Mapping the flow

By: Southeast Asia Globe editorial - Posted on: October 16, 2014 | Current Affairs

Campaign group reveals extent of illegal money transfers out of developing countries

An interactive map released by campaign group Global Financial Integrity (GFI) reveals the staggering speed illicit financial outflows – illegal movements of money or capital from one country to another – are leaving developing world countries. The information is compiled from a December 2013 report “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2002-2011”

Screenshot from Global Financial Integrity's website
Screenshot from Global Financial Integrity’s website

“As this report highlights, it is urgent that developing nations be brought fully into the discussion,” said Global Financial Integrity president Raymond W. Baker. The developing world lost $946.7 billion in illicit outflows in 2011, an increase of 13.7% over 2010. The capital outflows stem from crime, corruption, tax evasion, and other illicit activity.

The GFI report draws on data from 144 countries, documenting each country’s rankings and its respective illicit financial flows. Asia accounts for 39.6% of total illicit outflows from developing countries, with four of the top 15 exporters of illicit capital in Southeast Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Thailand was a new entrant to the top 10 in the new data.

The study is the first GFI looked at misinvoicing between developing countries and advanced economies, and then scale up those findings to account for the percent of trade conducted between developing economies. The presented data is the most accurate estimate of the amount of money passing illicitly out of poor countries.

You can view the map and report here