Phantom Menace

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Graph on ‘phantom’ Foreign Direct Investment created by researchers Jannick Damgaard, Thomas Elkjaer, and Niels Johannesen from the University of Copenhagen

A large proportion of the world’s stock of foreign direct investment is “phantom” capital, designed to minimise companies’ tax liabilities rather than financing productive activity, according to research.

Nearly 40 per cent of worldwide FDI – worth a total of $15tn – “passes through empty corporate shells” with “no real business activities”, the study by the IMF and the University of Copenhagen found.

Instead they are a vehicle for financial engineering, “often to minimise multinationals’ global tax bill”, said researchers Jannick Damgaard, Thomas Elkjaer, and Niels Johannesen, who carried out the study.

Nearly two-thirds of Ireland’s inward investment is “phantom”, the IMF study found.

Almost two-thirds of Irish FDI is ‘phantom’ – IMF study (The Irish Times)

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