Treasure Islands by Nicholas Shaxson, 2011, Excerpts
Tax havens are about artificially manipulating paper trails of money across borders. The general idea is that by adjusting its internal prices a multinational can shift profits offshore, where they pay little or no tax, known as Transfer Pricing, or Mispricing. Transfer Pricing is one of the most important reasons that multinationals are multinationals and why they usually grow faster than smaller competitors. Anyone worried about the power of global multinationals should pay attention to tax havens. This system has effected the greatest transfer of wealth from poor to rich in history.
Obama: “biggest tax scam on record”
Panama Papers: Leaks spur global investigations
Tax Havens in the News
First tax havens blacklist published by EU
05 Dec 2017
The European Union has published its first blacklist of tax havens, naming 17 territories including Saint Lucia, Barbados and South Korea. A "watchlist" of 47 countries promising to change their tax rules to meet EU standards has also been issued. The "grey list" includes several with UK links, including Hong Kong, Jersey, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, as well as Switzerland and Turkey. The lists follow the leaking of the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, revealing how companies and individuals hid their wealth from tax authorities around the world in offshore accounts.
Paradise Papers leak reveals secrets of the world elite's hidden wealth
05 Nov 2017
The world’s biggest businesses, heads of state and global figures in politics, entertainment and sport who have sheltered their wealth in secretive tax havens are being revealed this week in a major new investigation into Britain’s offshore empires. The details come from a leak of 13.4m files that expose the global environments in which tax abuses can thrive – and the complex ways the wealthiest corporations can legally protect their wealth. The material was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with partners including the Guardian, the BBC and the New York Times. At the center of the leak is Appleby, a law firm with outposts in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. In contrast to Mossack Fonseca, the discredited firm at the center of last year’s Panama Papers investigation, Appleby prides itself on being a leading member of the “magic circle” of top-ranking offshore service providers.
The Paradise Papers reveal:
· Millions of pounds from the Queen’s private estate has been invested in a Cayman Islands fund.
· Extensive offshore dealings by Donald Trump’s cabinet members, advisers and donors, including substantial payments from a firm co-owned by Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law to the shipping group of the US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross.
· How Twitter and Facebook received hundreds of millions of dollars in investments that can be traced back to Russian state financial institutions.
· The tax-avoiding Cayman Islands trust managed by the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau’s chief moneyman.
· A previously unknown $450m offshore trust that has sheltered the wealth of Lord Ashcroft.
· Aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple.
· How some of the biggest names in the film and TV industries protect their wealth with an array of offshore schemes.
· The billions in tax refunds by the Isle of Man and Malta to the owners of private jets and luxury yachts.
· The secret loan and alliance used by the London-listed multinational Glencore in its efforts to secure lucrative mining rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
· The complex offshore webs used by two billionaires to buy stakes in Arsenal and Everton football clubs.
04 Apr 2016
Authorities across the world are being spurred into action after a huge leak of confidential documents revealed how tax havens are used to hide wealth. Eleven million documents were leaked from the secretive Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. They show how the company has helped some clients launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax. The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing. Since the first revelations late on Sunday a number of investigations have been launched by Austrian, Dutch and Australian authorities.
The documents feature 12 current or former heads of state, and at least 60 people linked to current or former world leaders. The files reveal a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring involving close associates of Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, is also shown to have had an undeclared interest linked to his wife's wealth. By Monday morning, 16,000 people in Iceland had signed a petition demanding his resignation, and a large protest was expected in Reykjavik later. The leaked documents also show that Ian Cameron, the late father of UK Prime Minister David Cameron, was a Mossack Fonseca client. Also mentioned are the brother-in-law of China's President Xi Jinping; Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko; and Argentina's President Mauricio Macri. China appears to be censoring social media posts on the document leak, which has named several members of the country's elite.
Panama papers: China leaders' relatives named in leaks
04 April 2016
Mossack Fonseca website.
Data Security blurb on the Mossack Fonseca website.
Your information has never been safer than with Mossack Fonseca's secure Client Portal. To ensure we can provide our clients with the most secure and up-to-date protection available, we house all of our servers in-house. Our Client Portal encryption certificates use the most powerful secure socket layer (SSL) encryption commercially available today. Mossack Fonseca has always provided our clients with the most secure technology available and we join the 95% percent of Fortune 500 companies as well as the world's 40 largest banks who rely on this technology to keep client information protected.
France's President Hollande: Eradicate tax havens
10 Apr 2013
French President Francois Hollande has called for "eradication" of the world's tax havens, a response to the tax scandal that has shaken his presidency. France's ex-Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac has been charged with fraud over a secret Swiss bank account. Mr Cahuzac admitted last week that he had hidden about 600,000 euros (£509,000; $770,000) in a Swiss bank account, causing shock in France. He has now been expelled from the Socialist Party for lying about his financial affairs. Mr Hollande said "tax havens must be eradicated in Europe and worldwide".
Leaks reveal secrets of the rich who hide cash offshore
03 Apr 2013
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.
Cyprus Crisis Reveals Shadowy World of Tax and Money Laundering Haven
26 Mar 2013
Tax havens: Super-rich 'hiding' at least $21tn
22 Jul 2012
A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study. The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined. The Price of Offshore Revisited was written by James Henry, a former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, for by the Tax Justice Network. Mr. Henry said that the super-rich move money around the globe through an "industrious bevy of professional enablers in private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries.” The three private banks handling the most assets offshore are UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.