Regulators

TJN founders quit as they accuse network of wasting funding

Richard Murphy’s departure from the international campaign that exposes tax avoidance follows that of fellow founding director John Christensen earlier this month

Richard Murphy, a founder of the Tax Justice Network (TJN), has reportedly quit the organisation amid claims that it is wasting its funding.

Murphy’s departure from the international campaign that exposes tax avoidance follows that of fellow founding director John Christensen earlier this month.

According to The Times, the pair have claimed that the group is squandering its funding, which it receives from the European Commission and the Norwegian Government, on bureaucracy and executive pay increases.

Murphy reportedly told Alex Cobham, the network’s new chief executive, that the group’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 that it “now appears to be no one working at or advising TJN who has ever worked in tax, or accounting, or financial services”.

Murphy then added: “It has been the failure to offer solutions, and your preference to hide behind data collation and analysis, that has led to the crisis currently convulsing TJN.

“Because you have eliminated all knowledge of tax and political economy within it there is nothing it can now say that is of use. TJN is now a hindrance to tax justice, and can no longer play a useful leadership role.”

The claims follow an earlier letter sent by Christensen to the TJN that highlighted a “toxic and dysfunctional environment” at the network.

In a statement to The Times, the TJN said: “We are disappointed to see recent attempts by some of Tax Justice Network’s 2003 founders to subvert our current strategy process.

“Founder’s syndrome is a well-known problem that has faced many organisations as they grow and professionalise.”

It added: “The behaviour here goes beyond what might be considered normal even in that context, however, creating a false impression of our work and violating the trust and right to a safe working environment of our staff and members.

“We condemn any attempt to misrepresent and coerce discussion within the Tax Justice Network, to bully opposing views or to claim sole ownership of the tax justice movement.”

Accountancy Today has contacted the TJN for further comment.

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