Nearly US$20 billion flowed illegally out of Myanmar between 1960 and 2013— draining domestic resources, driving the underground economy, exacerbating inequality, and facilitating crime and corruption—according to a new report released today by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington DC-based research and advocacy organization.
Titled “Flight Capital and Illicit Financial Flows to and from Myanmar: 1960-2013,” the study finds that trade misinvoicing—the fraudulent over- and under-invoicing of trade transactions—accounted for the majority of the country’s illicit financial outflows (59.6 percent) and inflows (89.2 percent) over the 54-year period analyzed.
“Myanmar has a very serious problem with illicit financial flows, and curtailing them should be a priority for the government that forms following the forthcoming elections,” noted GFI President Raymond Baker, a longtime authority on financial crime. “Illicit flows have drained billions of dollars from Myanmar’s official economy; this money could have otherwise been used to help the nation’s economy grow. Beyond the direct loss to the economy, these flows are driving the underground economy, fueling crime and corruption, and costing the government significant revenue.”