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WADA confirms institutionalized manipulation of the doping control process in Russia
by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), news agencies
 
Dec 2016
 
More than 1,000 Russian athletes competing in summer, winter and paralympic sport were involved in or benefited from an institutional conspiracy to conceal positive doping tests, a report by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said.
 
The report, compiled by Canadian sports lawyer Richard McLaren, provided more details of an elaborate state-sponsored doping scheme operated by Russia.
 
It said there was a systematic cover-up, which was refined at the 2012 Olympics, 2013 world athletics championships and 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and that more than 30 sports, including football, were involved in concealing positive doping samples.
 
"We are now able to confirm a cover-up that dates back until at least 2011 and continued after the Sochi Olympics," McLaren told a news conference on Friday.
 
"It was a cover-up on an unprecedented scale and the second part of this report shows the evidence that increases the number of athletes involved as well as the scope of the conspiracy and cover-up.
 
"We have evidence revealing that more than 500 positive results were reported as negative, including well-known and elite-level athletes, who had their positive results automatically falsified."
 
McLaren said Russia won 24 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze medals at London 2012 and no Russian athlete tested positive.
 
"Yet the Russian team corrupted the London Games on an unprecedented scale, the extent of which will probably never be fully established," he said.
 
"The desire to win medals superseded their collective moral and ethical compass and Olympic values of fair play.
 
"For years international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by the Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived and it is time this stops."
 
Russian officials have said there is no concrete evidence of institutionalised, state-sponsored doping, according to news agencies.
 
Whistleblower Yulia Stepanova, who exposed Russia''s state-backed and systematic doping programme, has denied being a traitor and said being banned for two years was the turning-point.
 
Stepanova, who was given a two-year ban in 2013 for abnormalities in her blood passport, said that suspension made her determined to expose how deep the problems in Russian athletics had actually spread.
 
"I don''t consider myself a traitor. I simply revealed the shameful truth, which our country doesn''t want to confront, and the only reason I told the truth about it all was to try and put a stop to it."
 
Stepanova secretly recorded Russian coaches and athletes describing how they used performance-enhancing drugs.
 
The WADA report added that four Sochi gold medallists had samples with physiologically impossible salt readings, while 12 Russian Sochi medallists had evidence of tampering with the bottles containing their urine samples.
 
The original McLaren report, released in July, was one of two commissioned by WADA which revealed widespread state-sponsored doping in Russian sport.
 
The July report found Moscow had concealed hundreds of positive doping tests in many sports ahead of the Sochi Games and led to a partial ban of Russian athletes competing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.
 
Although Russian track and field athletes and weightlifters were banned from competing at Rio, the International Olympic Committee rejected a blanket ban and let international sports federations decide which athletes should be eligible to compete.


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World’s worst corporate tax havens exposed - report reveals dangerous race to the bottom
by Oxfam, Tax Justice Network
 
December 2016 (Oxfam)
 
Bermuda, the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg are among the world’s 15 worst corporate tax havens, according to new Oxfam research. The report ‘Tax Battles,’ reveals how these tax havens are leading a global race to the bottom on corporate tax that is starving countries out of billions of dollars needed to tackle poverty and inequality.
 
The full list of the world’s worst tax havens, in order of significance are: (1) Bermuda (2) the Cayman Islands (3) the Netherlands (4) Switzerland (5) Singapore (6) Ireland (7) Luxembourg (8) Curaçao (9) Hong Kong (10) Cyprus (11) Bahamas (12) Jersey (13) Barbados, (14) Mauritius and (15) the British Virgin Islands.
 
The UK does not feature on the list, but four territories that the United Kingdom is ultimately responsible for do appear: the Cayman Islands, Jersey, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.
 
Oxfam researchers compiled the ‘world’s worst’ list by assessing the extent to which countries employ the most damaging tax policies, such as zero corporate tax rates, the provision of unfair and unproductive tax incentives, and a lack of cooperation with international processes against tax avoidance (including measures to increase financial transparency).
 
Many of the countries on the ‘world’s worst’ list have been implicated in tax scandals. For example Ireland hit the headlines over a tax deal with Apple that enabled the global tech giant to pay a 0.005 percent corporate tax rate in the country. And the British Virgin Islands is home to more than half of the 200,000 offshore companies set up by Mossack Fonseca - the law firm at the heart of the Panama Papers scandal.
 
Esme Berkhout, tax policy advisor for Oxfam said: “Corporate tax havens are helping big business cheat countries out of billions of dollars every year. They are propping up a dangerously unequal economic system that is leaving millions of people with few opportunities for a better life.”
 
Tax dodging by multinational corporations costs poor countries at least $100 billion every year. This is enough money to provide an education for the 124 million children who aren’t in school and fund healthcare interventions that could prevent the deaths of at least six million children every year.
 
Yet Oxfam’s report shows that tax havens are only part of the problem. Countries across the world are slashing corporate tax bills as they compete for investment. The average corporate tax rate across G20 countries was 40 percent 25 years ago – today it is less than 30 percent.
 
The use of unproductive and wasteful tax incentives is also ballooning – particularly in the developing world. For example, tax incentives cost Kenya $1.1 billion a year – almost double their entire national health budget.
 
When corporate tax bills are cut, governments balance their books by reducing public spending or by raising taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT), which fall disproportionately on poor people. For example, a 0.8 percent cut in corporate tax rates across OECD countries between 2007 and 2014 was partially offset by a 1.5 percent increase in the average standard VAT rate between 2008 and 2015.
 
“There are no winners in the race to the bottom on corporate tax. Ordinary people – particularly the poorest – are paying the price for this reckless competition through increases in personal taxes and cuts to essential services, such as healthcare and education. Governments must work together to stop this crazy race to the bottom on corporate tax and ensure companies pay their fair share,” said Berkhout.
 
Oxfam is calling for all governments to work together to stop tax dodging and the race to the bottom on corporate tax:
 
Stop unfair and unproductive tax incentives and work together to set corporate tax at a level that is fair, progressive and contributes to the collective good.
 
Ensure tax blacklists are based on objective, comprehensive criteria including whether or not a country offers zero rates of corporate tax.
 
Improve tax transparency by requiring all multinational companies to publish financial reports for every country in which they operate, so it is clear what taxes companies are paying and where. http://bit.ly/2gSCz9i http://www.taxjustice.net/


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