Illicit financial flows are international movements of funds that are illegally earned, transferred or utilized – flows that typically utilize tax havens, shell companies, fake trusts or other dubious means of offshore finance. While such flows affect all states, their impact is especially devastating for developing countries, which have lost some $6.6 trillion in the decade ending in 2012 and about $1 trillion per year more recently. This day will be opened by the projection of the movie The Price We Pay (length: 1h33’), directed by Harold Crooks and inspired by Brigitte Alepin's book La Crise Fiscale Qui Vient [2010]. Both the director and writer will take part in this day’s first panel.

Opening Remarks
Sat, October 29, 9:00am – 9:15am
Speaker: Matti Ylönen (Global Justice Program, Yale University) 

Film: The Price We Pay (length: 1h33')
Sat, October 29, 9:15am – 11:00am

Panel 3 | Reflections on The Price We Pay
Sat, October 29, 11:05am – 12:20pm
Chair: Matti Ylönen (Global Justice Program, Yale University) 
      •  Erika Siu (Secretariat Director for Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation - ICRICT)
      • Léonce Ndikumana (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
      • Maria Ivone Soares (Pan African Parliament) 
      • Harold Crooks (Director, The Price We Pay)
      • Leni Kinzli (Concordia)

Panel 4 | Illicit Financial Flows and Their Impacts
Sat, October 29, 1:50pm – 3:30pm
Chair: Matthew Archer (Yale University)
      • Vito Tanzi (Honorary President of the International Institute of Public Finance, University of Munich): Why Is It So Difficult to Raise Tax Revenue in Developing Countries? 
      • Léonce Ndikumana (University of Massachusetts at Amherst): Taxation in Extractive Industries in Africa
      • Kate Donald (Center for Economic and Social Rights, NYC): Revenue and Rights: Tax Justice as a Gender Equality Issue
Panel 5 | Pathways for Tax Justice
Sat, October 29, 3:45pm – 5:30pm
Chair: Jakob Schwab (Global Justice Program, Yale University) 
      • Erika Siu (Secretariat Director for Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation - ICRICT)): Building Human Rights into the International Tax Architecture
      • David Spencer (Spencer Tax Law Offices, NYC), How Can Developing Country Authorities Collect Taxes Better?
      • Olav Lundstøl (Policy Director of Tax and Capital Flight at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation NORAD): From Individualised Towards Uniform Optimal Taxation in Extractive Industries
      • Lauri Finér (University of Helsinki): End of offshore tax evasion? The Leap of Automatic Tax Information Exchange and Its Effects
Dinner: Davenport College Dining Hall (248 York Street)
Sat, October 29, 6:15pm


Harold Crooks has been involved with social issue documentary film since the 1980s. The majority of these projects consider the impact on ordinary people of large social forces and powerful institutions. Subjects have included the “progress traps” facing our global civilization, the weaponization of space, the inter-generational effects of the 1984 Bhopal “gas tragedy”, the “mindset” of the dominant institution of our times, the modern corporation, and in the case of The Price We Pay, the danger the “offshoring” of the world’s wealth poses to a sustainable global future. Tax Justice Network co-founder John Christensen has described The Price We Pay as “the most important film to date on the complex yet critical issue of tax in an era of globalization.” After being selected to premier at the Toronto International Film Festival [TIFF] and at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, and being voted Best Canadian Documentary of 2014 by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle, the documentary went on to be a box office success in France, has been telecast and re-telecast nationally to date in Canada, France, and Switzerland. Its superlative reviews, praising the film for making the dry stuff of taxation compelling and illuminating, include a New York Times critics’ pick. In the words of author and Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston: “There have been a number of films about inequality. This one is brilliant.” 

Kate Donald is the Director of the Human Rights in Development Program at the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) in New York. Previously, Kate worked as Adviser to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights; at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); at the International Council on Human Rights Policy; and as a consultant for the UN and the Gender & Development Network. She is also a co-founder of the Women for Tax Justice network.

Leni Kinzli currently serves as the Communications Manager at Concordia, working to amplify Concordia’s vision of promoting cross-section collaboration to solve global issues. She previously worked at the United Nations University, the UN’s think-tank, leading the New York office’s communications and media relations. In this capacity, she worked on strategically feeding academic research into UN policy processes around pressing global issues such as modern slavery and global drug policy. She has also worked for Crisis Action, an advocacy NGO to protect civilians in conflict zones, and EY Berlin gaining experience in public relations, advocacy, campaigns, and event management. She also actively volunteers at the Resolution Project, mentoring youth to become socially responsible young leaders. She holds a Masters degree in Intercultural Communication from European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany and is fluent in German and Spanish.

Lauri Finér is a doctoral researcher from University of Helsinki and currently a visiting scholar at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. In his doctoral dissertation he studies the effects of FATCA and OECD Common Reporting Standard on the international tax system. He has previously worked seven years for the Finnish Tax Administration where he specialized in tax assessment of multinational enterprises operating in Finland. He has also worked as a researcher for Finnish NGO Finnwatch where he co-authored e.g. a report on tax planning schemes of multinational mining companies. His previous research has also covered topics on international taxation such as transfer pricing and taxation of permanent establishments.

Olav Lundstøl spent eighteen years as development economist based in Latin America, Asia and the Pacific and Africa working for the UNDP and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His focus is on macroeconomics, public financial management, energy, environment, and in particular, tax, audit, corruption and natural resource governance. Lundstøl received graduate degrees in economics, business and history from the University of Oslo, the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is Board member of Tax Justice Network Norway, member of expert group of the International Centre for Tax and Development, and advisory group of the Bank of Tanzania country study of illicit financial flow. He is Doctoral candidate in tax policy at the African Tax Institute (Department of Economics) of the University of Pretoria and policy director of tax and capital flight at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).

Léonce Ndikumana is Professor of Economics and Director of the African Development Policy Program at the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is a member of the United Nations Committee on Development Policy, Commissioner on the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, and Honorary Professor of economics at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. He is co-editor of Capital Flight from Africa: Causes, Effects and Policy Issues and co-author of Africa’s Odious Debt: How Foreign Loans and Capital Flight Bled a Continent. He received the first degree in economics from the University of Burundi and a Ph.D. in economics from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Jakob Schwab is an economist and post-doctoral researcher at the German Development Institute (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik, DIE), and a fellow at Yale University’s Global Justice Program. He has received his Ph.D. from the Gutenberg University of Mainz / GSEFM Frankfurt, where he has also been a member of the Gutenberg Academy. His research interests lie in the economic interaction between developed and developing countries, with a particular focus on drivers and effects of capital flows and the global production structure and their effects on public budgets and growth in developing countries. He also works on the determinants of popular attitudes towards economic globalization and how these differ between the developed and the developing world.

Erika Dayle Siu is a Tax Attorney and Policy Consultant and advises on tax, transparency, and 
development issues. She has worked for the United Nations, the International Centre for Taxation and 
Development, and other NGOs and academic institutions. Erika currently directs the Secretariat for the 
Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation. Her research with the UN 
Tax Committee focused on proposing recommendations for the UN Model Convention on the taxation 
of profits from emissions trading. At the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, Erika worked on a 
project to exchange successful tax practices among developing country tax administrations and facilitate 
technical cooperation partnerships through South-South cooperation. Erika is a graduate of Yale 
University Divinity School and New York University School of Law Graduate Tax Program. She is 
member of the New York and New Jersey Bar.

David Spencer is an attorney in New York, specializing in tax law and banking law.  David was Senior Advisor to the Tax Justice Network from 2005 to 2012. He is the author of more than one hundred articles on international tax and finance, published in the International Financial Law Review (London), and Journal of International Taxation (New York),  and he is a member of the Board of Advisors of both Journals.  David was an early proponent of automatic exchange of tax information by the  international use of taxpayer identification numbers.  (“Capital Flight and Bank Secrecy: The End of An Era?,” International Financial Law Review, May 1992). David is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and has a Masters in Tax Law from the New York University Law School Graduate Program in Taxation. 

Vito Tanzi is a former Professor and Chairman of the Economics Department, American University, Washington D.C. He also served as Head of the Tax Policy Division and later as Director of the Fiscal Affairs Department at the IMF. From 1990-1994 he served as President of the International Institute of Public Finance (IIPF). Since 2000 he has been active as a Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; State Secretary for Economy and Finance in the Italian Government; and a senior consultant to the Inter-American Development Bank. He received many awards including Honorary president of the IIPF and Honorary degrees from the University of Cordoba (Argentina), the University of Liege (Belgium), the University of Torino (Italy), the University of Lisbon (Portugal), and the University of Bari (Italy). An economic effect (the Tanzi effect) is named after him.

Matti Ylönen is on Fulbright-Schuman exchange at Yale. Having followed tax justice and global economic governance issues for more than 10 years, he is currently writing his PhD in World Politics (University of Helsinki) on corporations as political agents. In his home country Finland, he has published several books on tax havens, global economic governance, the role of consultants in politics and on sovereign debt crises. His research explores the ways in which corporations exert power over states through their tax planning capacities, and how these powers alter the corporate-state relationship. In October 2015, his co-authored article shared the first prize in the 2nd Annual Amartya Sen competition of Yale University, Global Financial Integrity, and Academics Stand Against Poverty.