Capital city: Monrovia
Currency: Liberian dollara (LRD)
Population: 4.7 million
GDP $3.879 billion
Liberia, officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its west, Guinea to its north and Ivory Coast to its east. In 1822, the Republic of Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society (ACS), who began sending black volunteers to the Pepper Coast to establish a colony for freed blacks. The country declared its independence on July 26, 1847 and promulgated a constitution (based on the United States Constitution).
Liberia scored a 3.3 on a scale from 10 (highly clean) to 0 (highly corrupt) on the 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index. When dealing with public-facing government functionaries 89% of Liberians say they have had to pay a bribe (the highest national percentage in the world according to the organization’s 2010 Global Corruption Barometer).
Due to its status as a flag of convenience, Liberia has the second-largest maritime registry in the world behind Panama. It has 3500 vessels registered under its flag accounting for 11% of ships worldwide.
Since the late 1940s Liberia has been running a tax haven with laws more secretive than Panama’s. Secret companies have been used to hide ill-gotten money from drugs, corruption, and terrorism. Under the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index, Liberia had a secrecy score of 83 out of a maximum of 100. For a few hundred dollars, and in a matter of hours online, anyone in the world can set up a tax-free Liberian company that offers total anonymity to its owner.
"You’d be stupid not to try to cut your tax bill and those that don’t are stupid in business"
- Bono: U2