The Vatican is expected to demand the closure of all tax havens in its official statement, the encyclical, which is released March 18th. The paper has been long awaited but was postponed last year in order to conduct further research into the reasons for the financial crisis.
Last December a Vatican issued policy paper blamed the financial crisis on offshore banking centres such as the channel islands
The paper also blamed offshore banking for its contribution to the global deficit, and for its use in transferring money from poverty stricken to rich countries. According to the Vatican, if taxed at source these funds could be much better utilized in helping the citizens of these underdeveloped countries
The pope’s move coinncides with momentum from developed countries for greater regulation of offshore banking, with Barack Obama in particluar calling for an end to widespread tax evasion by US citizens
Obama’s campaign has been hurt by allegations of tax avoidance by his nominees. It remains to be seen whether the Pope’s squeaky clean image will not likewise be damaged by his lieutenants. It is hard to imagine that that not even a single Cardinal has an offshore company or bank account.