Washington, D.C. — Today the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released “The Pandora Papers,” another blockbuster revelation, based on 11.9 million leaked files.  It discloses U.S. and global billionaires involved in aggressive wealth hiding and tax avoidance.  It reveals, for instance, that South Dakota now rivals opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy.

“It is time for US lawmakers to shut down the hidden wealth system that allows for such aggressive tax avoidance and the sequestering of wealth,” said Chuck Collins, author of The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions, and co-editor of Inequality.org at the Institute for Policy Studies. Over the last two months, Collins has briefed ICIJ journalists on the “wealth hiding” systems in the USA.

“The U.S. has become the weak link in stopping global crime and wealth hiding. States like South Dakota and Delaware have morphed their laws to attract billions, sometimes illicitly obtained, from around the world,” Collins continued. “We in the U.S. should be embarrassed that we’ve become a magnet for kleptocratic funds.”

See article: Salon: “Why billionaires love to park their wealth in places like South Dakota” by Chuck Collins.

Collins’ book points to the role of enablers, what scholars call “the wealth defense industry,” in facilitating the use of dynasty trusts, off-shore tax havens, and anonymous shell companies.  These wealth defenders include accountants, tax attorneys, wealth managers, and family office staff, that aide the super-rich put vast amounts of wealth beyond the reach of tax authorities.  Collins also puts forward a comprehensive plan for shutting down the hidden wealth system.

Collins is available to comment on the latest revelations from the ICIJ Pandora Papers.

Contact chuck@ips-dc.org or Olivia Alperstein at olivia@ips-dc.org or 202-704-9011.

Background Resources:

Book: The Wealth Hoarders at www.wealthhoarders.com.

Interview: with Chuck Collins by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists: “How the world’s richest defend their wealth with help from a dedicated industry.”

IPS Policy Brief: “Dynasty Trusts: How the Wealthy Shield Trillions from Taxation Onshore,” by Kalena Thomhave and Chuck Collins.

Article: The Nation: “How Tax Haven States Enable Billionaires to Hide Trillions” by Chuck Collins.

About the Institute for Policy Studies

For nearly six decades, the Institute for Policy Studies has provided critical research support for major social movements and progressive leaders inside and outside government and on the ground around the United States and the world. As the nation’s oldest progressive multi-issue think tank, IPS turns bold ideas into action through public scholarship and mentorship of the next generation of progressive scholars and activists.


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