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Title: Money Laundering, Global Financial Instability, and Tax Havens in the Pacific Islands 
Author: van Fossen, Anthony B
Date: 2003
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation: Van Foseen, A. B. 2003. Money Laundering, Global Financial Instability, and Tax Havens in the Pacific Islands. The Contemporary Pacific 15 (2): 237-75.
Abstract: Pacific Islands offshore financial centers (ofcs) are battling against the danger
that international organizations will cut them off from the global financial system.
Since 1999 the image of the region’s tax havens has been most shaped by the
“horror story” of Nauru—the media’s account of how Nauru has been involved
with the Bank of New York and other banks in tens of billions of dollars of Russian
money laundering, tax evasion, and illegal capital flight. In the late 1990s
left-of-center governments led international organizations toward a much more
aggressive attack on offshore financial centers. Soon international organizations
began blacklisting offshore centers and threatening sanctions—with Pacific
Islands being prominent targets. The advent of the conservative Bush administration
in America defused a number of threats to offshore centers from international
organizations, as the United States began to object to Europe’s anti–tax haven
agenda. While the attacks of 11 September 2001 led international organizations
to rebuke offshore centers for helping to finance terrorism, ofc promoters contended
that the anti-ofc campaign had been so weakened and qualified since the
Bush presidency that it might soon collapse. The future of Pacific Islands offshore
centers may rest on the outcome of political struggles in the United States, Europe,
and international organizations. Two things are clear: that the dominant media
image of a number of Pacific Islands states may continue to be shaped by perceptions
of their offshore financial centers (making them targets of moral indignation),
and that their international relations may at times be held hostage to the
issue of their tax havens.
ISSN: 1043-898X
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/13737
Keywords: tax havens, offshore financial centers, money laundering, Pacific Islands, sanctions, international relations, social construction
LC Subject Headings: Oceania -- Periodicals.

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