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At arm's length

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Science  07 Dec 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6419, pp. 1100-1103
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6419.1100

Summary

A Science investigation of public records and documents known as the Paradise Papers has found that leading research philanthropies—including the Wellcome Trust and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—have invested more than $5 billion in offshore tax and secrecy havens. Some investments, such as those in highly polluting fuels, undermine the groups' charitable goals. Routine use of secretive funds raises questions about accountability and social responsibility. Critics say that when foundations lend their sterling reputations to offshore strategies, they help legitimize lawful but extreme tax avoidance, and provide cover for money laundering. Such practices deprive governments of revenue, worsening economic inequality.