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WEF19 Corruption, inequality, tax fraud – and Switzerland

Anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth calls on Switzerland to be tougher on tax havens and says growing populism in many countries means that it will increasingly fall to the private sector to tackle corruption. caught up with the founder of the Basel Institute on Governance external linkduring his 12th visit to the annual general meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. 

He recalled attending the WEF more than a decade ago to launch the Partnering for Anti-Corruption Initiative. Participants “thought my colleagues and I were clowns” for talking about corruption, he said. The initiative is now one of the longest-standing CEO-led collaborations at WEF. 

But Pieth warned of new concerns in the fight against corruption, with the rise of populist governments in Brazil and elsewhere.

People believe populist governments will solve all their problems, he tells Jessica Davis Plüss, but “the real tragedy is that many are the worst of crooks”.

In this context, he said tackling corruption and inequality is increasingly going to be the responsibility of companies. While Switzerland has been known for being a tax haven, he says the country has had no choice but to support more tax transparency.

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