Switzerland. Luxembourg. The Cayman Islands. As with most lists of secretive tax havens, a new ranking from the Tax Justice Network (TJN) includes all of the usual suspects. But at the top of the list is a surprising entry: Delaware.

TJN describes itself as an “independent organisation launched in the British Houses of Parliament.” Its ranking of “secrecy jurisdictions” takes into account both opacity and scale. Therefore, although TJN considers Switzerland more opaque than Delaware, the scale of cross-border financial activity that flows through the US state gives it a higher score in the overall index. That, and the state’s “commitment to corporate secrecy, and resolute lack of cooperation and compliance with international norms,” according to TJN.

Delaware often struggles for attention but this is not the sort of accolade it will be happy to receive.

TJN tax havens 11-02-09