The Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR) welcomes the publication of the Pandora Papers. This data leak provides yet more proof that the rich and powerful are able to use a complex system of offshore structures to avoid paying taxes. This is a system only available to the few, not the many. CICTAR has shown through our reports that this is not simply a matter of badly behaved powerful individuals. The same system is also used by companies to avoid paying taxes, often in countries where they win lucrative government contracts.

It is a testament to the hard work, determined effort and meticulous attention to detail of hundreds of journalists and researchers that this information is now out in the open and available for all to scrutinise, and we expect tax authorities across the globe to do exactly that.

CICTAR has repeatedly argued that increased transparency is essential to understanding how these schemes work, including the impact they have on public services and employment conditions. Yet as these leaks reveal, even some of those who have been appointed to reform the system are benefiting from it. This has to change.

The Pandora Papers, like similar data leaks before them, show that the era of financial secrecy is over. It is neither possible nor acceptable for individuals and companies to continue to hide their dodgy dealings and use of legal loopholes.

These revelations will cause outrage. But it is time to go beyond outrage. The global pandemic has shifted the terrain and shown decisively that we cannot continue with business as usual. Unions and civil society organisations must play a lead role in reforming this system, and CICTAR will continue to support them in promoting practical actions to bring about change.