Crime, corruption and tax evasion costs Thailand an average of $6.43 billion (197 billion baht) per year, according to the authors of a report on illicit financial outflows in the developing world.
The kingdom ranks 13th in the world in a survey by Washington-based non-profit advocacy organisation, Global Financial Integrity (GFI), released this week.
China topped the list on Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2001-2010, with Malaysia in third, the Philippines in sixth, Indonesia in ninth and Brunei 20th.
Thailand was sandwiched between South Africa (12) and Costa Rica (14).
The report tracks the amount of illegal capital flowing out of 150 different developing countries over the 10-year period from 2001 through 2010 and found that Thailand had lost $64.3 billion over this period.
It says that illicit financial outflows cost the developing world $859 billion in 2010, with nearly $6 trillion stolen from poor countries in the decade between 2001 and 2010.
“Astronomical sums of dirty money continue to flow out of the developing world and into offshore tax havens and developed country banks,” said GFI Director Raymond Baker.
“Regardless of the methodology, it’s clear: developing economies are haemorrhaging more and more money at a time when rich and poor nations alike are struggling to spur economic growth. This report should be a wake-up call to world leaders that more must be done to address these harmful outflows.”
Thailand ranked 10th on GFI’s list of top exporters of illegal capital in 2010, losing $12.37 billion. China also topped this list, with Malaysia in second, the Philippines ninth and Indonesia 17th.
“This has very big consequences for developing economies,” said report co-author Sarah Freitas.
“Poor countries lost nearly a trillion dollars that could have been used to invest in healthcare, education, and infrastructure. It’s nearly a trillion dollars [in 2010] that could have been used to pull people out of poverty and save lives.”