Panama Papers Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records

Journalists should stop describing Telegram as an encrypted messaging app. The encryption is opt-in. WhatsApp encrypts by default!
Panama Papers law firm Mossack Fonseca doesn’t use STARTTLS to encrypt emails. Safe to assume most big govs have been reading their emails. What do the Army, FBI & Panama Papers’ firm Mossack Fonseca have in common? Their email servers don’t use crypto.
Law firms: You don’t want to be like Mossack Fonseca. Among other things, ask your IT dept to encrypt your emails.

This is much worse than the Panama Papers: How America became a world leader in tax avoidance No Americans have been implicated in the stunning document trove detailing widespread global corruption — yet. America is the 2nd-easiest country in the world to obtain an anonymous shell corporation account (1st is Kenya)

So why does BBC have a shell company registered in tax haven Netherlands with Intertrust, a company specializing is tax avoidance?

2011 As Clinton pushed Panama deal amid warnings, Sanders opposed it citing tax haven/secrecy

Sanders warned of a Panama tax-haven fiasco years ago but no one would listen “Free Trade Agreement”? #PanamaPapers

With scandals in Russia, China, UK, Iceland, Ukraine, and more, perhaps a new rule: if you’re in charge of a country, keep your money in it.

PM of Iceland resigns. Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson resigns  Iceland’s PM resigns after nearly 10% of the country’s population protested his involvement in PanmaPapers after Panama leak.

Governments around the world are dealing with at least a $330 billion annual shortfall from tax avoidance/evasion.

EXPOSED: Obama/Clinton pushed Panama pact amid warning it would intensify secrecy/tax fraud

HOW REPORTERS PULLED OFF THE PANAMA PAPERS, THE BIGGEST LEAK IN WHISTLEBLOWER HISTORY Reporter talking to #PanamaPapers source used tools “like” Threema, Signal, PGP, switching often & deleting history.

Leaked documents show Mexican president’s friend moved $100 million after corruption probe

Giant Leak of Offshore Financial Records
Exposes Global Array of Crime and Corruption  Millions of documents show heads of state, criminals and celebrities using secret hideaways in tax havens brought to you by ICIJ · The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Summary of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act of 2011 – Carl Levin

“PANAMA WAS LARGELY A CREATION OF THE U.S.,” SAYS BARNEY WARF, A UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS GEOGRAPHY PROFESSOR WHO STUDIES OFFSHORE BANKING.
Today, he says, “Panama is essentially an extension of the U.S. economy.” It harkens back to the early 20th century, when canal workers were paid in American dollars. In the roaring, free-market friendly 1920s, Panama adopted U.S.-style corporate laws. Some U.S. ships, seeking to avoid Prohibition restrictions against serving alcohol onboard, registered in Panama instead. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration was alarmed to find out that, as the U.S. worked to dig itself out of the Great Depression, wealthy Americans were using Panama as a tax haven.

Dirty Little Secrets Mossack and his business partner Ramon Fonseca, are captains in an offshore industry that has had a major impact on the world’s finances since the 1970s. The Panama Paper leak is estimated to be 100 times bigger than Wikileaks. It’s believed to be the largest global investigation in history.

Phrases like secrecy jurisdiction, tax haven and offshore have overlapping meanings, roughly translating as an “escape” from laws in one place to a locale whose allure is zero-to-low tax rates – along with tools to hide one’s identity, according to the Tax Justice Network. The network, an advocacy group that argues that tax havens have exacerbated global poverty and income inequality by giving the corrupt and the rich a place to stash assets, ranks Panama as No. 13 on its Financial Secrecy Index.

The Panama Papers: how the world’s rich and famous hide their money offshore

Mossack Fonseca a Panama-based law firm
The Panama Papers show us that just because certain behavior is “legal” does not prove that it is ethical or just.

PANAMA PAPERS – NY GOING AFTER Mossack Fonseca
http://ow.ly/10hgJk

A world of hidden wealth:
why we are shining a light offshore Huge leak reveals how the powerful exploit secretive tax regimes – and widen the gulf between rich and poor.

The political debate around tax avoidance so far has focused only on individuals – not businesses like Blairmore that operate outside the tax jurisdiction of the largest world economies. Due to the opaque nature of Panama’s company records, it is impossible to know the full extent of his earnings from the fund, the size of his shareholding or what happened to the shares after his death.

live map 4/3/16

Time to sharpen those pitchforks? Maybe Why Western Elite are conspicuously absent from #PanamaLeaks? There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”

The leak leaves out the actual data?

The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists”, which is funded and organised entirely by the USA’s Center for Public Integrity. Their funders include

Ford Foundation
Carnegie Endowment
Rockefeller Family Fund
W K Kellogg Foundation
Open Society Foundation (Soros) among many others.

Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished. The corporate media – the Guardian and BBC in the UK – have exclusive access to the database which you and I cannot see. They are protecting themselves from even seeing western corporations’ sensitive information by only looking at those documents which are brought up by specific searches such as UN sanctions busters. Never forget the Guardian smashed its copies of the Snowden files on the instruction of MI6.

 

The Cayman Islands Economy

The Cayman Islands economy = $3 billion U.S.companies earnings there = $51 billion
House of 19,000 Corporations

Grand Cayman is known for its beach resorts, world-class scuba diving, and as the unlikely facilitator of billions of dollars in global financial transactions.

The island has been garnering a lot of publicity this week — not the good kind — thanks to the scrutiny of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s tax returns, which include millions of dollars in foreign investments. According to ABC News, Romney has as much as $8 million invested in 12 Cayman Islands funds. (The governor has money parked in Bermuda, Ireland, and Luxembourg as well.)

Romney’s Cayman riches aren’t actually a new story. The L.A. Times reported in 2007 that the former Massachusetts governor was listed as a general partner and investor in BCIP Associates III Cayman, a fund set up by his old employer Bain Capital. Bain has as many as 138 funds registered in the Caymans, according to ABC. The BCIP fund is registered at P.O. Box 908GT in George Town, the Caymanian capital. This is the address of Walker House, the local office of international law firm Walkers. It’s also, on paper at least, home to dozens of other companies including Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc., the global food giant physically headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida.

Walker House is just one of a number of addresses in downtown George Town used by corporations, including Coca-Cola, Oracle, and Intel, to minimize taxes or cut out the red tape in international transactions. The vast majority of these companies are legally prohibited from doing business in the Caymans themselves. The most famous of these addresses, located just down the road at 335 South Church St., is Ugland House, a five-story office building that is home — physically — to law firm Maples and Calder, and — on paper — nearly 19,000 companies.

President Barack Obama called out Ugland House specifically in a 2009 speech, saying “either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world.” Legally speaking, it’s neither. A 2008 GAO report found no evidence of illegal activity by Maples and Calder or any of the entities registered at Ugland House, about half of which have billing addresses in the United States. But, particularly in the case of hedge funds and private equity funds like Bain’s — about 38 percent of Ugland’s “tenants” — the building makes a mockery of the U.S. tax system.

As Romney’s campaign has repeatedly stated, investors in these funds do pay U.S. taxes on their income. But there are significant financial incentives in having a Cayman address. First of all, the British territory has no direct taxes, and makes it exceptionally easy to set up a new company — it only costs about $600. A fund with a Cayman address also allows foreign investors to invest in U.S.-run funds — such as the bricks-and-mortar incarnation of BCIP Associates on Huntington Avenue in Boston — while avoiding double-taxation in both the United States and their home countries.

A managing partner of Maples and Calder told Bloomberg in 2009 that “having a registered office address in the Cayman Islands is driven by commercial considerations, not by tax avoidance,” but there are tax advantages for U.S. investors. Under U.S. tax law, a person is taxed on all foreign income. But a foreign corporation is not taxed on foreign income until it is distributed to shareholders, meaning greater returns for investors like Romney. The Caymans also allow U.S. non-profit entities like pension funds and university endowments to invest in hedge funds without paying the “unrelated business income tax,” which could be as high as 35 percent if those funds were based in the United States.

There are also concerns that the complexity and lack of transparency in Cayman Islands transactions can make tax evasion and money laundering easier, though there’s no evidence that Bain or Romney were involved in these activities and the vast majority of Cayman Islands transactions are entirely legal.

This is not to say they’re popular. The organization Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that the U.S. federal government loses as much as $100 billion per year in revenue due to tax havens. Sen. Carl Levin has proposed legislation that would treat foreign-registered, U.S.-based corporations as American companies for the purposes of tax law. Legislation to shut down the Caymans as a tax haven has been proposed in the British parliament. Given the nearly $5 trillion held by U.S. corporations and individuals in tax-haven countries, though, these motions are likely to face some stiff, and well-funded resistance.

As for Romney, he argues, “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.” Fair enough, but it will be up to voters to decide what the definition of the word “owes” is.

The Panama Papers are super awkward for Beijing

NPR

Panama Papers Shed Light On Global Business Of Tax Avoidance

The Hidden Wealth Of Nations’ Author Explores World Of Offshore Tax Havens

Cellist And Conductor Allegedly Helped Russians Move Billions Of Dollars

Here’s What You Need To Know (So Far) About ‘Panama Papers’

THE REAL SCANDAL IS WHAT HAS BEEN LEGALIZED
The crux of this activity — placing assets offshore in order to avoid incurring tax liability — has been legalized. That’s because Western democracies, along with overt tyrannies, are typically controlled by societies’ wealthiest, and laws are enacted to serve their interests.

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