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Illicit capital flight from Russia over past 18 years exceeds 211 billion US dollars

February 14, 2013, 11:50 UTC+3

The indicator, according to the researchers, is significantly underestimated

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According to the Global Financial Integrity American research centre, over the past 18 years the share of “illicit” capital outflow from Russia has reached 211 billion US dollars from 782.5 billion US dollars of the total amount of official capital outflow. The indicator, according to the researchers, is significantly underestimated. According to them, the reasons for this are corruption, financial crime and inefficient customs administration in the Russian Federation. Experts also estimated the share of the shadow segment of the Russian economy. According to their calculations, it reaches almost half of the country’s GDP.

According to the GFI analysis, since 1994 more than 211 billion US dollars were taken from Russia illegally, the RBC Daily writes. This is the money that is not registered by any documents. “This flow is the proceeds from crime, corruption, tax evasion,” says the report. Using the World Bank’s calculation system, which includes both declared and undeclared outflows, it turns out that over the past 18 years 782 billion US dollars were taken from the country; 63.8 percent of illegally exported funds left Russia through unrecorded wire transfers. Another popular way is making fictitious transactions and machinations with documents in the sphere of foreign trade. The report authors explained that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, many Russian state corporations were creating abroad “pocket” banks and offices for the export-import operations.

The main reason for the current situation, according to the experts, is inefficiency of state control in Russia, mostly customs, “the weakness of which supports the shadow economy,” the Kommersant newspaper writes. However, a significant amount of illicit capital transactions is characteristic not only of the Russian economy - from China, according to GFI estimates, more than 450 billion US dollars outflow annually this way; among the leaders here (the Russian Federation in fifth in the rating) are also listed India, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines and Nigeria.

The experts also estimated the share of the shadow segment of the Russian economy, the Novye Izvestia daily emphasises. According to the GFI estimates, the volume of the shadow economy in Russia, which includes, among other things, drug trafficking, arms trafficking and human trafficking has reached 46 percent of GDP over the research period.

Director of the Institute of Globalisation Problems Mikhail Delyagin, quoted by the publication, believes that the figures cited in the report are quite plausible. “I am very cautious about foreign analyses of Russia, especially when politically sensitive indicators are given, but in this case 46 percent seems to me even rather optimistic for today’s Russia,” the economist said. “First, because we have huge corruption level that overwhelms everything. Second, we have the oppressive system of taxation in which the level of taxation of the country’s population at large is extremely high. In this situation, a significant part of the population is artificially turned into criminals. At the same time for the rich people who, given their incomes could pay, all kinds of loopholes were created. In particular, they pay compulsory social security contributions at a lower rate.”






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