I know and, to be honest quite like Pascal St Amans, the head of tax at the OECD. So it was pretty disappointing to see him making a bit of a fool of himself talking to Reuters about the new Tax Justice Network report 'The Price of Offshore Revisited".
He rejected the Tax Justice Network estimate that $21 trillion could be offshore saying:
I was wondering where the equivalent of 450 Bill Gates are hiding from everyone. It looks like the equivalent 20,000 unknown billionaires in the world or 200,000 people with net worth of 100 million.
Now either that's deliberate obfuscation, of it's daft. I hope the former, but even so it's unbecoming. Because we're not saying we've found a whole new load of wealthy people. We're saying we've found that wealthy people hide their wealth offshore - and that as a result many of the estimates of their wealth are underestimated. You needn't look for someone new to explain the data: the data we're presenting explains what people we know about - the very wealthy - actually do.
As a logic check try this data from Jim Henry from TJN USA who wrote the report. A possible distribution of assets by wealth category that could explain $21 trillion offshore is found by looking at the behaviour of various tiers of wealth, as follows:
1. "Oligarch/ politburo/ dictator/ oil sheiks class: Top 100 in the world: 40% of their $4.2 trillion of total financial wealth offshore: average total financial wealth is $42 billion.2. Tier two: "ordinary billionaires: " 2900 in the world: 33% of their $4.33 trillion of total financial wealth is offshore, with an average of $1.5 billion each.3. Tier three: "ultra high net worth:" 117000 that keep 25% of their $6.8 trillion of total wealth offshore, with an average of $58.1 million each.4. Tier Four: 9.86 mm people that keep 20% of their $61.8 trillion of financial wealth offshore, with an average net financial wealth of $6.3 mmOr to summarise this for tiers one to four: these near enough 10 million people might have $18 trillion of offshore financial wealth, out of $21 trillion offshore financial wealth.
Tier Five: 59.8 mm people that keep an average of 6% of their $63.4 trillion of financial wealth offshore, with an average net worth of $1.06 mm