International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was founded in 1997.
Its mission is to expose the polluting industries, transnational crime networks, rogue states, and the actions of powerful figures in business and government.
For details Link is provided at the end of the post.
Most of us know that ill-gotten wealth by all and sundry, which includes lawyers, Doctors, Business houses and of course Politicians.
Thanks to a series of mind-boggling scams in India, like 2G,ISRO, CWG,Maharashtra Irrigation,Helicopter and the forerunner Bofors, even a barely literate person knows that the money is being kept in Swiss Banks and that these banks are very secretive about disclosing the identities of their Customers.
What many may not know is the fact that there are countries which house these Funds under greater secrecy than the Swiss Banks.
- San Marino
Non-sovereign jurisdictions commonly labelled as tax havens include:
- Campione d’Italia, Italy
- Jebel Ali Free Zone, United Arab Emirates
- Labuan, Malaysia
- Curaçao (Netherlands)
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Isle of Man
- Turks and Caicos Islands
- Alaska, United States
- Delaware, United States
- Florida, United States
- Nevada, United States
- Texas, United States
- South Dakota, United States
- United States Virgin Islands (United States)
- Wyoming, United States
- Washington, United States
- Note that the US is included in the Tax havens list
The funds are held in an Offshore Trust in these tax-havens.
The Company address will be a ramshackle building, it may house many such Companies(Trusts)
Detailed blog on how an offshore fund is created and operated follows.
Look at the Office of offshore Company holding Millions of Dollars.
ICIJ obtained secret files from these banks, Countries, Trusts.
The statistical highlights of the size of the Documents.
2.5 Million Files.
1,20,000 Offshore Companies.
In gigabytes, more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010..
86 Journalists from 46 Countries were involved in ferreting out the details.
#0 Years records unearthed.
- Government officials and their families and associates in Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts.
- The mega-rich use complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets, gaining tax advantages and anonymity not available to average people.
- Many of the world’s top’s banks – including UBS, Clariden and Deutsche Bank – have aggressively worked to provide their customers with secrecy-cloaked companies in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore hideaways.
- 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.
- Ponzi schemers and other large-scale fraudsters routinely use offshore havens to pull off their shell games and move their ill-gotten gains.
Who are exposed?
- Individuals and companies linked to Russia’s Magnitsky Affair, a tax fraud scandal that has strained U.S.-Russia relations and led to a ban on Americans adopting Russian orphans.
- A Venezuelan deal maker accused of using offshore entities to bankroll a U.S.-based Ponzi scheme and funneling millions of dollars in bribes to a Venezuelan government official.
- A corporate mogul who won billions of dollars in contracts amid Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s massive construction boom even as he served as a director of secrecy-shrouded offshore companies owned by the president’s daughters.
- Indonesian billionaires with ties to the late dictator Suharto, who enriched a circle of elites during his decades in power.
Tony Merchant, one of Canada’s top class-action lawyers, took extra steps to maintain the privacy of aCook Islands trust that he’d stocked with more than $1 million in 1998, the documents show.
In a filing to Canadian tax authorities, Merchant checked “no” when asked if he had foreign assets of more than $100,000 in 1999, court records show.
Between 2002 and 2009, he often paid his fees to maintain the trust by sending thousands of dollars in cash and traveler’s checks stuffed into envelopes rather than using easier-to-trace bank checks or wire transfers, according to documents from the offshore services firm that oversaw the trust for him.
One file note warned the firm’s staffers that Merchant would “have a st[r]oke” if they tried to communicate with him by fax.
It is unclear whether his wife, Pana Merchant, a Canadian senator, declared her personal interest in the trust on annual financial disclosure forms.
Under legislative rules, she had to disclose every year to the Senate’s ethics commissioner that she was a beneficiary of the trust, but the information was confidential.
The Merchants declined requests for comment.
Other high profile names identified in the offshore data include the wife of Russia’s deputy prime minister, Igor Shuvalov, and two top executives with Gazprom, the Russian government-owned corporate behemoth that is the world’s largest extractor of natural gas.
Shuvalov’s wife and the Gazprom officials had stakes in BVI companies, documents show. All three declined comment.
In a neighboring land, the deputy speaker of Mongolia’s Parliament said he was considering resigning from office after ICIJ questioned him about records showing he has an offshore company and a secret Swiss bank account…
- Hard drive’s 2.5m secrets (theage.com.au)