Author Topic: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System  (Read 106975 times)

Junkenstein

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #330 on: April 16, 2013, 12:43:59 pm »
http://www.icij.org/blog/2013/04/highlights-offshore-leaks-so-far

More good Stuff, Please note that several hyperlinks are embedded in the originals.

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For the past 15 months, journalists from over 40 countries have worked together to shed light on this issue.

And here’s some of what they found:

Five directors of Banco Amambay, owned by Paraguay's leading candidate in this month's presidential election, Horacio Manuel Cartes, created a secret bank in the Cook Islands with no building and no staff.
 
Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan is accusing his once-trusted tax adviser of absconding with $34 million he helped Hogan hide offshore in Switzerland.
 
Clariden Bank, part of Credit Suisse, sought highly-secretive structures and pushed offshore service providers to bypass anti-money laundering checks for its wealthy clients.
 
Baron Elie de Rothschild, the late guardian of the French banking dynasty, built an elaborate offshore empire in the Cook Islands involving at least 20 trusts and 10 holding companies, while managing to keep all assets and beneficiaries secret. One of the entities was named, appropriately, Anon Trust.
 
Two members of India’s Parliament, the world’s largest producer of cut roses and other major business owners are among hundreds from the subcontinent revealed to have links to the offshore world, prompting a government investigation.
 
Shares of an offshore company were held in trust for the daughters of one of Africa's most popular pastors, televangelist Rev. Chris Oyakhilome.
 
Dutch banking giants ING and ABN Amro helped set up offshore companies in faraway island states for their clients.
 
Billionaires with ties to former dictator Suharto, two sons of former president B. J. Habibie and nine of the Indonesia's richest 11 families, appear in the secret records of offshore trust and company owners.
 
Fabio Ghioni, the former head of information security at Telecom Italia who was later convicted of hacking the data of 4,000 people, had an offshore company called Constant Surge Investments Limited. Internal documents reveal he was advised by the Singapore branch of Deutsche Bank to do business with Portcullis TrustNet. When interviewed by L’Espresso, he denied being the beneficial owner of CSIL: “I don’t know anything of this. I don’t even know where the Virgin Islands  are located.”
 
Zurich-based law firm Lenz & Staehlin has aided some of Europe's richest families park their wealth offshore. “People don’t set up this kind of structure out of altruism, but to gain a profit,” says Christian Wanner, one of Switzerland’s leading authorities on tax collection.
 
Scandal-buffeted Pakistani politician Moonis Elahi, whose father Chaudhry Pervez Elahi has just stepped down as deputy prime minister, owned a secret company in the British Virgin Islands. The company's existence wasn't unearthed during a recent government probe into Moonis Elahi involving illegal payments in an alleged land scam.
 
Top Malaysian politicians and their families, including former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's son Mirzan and current cabinet minister Raja Nong Chik Zainal Abidin, are among prominent Malaysians with secretive offshore companies housed in Singapore and the British Virgin Islands.
 
"You’re certainly going to be using a nominee director if you’re doing anything bad," says university professor Jason Sharman. The CIA, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the company which shipped arms to Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, the former Kazakhstan banking head Mukhtar Ablyazov, and alleged spy Paul William Hampel are some of the clients who have used nominee directors and offshore entities to conceal their activities and identities.
 
Among the 4,000 U.S. individuals listed in the records, at least 30 are American citizens accused in lawsuits or criminal cases of fraud, money laundering or other serious financial misconduct, an analysis by the Washington Post and ICIJ found. Offshore trusts and companies set up in the South Pacific and Caribbean are the common factor in several prominent financial scandals in the U.S.
 
Offshore companies are ridiculously easy to establish and effective at concealing your identity. Watch our animated video explaining the process.

Two major French banks, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole, oversaw the creation of a large number of totally opaque offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa and Singapore from the late 1990s until the end of the 2000s for clients in search of secrecy and lower tax rates.
 
We take an in-depth look at the offshore service provider Portcullis TrustNet. The firm is used by many of the world’s major banks, such as UBS, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse subsidiary Clariden, and by the world’s biggest auditing firms, such as PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and KPMG, to provide secrecy for their wealthy clients -- mostly from China, Taiwan, Singapore and other East and Southeast Asian nations -- and was implicated in New Zealand’s "winebox affair" scandal of the decade.
 
Gunter Sachs, the late millionaire playboy, businessman and former husband of Bridgette Bardot is revealed to have had an intricate offshore scheme to manage his vast fortune, a scheme that remained inscrutable to the fiscal authorities until the end.
 
Two Americans and one South African are revealed to have reaped $2.5 million dollars from the aborted sales of surplus military helicopters to President Lissouba during the 1997 civil war in the Republic of Congo.
 
François Hollande’s treasurer during the 2012 presidential campaign, businessman Jean-Jacques Augier, is revealed to have investments in the Cayman Islands.
Germany’s largest financial institution, Deutsche Bank, helped its customers maintain more than 300 secretive offshore companies and trusts through its Singapore branch.

New light is shed on a half-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme  in Venezuela that shuffled investor money among a maze of offshore companies, hedge funds and bank accounts stretching from the Cayman Islands to Switzerland and Panama, smoothing the way by funneling bribes to officials in Venezuela.
 
Commonwealth Trust Limited, a BVI-based firm, is revealed to have set up companies involved in the Magnitsky affair, a case that’s strained U.S.-Russian relations and blocked American adoptions of Russian orphans
One of Mongolia’s most senior politicians says he is considering resigning from office after being confronted with evidence that he has an offshore company and a secret Swiss bank account.
 
Newly uncovered documents link Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc, the eldest child of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and now a senior political figure in her own right, to two secretive offshore trusts and an offshore company. The Philippines’ Presidential Commission on Good Government is eager to find out if the entities might contain some of the estimated $5 billion that her father allegedly amassed through corruption.
 
A prominent Canadian lawyer, husband to a Liberal senator, moved CA$1.7 million (US$1.1 million) to secretive financial havens while he was locked in battle with the Canada Revenue Agency over his taxes, according to documents in a massive leak of offshore financial data.
 
A corporate mogul whose business empire has won building contracts worth billions of dollars amid Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s massive construction spree is tied to the president’s family through secretive offshore companies.
 
The prominent Thais listed in secret documents as owners of offshore holdings includes the former wife of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a sitting senator, a former high-ranking defense ministry official, Forbes-listed tycoons, and a former government minister whose assets in the United States are frozen because of her alleged links to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. 
 
Greek citizens who own or direct offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens rarely declare them to Greek tax officials, a review of more than 100 companies shows. Just four out of 107 offshore companies investigated by ICIJ are registered with tax authorities as the law usually requires, particularly when the firms hold assets or conduct business in Greece. Officials apparently have no record of the other 103 firms — or whether the owners declared any assets held by these entities or paid taxes on them.

A list containing examples of some of the most high-profile names uncovered in this investigation, along with records of their offshore companies. Those named come in the form of politicians, businessmen, army generals, tycoons, relatives of dictators, and are scattered across 29 different countries.

Finally, for those interested in how ICIJ managed to tackle records cache, the data manager of the project, Duncan Campbell, writes an in-depth explanation of how our journalists were able make sense of the 260 gigabytes of information obtained. Four large databases, half a million text, PDF, spreadsheet, image and web files were dissected to reveal over 130,000 records on the people and agents who run, own, benefit from or hide behind offshore companies.


Also taking bets on how long these guys last until a wikileaks situation arises.
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Cain

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #331 on: April 16, 2013, 03:03:08 pm »
The thing is, the City of London is one of the biggest tax havens in the world.

When you understand how the City of London corporation works, you understand how British finance and politics intersect.  And you understand why this country will never stand up to reckless bankers.

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #332 on: April 16, 2013, 03:16:01 pm »
The thing is, the City of London is one of the biggest tax havens in the world.

When you understand how the City of London corporation works, you understand how British finance and politics intersect.  And you understand why this country will never stand up to reckless bankers.

This sounds interesting. Any possibility it can be distilled down to bullet points for a hypothetical audience that was, say, borderline retarded with a short attention span and scottish?
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Junkenstein

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #333 on: April 16, 2013, 03:16:32 pm »
Well I'd given up on UK Government actually doing anything (FFS, most government buildings are now owned offshore. And they are rented back to occupant. In essence, every government organisation assists and finances tax dodgers.)

Given the notoriety of London for providing tax efficient solutions, Tax Havens are almost certainly here to stay.

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Junkenstein

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #334 on: April 16, 2013, 03:27:46 pm »
The thing is, the City of London is one of the biggest tax havens in the world.

When you understand how the City of London corporation works, you understand how British finance and politics intersect.  And you understand why this country will never stand up to reckless bankers.

This sounds interesting. Any possibility it can be distilled down to bullet points for a hypothetical audience that was, say, borderline retarded with a short attention span and scottish?

I'll second that request. I'll also guess that one fairly big bullet is PFI
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_finance_initiative

If that isn't one of the biggest, most blatant cons in the UK I'm not sure what is.

PFI was wonderful on paper. Private firms take Government money to do things and then charge the government for ongoing service provisions. As you can imagine, it was a total corrupt fuckup with taxpayers throwing money down a hole for services that never materialised. A lot of cash has vanished, Very little has been accomplished. PFI2 is currently in the works with the intention to do the same all over again under a new name.

In short, PFI is placing your balls in someone else's hands and then asking them to bill you. You'll pay or you'll PAY.

I'm sure there's a shitload of other factors but I think the change you would see from removing Tax Havens, Political parties being given "Free" tax advice by major accountancy firms(PWC/KPMG are two of the worst repeat offenders) and PFI there may even be hope for a saner future.

So, We're fucked.
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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #335 on: April 16, 2013, 03:38:35 pm »
The thing is, the City of London is one of the biggest tax havens in the world.

When you understand how the City of London corporation works, you understand how British finance and politics intersect.  And you understand why this country will never stand up to reckless bankers.

This sounds interesting. Any possibility it can be distilled down to bullet points for a hypothetical audience that was, say, borderline retarded with a short attention span and scottish?

The City of London is it's own private political institution.  Companies who work in the City of London get to vote who runs it.  Most notorious off-shore tax havens, like those in the Caribbean, were set up with English influence and actual pass a lot of their work onto the City of London.  The Cayman Islands etc merely act as an outer ring of a web of international financial transactions, the heart of which is the City of London, where money flows virtually unregulated by UK or international law.

The City bankrolls British politics to ensure it is not interferred with.  Various motions to roll the City into the Greater London Authority, under the Mayor of London, always mysteriously fail.

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #336 on: April 16, 2013, 03:44:45 pm »
I recall hearing some CT folks going on about that one.
it's got legs, huh?

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #337 on: April 16, 2013, 03:48:43 pm »
To a degree, yes.  The book Treasure Islands has a lot of good detail on how the City works.

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #338 on: April 16, 2013, 07:27:59 pm »
The thing is, the City of London is one of the biggest tax havens in the world.

When you understand how the City of London corporation works, you understand how British finance and politics intersect.  And you understand why this country will never stand up to reckless bankers.

This sounds interesting. Any possibility it can be distilled down to bullet points for a hypothetical audience that was, say, borderline retarded with a short attention span and scottish?

The City of London is it's own private political institution.  Companies who work in the City of London get to vote who runs it.  Most notorious off-shore tax havens, like those in the Caribbean, were set up with English influence and actual pass a lot of their work onto the City of London.  The Cayman Islands etc merely act as an outer ring of a web of international financial transactions, the heart of which is the City of London, where money flows virtually unregulated by UK or international law.

The City bankrolls British politics to ensure it is not interferred with.  Various motions to roll the City into the Greater London Authority, under the Mayor of London, always mysteriously fail.

So, in effect, the financial heart of the country is pumping blood anywhere but the UK? Colour me surprised :kingmeh:

Thanks for the info. More fuel for my hate-engine!
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Cain

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #339 on: April 17, 2013, 06:16:43 pm »
The US government is trying to bury this.

Protest and hunger strikes have led to forced feeding, night raids and reporters barred from entering the facility. 

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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #340 on: April 17, 2013, 06:35:37 pm »
The US government is trying to bury this.

Protest and hunger strikes have led to forced feeding, night raids and reporters barred from entering the facility.

I had assumed this was happening.  We are basically North Korea with more food and some toys.
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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #341 on: April 17, 2013, 07:02:08 pm »
Linked article is also most excellent and enlightening:
http://www.historynet.com/war-behind-the-wire-koje-do-prison-camp.htm

Quote
The Korean prisoners of war stood in sullen ranks, disciplined, belligerent, ready for battle even though their only weapons were homemade spears, clubs, and incendiary grenades. Their enemy-also disciplined and far better armed, with bayoneted rifles, tear gas, and tanks-stood ready to assault the POWs and recapture Compound 76 of Camp One, Koje-do, a hilly 150-square-mile island 20 miles off the southeastern coast of Korea. In May 1952, the Korean War continued hundreds of miles to the north, but on Koje-do prisoners were waging war as tenaciously as on Sniper Ridge or Porkchop Hill-and here the Communists were winning. N Modern Western ideas about POWs had developed during the American Civil War. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 transformed these into international law, further refined after World War I in the Geneva "POW Convention" of 1929. That prisoners of war could be a strategic asset was a legacy of Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union, and the Geneva Convention of 1949 defined the ultimate responsibility of a detaining power to return POWs to the nation that put them in uniform. Conferees adopted these revisions because the Soviet Union was holding German and Japanese POWs as slave laborers, reparations for the damage inflicted on Russia in World War II. Even though tens of thousands of non-Germans-largely Soviet citizens-had served in the Wehrmacht and resisted repatriation in 1945 and 1946, the 1949 Convention revisions were largely silent on the right of POWs to refuse repatriation and on the detaining power's right to forcibly repatriate unwilling prisoners.

The Geneva Convention of 1949 assumed that prisoners would want to be liberated or exchanged and did not anticipate that the POWs might actually see themselves as unarmed combatants. Although the convention addressed attempts to escape or to attack other prisoners, it never foresaw prison camp violence on a mass scale directed against camp authorities. It was even more unthinkable that POWs would delay their own repatriation with such attacks, or that POWs refusing repatriation would resort to violent resistance. But even as an armistice loomed in Korea in 1952, prisoners in a U.S. Army-run POW camp were scheming to seize the American who ran the camp, Brig. Gen. Francis T. Dodd, and then extort from him a confession that prisoners were abused on his watch. Indeed, the senior officers of the United Nations Command in Korea were about to get a startling education in a POW war behind the wire.
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Re: News Stories Which Highlight the Structure of the System
« Reply #344 on: April 19, 2013, 06:27:23 pm »
I'm still kind of an anarchist at heart but I will agree that if we want to do the whole reform song and dance, this: "paying any government official minimum wage and making them live in accommodation comparable to the average in their constituency" seems like its not the worst idea in the world.

Great.  Get that through congress/parliament, and we'll talk.

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