INTERNATIONAL TAX: Tax Justice Network chair and its senior adviser quit in 'disenchantment' row.

As published on internationalinvestment.net, Thursday 5 August, 2021.

Tax Justice Network chair John Christensen quit his role with immediate effect this week (2 August) followed today (5 August) by its senior adviser Richard Murphy.

A founding director of the network in 2003, Christensen also served as chief executive at the group until 2016.

In a letter to the network's board of directors he said he was leaving after "several years of mounting frustration and disenchantment" and "the switch away from being primarily a campaigning network to being principally research focused".

This had led to " a situation in which a large part of TJN's staff are engaged in a repetitive cycle of producing the financial secrecy index or the corporate haven tax index on an annual basis".

Longstanding tax haven critic Richard Murphy, Director, Tax Research and Director, Corporate Accountability Network also tendered his resignation today (5 August) as a senior adviser to the Tax Justice Network.

Murphy, who is also visiting professor at Sheffield, City and Anglia Ruskin Universities, said in a letter to its CEO Alex Cobham that "TJN's vision of social justice has been replaced by a desire to perpetuate employment for its staff by the production of ever more meaningless indices"

He said: "And instead of innovating policy solutions to influence debate TJN now ignores those who disagree with it and who it needs to influence, from the OECD onwards.

As for political economy, when once this underpinned TJN's thinking, now any understanding of it appears to be absent."

Murphy added: "Although that puts that issue alongside tax at TJN, where quite extraordinarily there now appears to be no one working at or advising TJN who has ever worked in tax, or accounting, or financial services. That was not true when we began. It's as if TJN has forgotten what it was all about. Actually, that is a perfect summary of the real problem. TJN was set up to campaign for tax justice.

That's a big, complex issue requiring innovation, adept communication and negotiating skills and some real, broadly based, comprehension of the technicalities, none of which TJN now has."

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