Finland money

Finland Scores Poorly in Financial Transparency Benchmark, Watchdog Says | News

Out of 141 countries, Finland ranked 88th in the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index.

According to the Tax Justice Network, the world loses the equivalent of a nurse’s annual salary in a tax haven every second, or 60 times a minute. Image: Tiina Jutila/Yle

Business watchdog group Finnwatch said Finland ranked poorly in the latest financial secrecy index.

The biannual rankings are compiled by the Tax Justice Network, a UK-based advocacy group made up of researchers and activists concerned about tax avoidance and tax havens, among other tax transparency issues. Countries with greater transparency issues are ranked at the top of the index.

While Finland ranked well below countries at the top of the most recent index – including the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong and Luxembourg – Finnwatch said the Nordic country was doing well particularly badly in terms of corporate ownership transparency.

In Finland, Finnwatch explained, data on registers of ownership beneficiaries is not accessible to everyone, and only the largest business owners are listed in the register.

Finnwatch said the arrangement made it more difficult to trace assets of Russian oligarchs under sanctions.

“Investigative journalists and NGOs in Finland have to ask permission to get information from the beneficiary register. Also, the register is difficult to use. To get data from the register, you really need to know what you are looking for”, The Finnwatch tax expert Saara Hietanen said in a statement.

Finnwatch pointed out that transparency gaps increase the risk of corruption and also complicate the investigation and discovery of money laundering and tax evasion.

The organization also noted that companies’ requests for financial statements from the registry are subject to fees and that court rulings on tax matters are not fully public or freely available.