Vanuatu’s Efforts to Enter the First-Rank of Off-Shore Laundering Centers

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Wednesday, August 1, 2001
Trifin J. Roule and Jason Venner
Since the 1970s, Vanuatu, a Southern Pacific island chain with a population of some 190,000 citizens, has been a well-known tax haven. The economy of Vanuatu, which relies largely on sugar cane production, manganese and gold mining, tourism, and tuna fishing, is augmented by an off-shore sector, which accounts for 15 percent of the annual GDP. The largely unregulated off-shore sector received little public criticism from Western regulators until several financial scandals in the late 1990s uncovered immense amounts of illicit funds, especially from Ukraine and the Russian Federation, which were routinely transferred through off-shore accounts in Vanuatu, and deposited in financial institutions in the United States and Western Europe…[more]