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Estimating Illicit Financial Flows: A Critical Guide to the Data, Methodologies, and Findings

Alex Cobham and Petr Janský


Illicit financial flows constitute a global phenomenon of massive but uncertain scale, which erodes government revenues and drives corruption in countries rich and poor. In 2015, the countries of the world committed to a target to reduce illicit flows, as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. But five years later, there is still no agreement on how that target should be monitored—to say nothing of how it will be achieved. The term ‘illicit financial flows’ covers a range of corrupt practices, aimed at obtaining immunity or impunity from criminal law, from market regulation and from tax ... More

Keywords: Illicit financial flows, SDGs, tax evasion, tax avoidance, offshore, trade mis-invoicing, profit shifting, estimates, methodologies, data

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198854418
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198854418.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alex Cobham, author
Chief Executive, Tax Justice Network, UK

Petr Janský, author
Associate Professor in Economics, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic