27 November 2011

Tax Haven Investments

Treasure Islands by Nicholas Shaxson, 2011, Excerpts
The two biggest sources of foreign investment into China in 2007 were not Japan or the United States or South Korea but Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands. Similarly, as of 2009 the biggest source of foreign investment into India, at over 43 percent of the total, is the treaty haven of Mauritius, a rising star in the offshore system. It also specialized in channeling Chinese investments into Africa’s mineral sectors. Mauritius illustrates how the British spiderweb is no imperial relic but a modern and self-renewing system. Although French-speaking, the country has a long history of British colonial involvement. Mauritius set up its offshore center in 1989 under the tutelage of experts mostly from the City of London, Jersey, and the Isle of Man. The Netherlands is another major European tax haven. In 2006, while the Irish musician Bono browbeat Western taxpayers to boost aid to Africa, his band, U2, shifted its financial empire to the Netherlands to cut its own tax bill.

Chinese officials stole $120 billion, fled mainly to US
2011 Jun 17
Thousands of corrupt Chinese government officials have stolen more than $120bn (£74bn) and fled overseas, mainly to the US, according to a report released by China's central bank. The officials used offshore bank accounts to smuggle the funds, according to the study posted on the People's Bank of China website this week but which has since been removed. It said the officials smuggled about 800 billion yuan into the US, Australia, Canada and Holland through offshore bank accounts or investments, like property or collectables.  The stolen funds were covered up by disguising them as business transactions by establishing private companies to receive the money transfers.

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