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    The extraordinary range of people using offshore hideaways.

    Records represent the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organisation.

    Gerard Ryle
    The Guardian, Thursday 4 April 2013

    The secret records obtained by ICIJ lay bare an extraordinary range of people using offshore hideaways.

    They include US dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as families of despots, Wall Street swindlers, eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian executives, international arms dealers and a company alleged to be a front for Iran’s nuclear-development programme.

    The leaks illustrate how offshore financial secrecy has aggressively spread around the globe. The records detail offshore holdings in more than 170 territories; this represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organisation.

    To analyse it, ICIJ collaborated with reporters from the Guardian and the BBC in the UK, Le Monde in France, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany, The Washington Post, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and 31 other international media partners.

    Eighty-six journalists from 46 countries used both hi-tech data crunching and traditional reporting to sift through emails and account ledgers covering nearly 30 years.

    “I’ve never seen anything like this. This secret world has finally been revealed,” said Arthur Cockfield, a law professor at Queen’s University in Canada, during an interview with CBC.

    Offshore’s defenders say that most users are legitimate. Offshore centres, they say, allow people to diversify investments, create international ventures and do business in entrepreneur-friendly zones without red tape.

    “Everything is much more geared toward business,” David Marchant, publisher of OffshoreAlert, an online journal, said. “If you’re dishonest, you can take advantage of that in a bad way. But if you’re honest you can take advantage of that in a good way”

    The vast tide of offshore money can disrupt economies. Greece’s fiscal disaster was exacerbated by offshore tax cheating and in the Cyprus crisis, local banks’ assets were inflated by waves of cash from Russia.

    ICIJ’s 15-month investigation found that, alongside perfectly legal transactions, the secrecy and lax oversight offered by the offshore world appears to allow fraud, tax-dodging and political corruption to thrive.

    Anti-corruption campaigners argue that offshore secrecy forces citizens to pay higher taxes to make up for vanishing revenues, while anonymity makes it difficult to track the flow of money. A study by James S Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey & Company, estimates that wealthy individuals have $21-$32tn tucked away in offshore havens – roughly equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined. The offshore world is growing, said Henry, who is a board member of the Tax Justice Network, an advocacy group critical of offshore havens.

    Much of ICIJ’s analysis focused on the work of two major offshore incorporation firms, Portcullis TrustNet and Commonwealth Trust Limited (CTL). Trustnet was founded by Mike Mitchell, a New Zealand lawyer who worked as the Cook Islands’ solicitor general in the early 1980s, built up offshore business in Hong Kong, and sold out in 2004 to Singapore lawyer David Chong, as Singapore became a favoured financial hideaway for clients from Asia.

    Canadian businessman Tom Ward and Texan Scott Wilson set up CTL in 1994 in the British Virgin Islands. They specialised in attracting Russian and east European money. Regulators found that CTL repeatedly violated the islands’ anti-money-laundering laws between 2003 and 2008 by failing to check out its clients. “This particular firm had systemic money-laundering issues,” a BVI financial services commission official said last year.

    Ward said CTL’s vetting procedures had been consistent with local standards, but that no amount of screening could ensure that firms won’t be “duped by dishonest clients”.

    In relation to the second firm, Trustnet, ICIJ identified 30 of their US clients accused in lawsuits or criminal cases of fraud, money laundering or other serious financial misconduct. TrustNet declined to answer our questions.

    In the 1990s, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development began pressuring offshore centres to reduce secrecy, but the effort ebbed in the 2000s as the Bush administration withdrew support, according to Robert Goulder, former editor-in-chief of Tax Notes International. A second “great crusade”, Goulder writes, began when US authorities took on UBS, forcing the Swiss bank to pay $780m in 2009 to settle allegations that it had helped Americans dodge taxes. David Cameron has now vowed to use his leadership of the G8 to help crack down on tax evasion.

    But despite the new efforts, offshore remains a “zone of impunity”, says Jack Blum, a specialist lawyer and former US Senate investigator: “There’s been some progress, but there’s a bloody long way to go.”

    The wolves/vultures are identified.
    Let the fun begin.



    CBC TV “the national” is running a documentation.
    Senator’s husband put $1.7M in offshore tax havens
    Class action lawyer Tony Merchant sought secrecy for trust account
    If you have more information on this story, or other investigative tips to pass on, please email You can also send mail to: CBC Investigations Unit, 205 Wellington St. W., Toronto, Ontario, M5V 3G7


    Massive offshore tax haven account leak includes names of 450 wealthy Canadians
    The names of at least 450 wealthy Canadians are contained on a massive leaked list of offshore tax haven account holders, according to the Washington, DC-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
    The list, taken from a cache 2.5-million leaked digital files, exposes the identities of nearly 130,000 people world-wide with savings stashed in hidden accounts as well as bank sales agents, the ICIJ said in a release that went out Wednesday evening.
    Among the Canadian names is high-profile class action lawyer Tony Merchant, according to the CBC, one of a number of media outlets in several countries that acquired the information from the ICIJ.
    According to The Guardian, one of the media groups participating in the planned reporting of the leak, the confidential information came mainly from the British Virgin Islands. The leak contained two million emails and other documents.
    The leak may be the largest ever of offshore bank data. Over the past six years there have been numerous such files exposed beginning with a computer disk from a Liechtenstein bank sold by a former employee to tax authorities in dozens of countries as well as Canada.
    Similar lists of account holders from UBS, Credit Suisse and HSBC have also been circulating, providing a treasure trove for cash strapped governments particularly in the United States where authorities estimate the country loses US$100-billion a year due to tax payers hiding money in offshore banks.

    After a lengthy investigation, the ICIJ said it found that among the biggest users of offshore banks are “government officials and their families and associates in Azerbaijan Russia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Canada, Mongolia and other countries.”…
    … “I think it’s a good thing, it draw attention,” said Mr. Howlett. “This data comes from relatively small tax havens like the Cook Islands but none of the major ones like the Caymans or Barbados where most of the money is going. So this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
    Mr. Howlett, who said the ICIJ has shared some of its information with him, said the plan is to release the leaked names of account holders gradually over time.

    Identities of the rich who hide cash offshore
    Offshore financial industry leak exposes identities of thousands of holders of anonymous wealth from around the world

    Millions of internal records have leaked from Britain’s offshore financial industry, exposing for the first time the identities of thousands of holders of anonymous wealth from around the world, from presidents to plutocrats, the daughter of a notorious dictator and a British millionaire accused of concealing assets from his ex-wife.
    The leak of 2m emails and other documents, mainly from the offshore haven of the British Virgin Islands (BVI), has the potential to cause a seismic shock worldwide to the booming offshore trade, with a former chief economist at McKinsey estimating that wealthy individuals may have as much as $32tn (£21tn) stashed in overseas havens.
    In France, Jean-Jacques Augier, President François Hollande’s campaign co-treasurer and close friend, has been forced to publicly identify his Chinese business partner. It emerges as Hollande is mired in financial scandal because his former budget minister concealed a Swiss bank account for 20 years and repeatedly lied about it.
    In Mongolia, the country’s former finance minister and deputy speaker of its parliament says he may have to resign from politics as a result of this investigation.
    But the two can now be named for the first time because of their use of companies in offshore havens, particularly in the British Virgin Islands, where owners’ identities normally remain secret.
    The names have been unearthed in a novel project by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ], in collaboration with the Guardian and other international media, who are jointly publishing their research results this week.
    The naming project may be extremely damaging for confidence among the world’s wealthiest people, no longer certain that the size of their fortunes remains hidden from governments and from their neighbours.
    BVI’s clients include Scot Young, a millionaire associate of deceased oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Dundee-born Young is in jail for contempt of court for concealing assets from his ex-wife.
    Young’s lawyer, to whom he signed over power of attorney, appears to control interests in a BVI company that owns a potentially lucrative Moscow development with a value estimated at $100m.
    Another is jailed fraudster Achilleas Kallakis. He used fake BVI companies to obtain a record-breaking £750m in property loans from reckless British and Irish banks.

    As well as Britons hiding wealth offshore, an extraordinary array of government officials and rich families across the world are identified, from Canada, the US, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, China, Thailand and former communist states.
    The data seen by the Guardian shows that their secret companies are based mainly in the British Virgin Islands.
    Sample offshore owners named in the leaked files include:
    • Jean-Jacques Augier, François Hollande’s 2012 election campaign co-treasurer, launched a Caymans-based distributor in China with a 25% partner in a BVI company. Augier says his partner was Xi Shu, a Chinese businessman.
    • Mongolia’s former finance minister. Bayartsogt Sangajav set up “Legend Plus Capital Ltd” with a Swiss bank account, while he served as finance minister of the impoverished state from 2008 to 2012. He says it was “a mistake” not to declare it, and says “I probably should consider resigning from my position”.
    • The president of Azerbaijan and his family. A local construction magnate, Hassan Gozal, controls entities set up in the names of President Ilham Aliyev’s two daughters.
    • The wife of Russia’s deputy prime minister. Olga Shuvalova’s husband, businessman and politician Igor Shuvalov, has denied allegations of wrongdoing about her offshore interests.
    •A senator’s husband in Canada. Lawyer Tony Merchant deposited more than US$800,000 into an offshore trust.
    He paid fees in cash and ordered written communication to be “kept to a minimum”.
    • A dictator’s child in the Philippines: Maria Imelda Marcos Manotoc, a provincial governor, is the eldest daughter of former President Ferdinand Marcos, notorious for corruption.
    • Spain’s wealthiest art collector, Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, a former beauty queen and widow of a Thyssen steel billionaire, who uses offshore entities to buy pictures.
    • US: Offshore clients include Denise Rich, ex-wife of notorious oil trader Marc Rich, who was controversially pardoned by President Clinton on tax evasion charges. She put $144m into the Dry Trust, set up in the Cook Islands.
    It is estimated that more than $20tn acquired by wealthy individuals could lie in offshore accounts. The UK-controlled BVI has been the most successful among the mushrooming secrecy havens that cater for them.
    The Caribbean micro-state has incorporated more than a million such offshore entities since it began marketing itself worldwide in the 1980s. Owners’ true identities are never revealed.
    Even the island’s official financial regulators normally have no idea who is behind them.
    The British Foreign Office depends on the BVI’s company licensing revenue to subsidise this residual outpost of empire, while lawyers and accountants in the City of London benefit from a lucrative trade as intermediaries.
    They claim the tax-free offshore companies provide legitimate privacy. Neil Smith, the financial secretary of the autonomous local administration in the BVI’s capital Tortola, told the Guardian it was very inaccurate to claim the island “harbours the ethically challenged”.
    He said: “Our legislation provides a more hostile environment for illegality than most jurisdictions”.
    Smith added that in “rare instances …where the BVI was implicated in illegal activity by association or otherwise, we responded swiftly and decisively”.
    The Guardian and ICIJ’s Offshore Secrets series last year exposed how UK property empires have been built up by, among others, Russian oligarchs, fraudsters and tax avoiders, using BVI companies behind a screen of sham directors.
    Such so-called “nominees”, Britons giving far-flung addresses on Nevis in the Caribbean, Dubai or the Seychelles, are simply renting out their names for the real owners to hide behind.
    The whistleblowing group WikiLeaks caused a storm of controversy in 2010 when it was able to download almost two gigabytes of leaked US military and diplomatic files.
    The new BVI data, by contrast, contains more than 200 gigabytes, covering more than a decade of financial information about the global transactions of BVI private incorporation agencies. It also includes data on their offshoots in Singapore, Hong Kong and the Cook Islands in the Pacific.

    Global media investigation finds 612 Indian firms in tax havens

    Imee Marcos tied to secret offshore trust

    MANILA, Philippines – Maria Imelda “Imee” Marcos Manotoc, the Princeton-educated eldest child of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos and now a senior political figure in her own right, is beneficiary of a secret offshore trust.

    The Philippines’ Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) is eager to find out if the entities connected to Imee Marcos might contain some of the estimated $5 billion that her father allegedly amassed through corruption. He too held offshore accounts, which the Philippine government has sought to freeze.
    Imee Marcos’s role in the offshore entities uncovered by the ICIJ data raises questions on why a public official has need for offshore trusts and corporations in tax havens.
    Philippine law requires public officials to list all assets in annual Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. This statement must include business interests and financial connections, including those located in other countries.
    In addition, the Philippine Constitution requires that “members of the Senate and the House of Representatives shall, upon assumption of office, make a full disclosure of their financial and business interests.”
    But the Sintra Trust and the two other offshore companies linked to Imee Marcos were not listed in the asset disclosure statements that she filed as lawmaker and provincial governor and which were examined by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

    (Go to the link to get juicy details.)



    The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists today launches the next part of a multi-year project aimed at stripping away the biggest mystery associated with tax havens: the owners of anonymous companies.

    Drawing from a trove of 2.5 million secret files, ICIJ led what may be the largest cross border journalism collaboration in history.

    ICIJ’s investigation opens the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and nearly 130,000 individuals and agents, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con artists, and the mega-rich in more than 170 countries.

    Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze is ICIJ’s largest investigative reporting project in its 15-year history.


    Why should this revelation of “off shore accounts” matter to J6P?

    The amount of money in “off shore accounts” is estimated to be $21T.

    That is greater than the USA and Japans economy combined.

    Let’s take an example of how this could be impacting your wallet.

    Lets say a business must pay money under the table to sell its product or to get a contract and that money is hidden in an “off shore accounts”.

    One of two things happen right away.
    The business must raise prices of the goods it sells to cover its “under the table” expense.
    The bid for the contract must be higher. If it happens to be a gov. contract then your taxes must cover that “under the table” expense.

    Since that “under the table” income is in an “off shore account” it cannot be taxed the same as an other company and therefore, YOU as the tax payer must pay more.

    I cannot find any blogger covering this.

    Only main stream media are covering “under the table off shore accounts.”

    Germany Urges Data on Offshore Tax Accounts to Be Surrendered

    “We assume and would welcome if the relevant documents are sent to the competent tax authorities of the states now so that they can quickly start their investigations and subsequently their proceedings,” Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Kotthaus said in an e-mailed statement.

    Fighting tax evasion is beyond the means of individual governments and requires internationally agreed rules and standards, Michael Meister, deputy caucus leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said in an e-mailed statement.


    By KIM SKEEN / CBS NEWS/ April 4, 2013, 11:00 AM

    Report: Big business no stranger to offshore tax havens

    According to a new report from U.S. Public Interest Research Group, 83 of the nation’s 100 largest publicly traded corporations take advantage of these so called tax havens, costing the country billions in lost revenue. “Tax dodging is not a victimless offense,” says U.S. PIRG analyst Dan Smith. “When companies use accounting gimmicks to move their profits to tax haven shell companies, the rest of us have to pick up the tab.”

    The consumer group’s report, entitled “Picking up the Tab 2013,” estimates “tax haven abuse costs the United States approximately $150 billion in tax revenues every year.” That amounts to an average of $1,026 per taxpayer and $3,067 for small businesses, which typically cannot afford to use accounting tricks and may face a competitive disadvantage as a result.

    The U.S. PIRG report also notes that Ugland House, a five-story office building in the Cayman Islands, is the registered address for more than 18,000 companies — yet about half of these firms are U.S. subsidiaries using the location as a post office box.
    Report: World’s rich hide at least $21t offshore
    Top 25 corporate tax dodgers

    Among the major corporations cited in the report for using tax havens are:

    General Electric: …
    Pfizer: …
    Microsoft: …
    Citigroup: …

    U.S. PIRG is urging policymakers to close offshore loopholes and strengthen tax enforcement. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., who is calling for tax code reform, issued this statement: “As this timely report shows, tax haven abuse takes an immense toll on the vast majority of American taxpayers who don’t employ armies of lawyers and accountants to avoid paying the taxes they owe. We can no longer afford the damage these abuses do to the federal budget…”

    The consumer group says tax haven abuse is a growing concern, especially at a time when the government faces sequestration – requiring painful cuts to balance the federal budget. Analyst Smith says, “It is appalling that these companies get out of paying for the nation’s infrastructure, education system, and security that help make them successful.”


    Moonis among owners of secret firms in UK’s Virgin Islands
    April 05, 2013

    Exposed are individuals associated with covert business dealings in the Cook Islands, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Singapore, Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and many other places. US doctors, Greek villagers, Russian executives, shady Wall Streeters, billionaires from Eastern Europe and Indonesia, dealers of international arms and family members of dictators have been able to employ intricate offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art and other assets while gaining tax advantages and anonymity “not available to average people,” the ICIJ points out.

    “A well-paid industry of accountants, middlemen and other operatives has helped offshore patrons shroud their identities and business interests, providing shelter in many cases to money laundering or other misconduct,” the ICIJ reports, adding that ponzi schemers and other mega-fraudsters are among the tricksters who’ve often used “offshore havens to pull off their shell games and move their ill-gotten gains.”
    The ICIJ warns that offshore financial secrecy was to blame for the recent Cyprus debacle and the tax raid on depositors.

    Investigation Reveals Trillions Hidden in Tax Havens

    Bill Black: An international collaboration of investigative journalists has released the names of wealthy individuals stashing as much as three times the American GDP in tax havens 2013-04-05 14:11:33

    small quote

    “The largest financial institutions in the world, if these reports are true, like Deutsche Bank, like UBS, are criminal enterprise, shown to be criminal enterprises again, and they work hand-in-glove with other criminal enterprises, who, again, tend to be the wealthiest, most politically powerful people in many different nations. And they have done this to such a tune that they’ve actually poisoned the global economy. They’ve actually made it incredibly dysfunctional.

    So wait a bit. First reports are always incomplete. And see whether there’s a second report about corporate accounts. And in that case I would predict that U.S. corporations will be high up on that list again.

    Well, again, compared to other nations, there’s been more in the United States because the United States was more aggressive in its litigation with Switzerland, so that Switzerland actually has changed a great deal over the last 35 years. But of course that simply means you go to the new even more rotten place. And what we’ve seen in these incredible disclosures about the City of London banks, HSBC and Standard Chartered, is that they were happy, eager to be money launderers to the world, and where they literally went to the most violent narcoterrorists in Mexico and created a special relationship to launder their money. So they do, figuratively–we’ve been talking about money and economics, but, you know, certainly figuratively they have immense amounts of blood on their hands as well.

    JAY: Alright. Well, as more of the results of this study are revealed, we’re going to be digging into it further. Thanks very much for joining us, Bill.”


    Thank you for all this information. It has always been pretty obvious to me – without having seen the data. The major beneficiaries of this arrangement have always been the politicians – just like with laws against narcotics – and it is they who have made it so difficult to access the data in the first place.

    The USA makes a big deal out of Switzerland while condoning practises being carried out in places like Delaware – which have precisely the same objectives. Actually, it appears to me that the reason Switzerland was targeted was because it was a threat to Delaware. There is massive money-laundering, tax avoidance and so on going on within the USA, the UK and so on.

    Here, in Australian, politicians are targeting peoples’ pensions to fund their spending. A lot of nonsense is written in the papers about “high earners” getting “tax concessions”. It does not take a genius to realise that the serious money is not in pension funds – it is in trusts and offshore.


    ICIJ’s investigation opens the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and nearly 130,000 individuals and agents, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con artists, and the mega-rich in more than 170 countries.

    Should those files be handed over to the governments?
    Yes! BUT only after receiving a finders fee for each individual documented files. (ie. 15%)

    ‘Tax me if you can’

    Are all Canadian taxpayers treated equally by the taxman?

    George Hoff, W5 Producer
    Published Friday, April 5, 2013 4:00PM EDT

    But 106 other Canadians, much richer and with more resources, took a different approach to their tax obligations. They put their money, a total of more than $100 million, into 47 accounts in the tiny tax haven principality of Liechtenstein.
    The Canada Revenue Agency only found out about the accounts in 2007 after it got the names from files stolen from LGT Trust, a bank owned by the monarch of Liechtenstein.
    A data processor, Heinrich Kieber, at a Liechtenstein bank walked out with discs containing all the information of 3,500 accounts. Kieber then traded the information to the German government for millions and a new identity.
    Germany and Austria used the Kieber files to prosecute their citizens who were evading taxes. Heinz Frommelt, a former Justice Minister in Liechtenstein and now a tax lawyer, said Kieber’s files “have all the data needed to prosecute.”

    Katja Gey, Liechtenstein’s Director of International Financial Affairs confirmed the files “are probably good enough for an investigation or prosecution.”

    What about Canada’s investigation of those Canadians named in Kieber’s files?
    W5 asked the CRA about the 106 Canadians. The CRA says all were audited and 25 were reassessed. After those audits were completed, the back taxes, interest and penalties totaled $22 million but so far only $8 million has been collected.
    The CRA says its investigation is complete and no tax evasion charges will be laid.

    Sen. Percy Downe has followed the Liechtenstein case for six years. He said that “people who hide their money overseas are getting a sweetheart deal and the rest of us have to pay our taxes.”
    Downe pointed to CRA’s own documents. He said, “The CRA has proven in their own internal audit that they go after the easier cases.”
    “The people who are hiding money overseas are intentionally trying to avoid paying taxes,” Downe said.

    After six years, we do not know any of the names of those 106 Canadians who put their money in the LGT Bank. The CRA says privacy laws prevent them from being released.


    Hi Jal,

    Nice topic. Looks like Luxembourg might give it up – on the back of pressure from Germany:

    From Reuters via yahoo:
    Luxembourg says willing to ease banking secrecy – paper

    BERLIN (Reuters) – Luxembourg is prepared to ease its banking secrecy rules and work more closely with foreign tax authorities, Finance Minister Luc Frieden told a paper, in a comment welcomed by Germany which wants to crack down on tax havens.

    Frieden told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung there was an international trend towards automatically exchanging information about depositors, adding; “We no longer strictly reject this, in contrast to before.”

    “Luxembourg does not rely on clients who want to save tax,” he said.

    Last month’s 10 billion euro bailout of Cyprus, whose banking system was swollen by foreign deposits attracted by low taxes and easy regulation, has put the spotlight on tax havens.

    Austria and Luxembourg are the only European Union states that do not share with other EU members the identities of EU residents with cross-border bank accounts.

    German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he was pleased with the comments from Luxembourg.

    “I welcome every step towards automatic information exchange,” he told the Saarbruecker Zeitung newspaper.

    Amid growing outrage over the scale of tax evasion, Schaeuble said last week Berlin would push the EU to take legal measures against tax havens. The German government this weekend also urged several German publications to hand over details they have obtained on suspected tax cheats.

    (Reporting by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Jason Webb)



    “Offshore leaks”, Swiss version, points finger at 200-300 Swiss lawyers


    Cyprus Suspends Probe Into Who Withdrew Money Early

    In a day full of stunners, we next get news from Cyprus, where a few weeks after the start of the “investigation” into who pulled their cash out of the country’s doomed banking system in advance of the confiscation news on March 16 (and where even the current president was implicated in transferring over €20 milion in family money to London) the parliamentary committee tasked with tracking down the leaks, has suspended its probe.
    As it turns out, it was “all the central bank’s fault”, which was charged with providing the data. The head of the Cypriot parliament’s ethics committee, which was due to look into a list detailing transfers of more than 100,000 euros from the two major banks – Bank of Cyprus and Cyprus Popular Bank – said on Tuesday that the list fell short of what he had requested. “It was with great disappointment and anger that, when we opened the envelope, we realized it contained data for only 15 days even though we had asked for a year,” lawmaker Demetris Syllouris told reporters. “This kind of behavior is unacceptable.”
    This “kind of behavior” also provides a very convient alibi for all those members on the committee who may have incidentally been among the lucky ones channeling funds while the banks were still subject not subject to capital controls. Them, or those who have been generous enough to provide “lobby” funding in order to quickly and quietly crush the inquiry.
    But it gets better. Apparently the reason the central bank limited the list to only those who transferred funds in the two weeks prior to the Cypriot bank default, is that it would result in a “huge volume of information” – something the central bank believed the parliamentary committee would never be able to handle. From Reuters:


    By Yanis Varoufakis, professor of economics at the University of Athens. Cross posted from his blog

    Last November I posted a piece entitled A Small Victory for Press Freedom in Greece’s Struggle against Cleptocracy. That story concerned the courageous decision of Kostas Vaxevanis, one of Greece’s few, valiant investigative reporters, to publish the so-called Lagarde List; the list of Swiss bank account holders that Greece’s political class did its utmost to keep hidden, to pretend that either it never existed or that it had been ‘misplaced’. Since then, Vaxevanis has been arrested by Special Branch officers, was tried in the Greek Courts, was acquitted triumphantly, and, more recently, awarded one of international journalism’s top awards.

    Claudius says:
    April 19, 2013 at 6:18 am
    It should also be remembered there’s another other hero in this story as well as another villain.
    The other hero is the source of Madame Lagarde’s List, Hervé Falciani, the computer services specialist with HSBC Private Bank (Suisse) N.A. He’s the one whom downloaded the list.
    The other villain (other than former finance minister Papaconstantinou, whom is currently facing tria and ten years in prison for allegedly removing the names of three of his relatives from the list, then “admitting” to losing the original data, but then found it and was able to pass “another copy” to his successor) is Evangelos Venizelos (leader of Greece’s socialist Pasok party). Venizelos, whom eventually admitted to having held the list but has failed to produce it (so far) is sitting on the investigating committee and the reason for this is the back story.

    However, the Greek department of Justice believe that several of the names on the ‘Lagarde List’ would show deposited sums from German arms supplier Siemens (likely bribes) to Venizelos (and other politicians) and business elites Sophocles Priniotakis D. Siafaka, Maria-Christina Makrodimou, Marios Katsikas, Panagiotis Voila – all suspected of depositing large sums into HSBC Zurich during October 2010, when Siemens illegally paid into political party funds and gave bribery payments to secure government contracts.

    Madame Lagarde’s List,15772.0.html

    Journalist  Kostas Vaxevanis published the Lagarde List with more than 2000 politicans and very powerful people from greece. Because this list needs the most possible impact the wikileaks forum will provide you the full list with all names of greek people.

    Here is an article again for you: (go to the link)



    If you are interested in following the money, go to the link.
    Some Quotes

    US Lets Swiss Banks, Accused of Aiding Tax Fraud, Avoid Prosecution with Fines

    James Henry: Swiss banks are negotiating fines to avoid prosecution, while billions of dollars continue to be hidden away from taxes –   April 26, 13

    I think what the Swiss bankers really fear most is jail time. That’s what changes their behavior. You know, the fines of UBS and HSBC that we’ve seen are less than 5 percent of their corporate profits, and those aren’t really being paid by the shareholders of those banks anyway. They’re shifted to customers and clients. And, you know, that really is not going to change their behavior.

    So this notion of paying money, it kind of reeks of the U.S. justice for sale.
    And Switzerland in fact is the leading haven in terms of laundering money for public officials, for kleptocrats from, you know, developing countries. Like we’ve seen Mubarak having $700 million on deposit in Swiss banks. You know, the Gaddafis and the Marcoses and a long, endless list of dictators have parked their money there.

    JAY: This list of 4,000 clients of UBS that was handed over to U.S. authorities, is there any indication they’ve actually gone after this 4,000?

    HENRY: They’ve gone after a good number of them. But the biggest list on the block here is the one that’s sitting in Spain right now. It’s a whistleblower who left HSBC Geneva back in 2008, walked out with information on 79,000 clients from all over the world. And the Swiss have asked for him to be extradited from Spain, where he was detained after they put out an Interpol arrest warrant for him. And so the guy’s name is Falciani. And he’s facing extradition right now. And Spain is trying to decide what to do about it. It’s a very political issue. France has said it wants him back. You know, the U.S. didn’t really respond to his request to go to the United States.

    JAY: Now, this list you’re talking about, is this connected to the story we talked about last week or so? This international consortium of journalists was working on the offshore tax havens.

    HENRY: No. The ICIJ information is completely different. That had to do with BDI and Singapore.

    We’re in a festival of lists right now. I think in many ways the Falciani list is much more important if it comes out. It’s now only in the possession of investigators in Spain and in France, and probably the U.S. has a copy. But because the people involved were much more senior and many of them are PEPs, politically exposed public officials, this list, I think, is going to be much more important than the one that came out of the corporate registry leak from BDI and Singapore.


    More info.
    This time its luxembourg

    Wolf Richter: Luxembourg Is Not The Next Cyprus, Not Yet, But….
    Depending on how and when you measured it, Cyprus’s bank assets were roughly 800% of GDP. Luxembourg’s are roughly 2500% of GDP. Richter tells us that 38% of the Luxembourg economy is banking.

    It has 141 banks – bank companies, not ATMs. One bank per 3,808 people. Most of them do private banking. The financial sector added 38% to GDP in 2010 and contributed 30% to the country’s tax revenues, according to the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association (ABBL). All due to bank secrecy and tax laws. But suddenly, after Cyprus had been massacred, Luxembourg buckled.
    With the big German guns, and the smaller guns from other nations, swinging in its direction, Luxembourg agreed to participate in an international automatic data-sharing arrangement that would send banking data of foreign clients to their countries, starting in 2015.

    It must be to give time for the depositors to make other banking arrangements.


    More info in the link.
    Billionaire Tax Haven Liechtenstein Loses on Bank Reforms
    By David de Jong & Robert LaFranco – May 1, 2013 9:00 PM PT

    Tethered to the Swiss currency and boasting stable banking and judicial systems, Liechtenstein allows for the rapid creation of foundations and trusts that are controlled by boards and professional trustees and are owned by unidentified individuals or families.

    Liechtenstein was further encouraged to change its stance on client secrecy after data was stolen from its largest bank, LGT Group, which is owned by the principality’s ruling family. The data was used by Germany to prosecute tax evaders in 2008. Former Deutsche Post AG (DPW) Chief Executive Officer Klaus Zumwinkel was convicted of tax evasion and received a two-year suspended prison sentence and a penalty of 1 million euros ($1.25 million).

    The European nation, which is one-20th the size of Rhode Island, remains a place favored by billionaires to stash the holding companies and investment entities that control their assets. IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, the world’s fifth-richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, controls the company’s intellectual property rights through a Liechtenstein foundation.

    Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, chairman of Amsterdam-based food trader Louis Dreyfus Holding, the world’s largest cotton and rice dealer, owns 65 percent of the company through her family’s Liechtenstein-based holding company Akira. She has a $5.9 billion net worth.
    Iris Fontbona, the matriarch of Chile’s richest family, controls their $15.7 billion copper fortune through holding companies overseen by several Liechtenstein-based foundations.

    A small part of the $15.2 billion fortune controlled by Texas billionaire Elaine T. Marshall, 70, is based in Liechtenstein, where her late husband, E. Pierce Marshall, started a foundation for their grandchildren, according to his will. She controls almost 15 percent of Koch Industries Inc., the second-largest closely held company in the U.S.


    … The move also extends to some accounts held by trusts.

    More work for the lawyers. Great news for the City of London as they can now claim that it has all been “cleaned up.”

    IMHO, the whole thing is a farce designed to increase the revenues of people like PWC


    I know that some are interested in “follow the money”.

    It helps us poor folks understand how our economic and social system is operating.

    Here is the latest article that I found.

    The Real Cypriot “Blueprint” – How To Confiscate $32 Trillion In “Offshore Wealth”

    Commenting on


    James  S.  Henry  
    Senior  Advisor/  Global  Board  Member  
    Tax  Justice  Network  
    July  2012  


    The 139-country focus group: who are the real debtors?
    We have focused on a subgroup of 139 mainly low-­middle income “source” countries for which the World Bank and IMF have sufficient external debt data.
    Our estimates for this group underscore how misleading it is to regard countries as “debtors” only by looking at one side of their balance sheets.
    Since the 1970s, with eager (and often aggressive and illegal) assistance from the international private banking industry, it appears that private elites in this sub-­group of 139 countries had accumulated $7.3 to $9.3 trillion of unrecorded offshore wealth in 2010, conservatively estimated, even while many of their public sectors were borrowing themselves into bankruptcy, enduring agonizing “structural adjustment” and low growth, and holding fire sales of public assets.


    Stop the bitching.

    You know that those who made the system made it to their advantage, with the help of accountants and lawyers..

    More and more companies are stashing their cash offshore, and they’re doing it at alarming rates. Why? Put simply, it’s about eluding the tax man.

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