More than $12tn (£8tn) has been siphoned out of Russia, China and other emerging economies into the secretive world of offshore finance, new research has revealed, as David Cameron prepares to host world leaders for an anti-corruption summit.
A detailed 18-month research project has uncovered a sharp increase in the capital flowing offshore from developing countries, in particular Russia and China.
The analysis, carried out by Columbia University professor James S Henry for the Tax Justice Network, shows that by the end of 2014, $1.3tn of assets from Russia were sitting offshore. The figures, which came from compiling and cross-checking data from global institutions including the International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, follow the Panama Papers revelations of global, systemic tax avoidance.
Chinese citizens have $1.2tn stashed away in tax havens, once estimates for Hong Kong and Macau are included. Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia – all of which have seen high-profile corruption scandals in recent years – also come high on the list of the worst-affected countries.
Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey, told the Guardian his research underlined the fact that tax-dodging was not the only motivation for using tax havens – criminals and kleptocrats also made prolific use of their services to keep their wealth secret and their money safe.