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Congress, states and a rich mix of characters argue over regulation.

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Casinos and offshore companies battle for billions in online gambling push

OECD Director of Tax, Pascal Saint-Amans speaking to the media during G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meetings on February 23, 2014 in Sydney. Photograph: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

The tax structures used by some of Irelands largest multinational employers are likely to be brought to an end, a leading figure from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has said.

It is the first such direct comment from a senior figure that tax structures involving Ireland and used by companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft are likely to be brought to an end by the organisations so-called Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (Beps) project.

Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the centre for tax policy and administration at the OECD, was asked during a webcast from Paris yesterday if structures such as the so-called double Irish, where a large proportion of a companys profits end up in a tax haven such as Bermuda, would be brought to an end as a result of Beps.

Maybe its wishful thinking, he said, but the answer is yes. Probably. That is what we are expecting. That is what we would be encouraging.

He said the world was changing and the OECD wanted to introduce new measures to prevent some countries taking unilateral action to address the situation.

He said he would welcome it if technology companies were making arrangements in anticipation of the system being changed. I think that would be a smart move, he said.

Profits sheltered The double Irish and similar global structures, used by many technology companies with large operations here, shelter profits from tax by having the intellectual property involved legally held by tiny Irish-registered subsidiaries that are tax resident offshore.

The Irish operations with the substantial operations serving markets in Europe and further afield pay royalties and licence fees to the offshore companies, thereby avoiding the European corporation tax system because the profits end up in tax havens.

Concerns have been expressed by Chartered Accountants Ireland that another aspect of the Beps project, aimed at creating a closer alignment between a companys sales and where it pays its tax, will adversely affect Ireland.

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Double Irish tax arrangements to be targeted by OECD plans

Since New Jersey legalized Internet gambling in November, offshore operators have intensified efforts to entice gamblers in the state to their unauthorized sites, according to an executive at one of the companies authorized to offer online gambling.

“There’s increased activity by offshore operators again into New Jersey, driving heavy promotions. There’s new companies coming now who are actually trying to capitalize on that opportunity,” Norbert Teufelberger, chief executive of Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment P.L.C., said in a March conference call with investors.

“It’s quite amazing how high the criminal energy can be, but we are quite confident that the [Division of Gaming Enforcement] will shut that down quite efficiently and soon,” said Teufelberger, whose Gibraltar firm is partnered with Borgata in New Jersey.

The state Division of Gaming Enforcement confirmed it was “aware of this issue and is taking steps to coordinate an appropriate response to this illegal activity,” said Kerry Langan, a spokeswoman.

Asked for details, Langan said only that “the illegal activity is offshore companies offering online gaming to New Jersey residents without licensing or approval” by authorities.

John Shepherd, a spokesman for Bwin.Party, said Friday the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 did not stop all overseas companies from allowing people in the United States to gamble online.

“It’s only companies like ourselves that switched off,” Shepherd said.

The legalization of Internet gambling in New Jersey made people aware they could play poker and other casino games online, Shepherd said.

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Unauthorized sites said trying to entice legal online gamblers in N.J.

The Reformist Block referred the government decision to give priority to construction of a resort in Karadere to the prosecution..

The coalition also demanded the resignation of Economy Minister Dragomir Stoinev.

According to the coalition, the project was in violation of the Limiting of Offshore Companies Act, recently passed by Parliament.

The Reformist Block insists that prosecution checks whether there was an administrative violation or a crime by an official with the suggestion that the Black Sea Eco Garden Resort project of the Madara Europe company be granted a priority status.

The Offshore Act stipulates that an offshore company may apply for a priority investor status after it has registered the actual owners of the company in the Trade Registry. In the Madara Europe case, the company did so five days after it got the priority status.

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Reformist Block Refers Government Decision On Karadere To Prosecution

Optimism over business prospects has encouraged a few offshore companies in Singapore to boost yard capacity in the land-scarce island state.

Yard expansion appears to be high on the business agenda for a few offshore companies in Singapore, including Sembcorp Marine Ltd., one of the countrys biggest two players in the sector, as they equipped themselves to tap a larger slice of business opportunities in Asia and beyond.

The expansion seems timely as the global oil and gas industry is expected to boost capital expenditure on exploration and production (E&P) this year to $723 billion, 6.1 percent higher than last years $682 billion, Barclay Banks said in a Dec. 9, 2013 equity research report.

Oil and gas E&P expenditure in Asia is likely to track the global spending, albeit at a slower rate of 2.47 percent in 2014, the Barclays report indicated. Countries in the region are projected to spend around $124 billion, compared to $121 billion in 2013. The E&P estimates were derived from Barclays data as well as its research on firms like PetroChina Company Ltd., China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), Oil and Natural gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC) and others.

In Southeast Asia, Malaysia and Indonesia two major petroleum producers in the region are expected to invest more in the E&P sector. They are likely to have the greatest forecasted investment in oil and gas, due to increasing urgency of stemming production declines. Both countries are developing shallow water plays, while also moving to deepwaters, OCBC Investment Research said in a report highlighted in Singapores Business Times.

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Cheang has covered the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry for over a decade. Email Cheang at cheeyew.cheang@rigzone.com.

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Singapore Offshore Firms Expand Yards to Grow Business

A U.S. Senate investigative panel is examining whether Caterpillar Inc. improperly avoided U.S. taxes by moving profits outside the country, said three people familiar with the inquiry.

The Senates Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will hold a hearing in early April, said two of the people. They spoke on condition of anonymity before an official announcement.

Rachel Potts, a spokeswoman for Caterpillar, based in Peoria, Ill., declined to comment. Gordon Trowbridge, a spokesman for Subcommittee Chairman Carl Levin, declined to comment.

In 2009, Daniel Schlicksup, an employee who had worked on Caterpillars tax strategy, alleged in a lawsuit in federal court that the company used a Swiss structure to shift profits to offshore companies and avoid more than $2 billion in U.S. taxes. He also alleged that Caterpillar used a Bermuda structure involving shell companies to return profits to the U.S. without paying required taxes.

According to Schlicksups complaint, the Swiss structure involved many shell corporations with no business operations, in which the management of profitable businesses was technically shifted to Switzerland while actually remaining in the U.S.

Schlicksups lawsuit, which alleged that Caterpillar executives retaliated against him, was settled in 2012, according to court filings. The company denied the allegations, which Bloomberg News first reported in 2011.

The Senate subcommittee led by Levin, a Michigan Democrat, has been examining tax avoidance by multinational companies.

Microsoft Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Apple Inc. have been the subjects of previous hearings by the panel.

The 2013 investigation into Apple uncovered a subsidiary that earned $30 billion over four years with no home for tax purposes.

The subcommittee also has investigated Swiss banks such as Credit Suisse Group AG for aiding tax evasion by wealthy Americans.

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Caterpillar said to be focus of U.S. Senate panel inquiry

The young Ukrainian ex-billionaire Serhiy Kurchenko, now widely suspected of being a front man for overthrown President Viktor Yanukovychs family, clearly liked offshore destinations.

His companies registered in offshore zones are now accused of trading in oil products using a tax evasion scheme that cost Ukraines government an estimated $1 billion lost revenue.

But offshore companies were also used to buy expensive Italian suits, according to documents obtained by journalists of the Washington-based Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a Kyiv Post partner.

Fuel trade schemes

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov on March 11 said that investigators in Odesa seized some 60,000 tons of fuel that belonged to one of Kurchenkos companies.

The confiscated fuel we will pass on to the Defense Ministry for safekeeping, Avakov said. Police have started 11 criminal cases to investigate the schemes used by Kurchenkos holding VETEK. Moreover, the general prosecutors office is also investigating Kurchenkos activities and questioned several investigative journalists this week who had previously researched his activities.

According to Lb.ua, news website, Kurchenko, 28, like former President Viktor Yanukovych, is currently hiding from investigation in Russia.

In the meantime, former workers of Kurchenkos companies have shared documents showing the movement of cash between VETEK and offshore companies in Belize, Panama, Cyprus and other destinations that can shed light on how his business empire functioned.

Kurchenko shot to prominence in 2012, when first reports about his business activity particularly in energy trade- started surfacing. Last year, his own magazine estimated his fortune to be $2.4 billion. Billionaires VETEK is a conglomerate which holds assets in energy, banking, media and sports. Odesa Oil Refinery, Kherson Oil Transshipment Complex, Brokbiznesbank, Real Bank, Ukrainian Media Holding and Metalist football club are its main holdings. However, Yanukovychs older son Oleksandr is seen as the final beneficiary of these assets, while Kurchenko only manages them.

Some of the leaked papers document the activity of Belize offshore company Zevidon Trading Limited, a very active business entity affiliated with Kurchenko.

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Documents reveal Kurchenkos alleged tax evasion schemes

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Le Havre – Seine Estuary: European hub for the offshore wind industry
At the heart of the leading European offshore wind energy development potential, major wind offshore companies chose Le Havre region and Fcamp to set-up ind…

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Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and UK’s University of Southampton (UOS) jointly announced Wednesday the official launch of a joint laboratory in Maritime and Offshore Engineering R&D to develop innovative technological solutions through modelling and simulation using high performance comuting technology to solve technical issues facing the maritime, energy and offshore sectors.

The joint laboratory (Joint Lab), operated by A*STARs Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and UOS’ Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI), is located on A*STAR premises to promote engagement and more seamless scientific exchanges with researchers from other research fields, such as those from the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), and the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).

“The strategic aim of the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab is to deepen the understanding of the science and technology deployed in the design, construction and operation of future ships used, and new offshore structures that are utilized for the exploration and extraction of oil, gas and renewable energy sources from deep oceans under extreme harsh environments and translate these insights into impactful industrial applications,” the joint press release said.

The research areas seek to address two major challenges facing the maritime and offshore sector:

This joint lab is another key component toward building a hub to catalyze further R&D (research and development) activities in marine and offshore companies in Singapore. IHPC is keen to promote the development of high performance computing techniques that can be applied to pertinent issues, that will lead to improved design of offshore structures and better understanding of their performance and reliability in harsher environment and more severe conditions. We intend to draw upon participation from industry players so that the benefits of the research can propagate through the economic sector, Professor Alfred Huan, executive director of IHPC said.

The multidisciplinary research leverages the complementary expertise and skillsets possessed by the SMMI researchers, and IHPC research scientists from the Fluid Dynamics and Engineering Mechanics departments. The collaboration draws upon IHPC’s strength in computational modelling and simulation, and SMMIs strength in marine research. The Joint Lab projects will focus on developing solutions in the marine and offshore sector where the technical challenges are complex and often beyond the capabilities of a single organisation.

The Joint Lab will undertake projects in collaboration with partners in the maritime and offshore R&D community, including researchers from National University of Singapore (NUS) and the IHPC-Lloyds Register Joint Lab co-located within IHPC premises.

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Singapore, UK Researchers Launch Joint Lab for Marine, Offshore R&D

1. Singapore, 5 March 2014 Building on the fruitful past decade of UK-Singapore cooperation in scientific research and development, A*STARs Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute (SMMI) officially launched a joint laboratory in Maritime and Offshore Engineering R&D today, to develop innovative technological solutions through modelling and simulation using high performance computing technology, aimed at solving technical issues faced by the maritime, energy and offshore sectors.

2. The opening of the joint laboratory symbolises both countries continued commitment to the fostering of greater synergy and cooperation in moving the frontiers of science. The Joint Lab opening was witnessed by UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, The Rt Hon David Willetts MP.

3. As a globally leading maritime hub that is home to many companies in the offshore sector, Singapore provides an excellent base for the development of innovative technological solutions. The long legacy of the UK as a global maritime powerhouse further ensures the synergy of complementary expertise from both organisations that will greatly enhance the maritime, energy and offshore sectors and bring about economic benefits to both countries.

4. The strategic aim of the IHPC-SMMI Joint Lab is to deepen the understanding of the science and technology deployed in the design, construction and operation of future ships used, and new offshore structures that are utilised for the exploration and extraction of oil, gas and renewable energy sources from deep oceans under extreme harsh environments and translate these insights into impactful industrial applications.

5. The research areas are aimed at addressing two major challenges faced by the maritime and offshore sector:

6. Prof. Alfred Huan, Executive Director of IHPC, said: This joint lab is another key component toward building a hub to catalyse further R&D activities in marine and offshore companies in Singapore. IHPC is keen to promote the development of high performance computing techniques that can be applied to pertinent issues, that will lead to improved design of offshore structures and better understanding of their performance and reliability in harsher environment and more severe conditions. We intend to draw upon participation from industry players so that the benefits of the research can propagate through the economic sector.

7. Prof. Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Southampton, said: The Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute is a world-leading hub for international collaboration which really has no parallel in terms of its scale and ambition. With Singapore being home to the worlds leading maritime economy and supporting major strengths in marine and maritime engineering we are very pleased and excited for the SMMI to be working in collaboration with A*STAR here to deliver a number of projects to develop safer, improved and more efficient offshore and marine structures and ships to deliver real and tangible economic and environmental benefits for the future.

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:: 05, Mar 2014 :: SINGAPORE AND UK RESEARCHERS TEAM UP TO TRANSFORM MARINE & OFFSHORE R&D THROUGH JOINT LAB

Treasury moved to close loophole used by wealthy to avoid stamp duty By placing homes in companies they can be sold without paying tax Ministers had expected the new levy to raise 20million this year But Danny Alexander reveals it is on course to generate 100million

By Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor

PUBLISHED: 07:25 EST, 21 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:40 EST, 21 February 2014

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A crackdown on the rich and famous who own mansions through offshore companies is on course to raise five times more than expected.

Pop stars, actors and jetsetters were able to avoid paying stamp duty when they bought and sold multi-million pound properties by selling it as part of a company based abroad.

A move to close the loophole had been expected to raise 20million this year, but it is now set to net the Treasury 100million.

Two years ago it emerged that every home in Cornwall Terrace in North London had been transferred to a company on the Isle of Man

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Tax raid on super-rich hiding mansions in offshore companies raises 100million, FIVE times more than expected

Why would you own a property in Dubai through an offshore company and not in your own individual name?

Why would you own a property in Dubai through an offshore company and not in your own individual name? What is the main benefit of owning property through an offshore company? Is it not better to have the property held in your own name or joint names?The inheritance laws in Dubai are not as straight forward, nor the same, as those back in the UK or the European Union. If a foreigner owns property in Dubai and passes away, the laws of their home country may not apply to their assets. Under Sharia Law there is a fixed distribution of assets upon death of the deceased owner and there is no concept of right of survivorship, for example where property passes to the surviving joint owner. By structuring your property into an offshore company, you ensure that Sharia Law will most definitely not apply to your assets and that lengthy probate proceedings are avoided.

What type of offshore companies can we use? Since 1st January 2011, the only offshore company that can be used to hold real estate owned in Dubai is the Jebel Ali Offshore Company. This company does not allow you to trade, give you residency nor work permits. The shares of the Jebel Ali Offshore Company can be held in personal names but we usually have the shares held by an offshore company 100%. We recommend common law offshore jurisdictions such as British Virgin Islands. This means that if a death occurs Sharia Law will not apply as your assets would be held in the name of the offshore entity and not in individual names. The probate process would also take place in foreign courts.

What are the other benefits of holding a property in Dubai offshore? The offshore entity can be designed to suit joint investors. So a group of investors can hold shares in an offshore entity that ultimately protects their portion of shares in the property. It also provides confidentiality and privacy. Hence protecting your assets. If I already own property, can I still transfer this into an offshore company?

Yes, you can transfer all freehold property held in your own personal name into the name of the offshore entity.

Can I own other assets through the company? Yes. A company is a legal entity and can own any asset. So bank accounts, stocks and shares and properties in the UAE and internationally can all be held by an offshore company.Why is the UAE a great place to set up an offshore company? The UAE is one of the best jurisdictions in the world for incorporating an offshore company because it is a tax-free business territory and has strict policies on privacy and confidentiality. The UAE does not have agreements concerning mandatory exchange of information about its offshore companies which are also exempt from paying corporate taxes. Many international corporations as well as expatriate entrepreneurs feel secure, comfortable and confident about establishing offshore companies in the UAE. What are the tangible benefits of owning an offshore company? An offshore company can act as an intermediary or holding company for private wealth or business interests. It is not mandatory for an offshore company to have a physical office, and neither is the physical presence of all shareholders required during its incorporation. There is no obligation to maintain records or books and there is no public record of the shareholders or directors, which ensures full confidentiality. And finally, it provides a legal framework for the safety and security of joint, multiple, or diverse investments. But most importantly for expatriates, the structure of an offshore company located outside the UAE allows full private ownership of assets including property located in the UAE (including Dubai, subject to additional structuring). This ensures appropriate passage, in the event of death. What are the various assets that can be owned by an offshore company? As a legal entity, an offshore company can own assets as varied as bank accounts, stocks and shares, land and property.

What are the advantages of transferring the ownership of a freehold property to an offshore company?

Property owned by an offshore company outside the UAE is not subject to Sharia law for the distribution of assets after death, because technically, a company cannot die, even when an individual shareholder does. Property and assets owned by individuals are subject to probate and may be contested. Assets which are legally owned by a company need not be subject to probate and are less likely to be contested. As a result, assets can pass outside probate or an unfavourable legal jurisdiction without the delay and cost usually associated with winding up an estate after an individual has passed away.

Kind Regards,Vithul V MuraliMBA Asst. Vice President | ADAM Global Dubai Mobile : +971 50 55 73 538Email :vithul.murali@adamglobal.comSkype : Vithul.murali

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Why would you own a property in Dubai through an offshore company and not in your own individual name?

OFFSHORE COMPANIES

Offshore Companies are offered for: Antigua, Bahamas, Belize, BVI, Cyprus, Delaware, Dominica, Dubai, Hong Kong, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Nevis, New Zealand, Panama, Seychelles, Singapore, St. Vincent, Western Samoa and others. All incorporations are completed by our Attorneys and/or Trust Companies, registered by the Government in the country of incorporation. Click here to compare offshore company fees for all jurisdictions.

Maritime International Limited offers a full range of offshore services for the incorporation of offshore companies, opening of offshore bank and brokerage accounts and other offshore financial and asset protection services. Our integrity has been proven through our long years of quality personal service to our clients.

Maritime International Limited recommends the following jurisdictions as having the best offshore legislation, asset protection and privacy available. These countries are, in our opinion, the best independent jurisdictions on offer today.

All offshore companies we offer are fully exempt from tax as are the bank accounts we open. Consult Maritime International Limited with your particular requirements and we will be pleased to advise you on the best jurisdiction for your needs.

If you are not familiar with the Offshore and wish more guidance, click here for “Choosing the Best Jurisdiction for Your Company.”

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Offshore companies, offshore LLCs, offshore shelf …

Offshore Company

The terms offshore business and offshore company have no precise legal, tax or general business meaning. The term offshore usually refers to the place of physical location of a person, legal or natural person (i.e. overseas). This is geographical. We however use the terms offshore business and offshore company as terms or definitions used activities or structures in connection with matters such as the structuring of international business and family wealth management or personel and business tax planning. So it is not purely geographical, perhaps geographical, structural and activities.

In our usage, the term offshore company traditionally refers to a company incorporated in a jurisdiction or territory that offers at least the following advantages to its non-residents;

In addition to the term offshore company there are also other terms commonly used such as International Business Company or IBC, International Trading Company or ITC, Exempt Company, Limited Liability Company or LLC, Free Zone Company or FZC, Free Zone Enterprise or FZE, etc. Regardless of their names, they mostly share all or some of the above features. We therefore do not just look at the label but rather the contents.

Typically, the our clients use the following type of companies for tax planning and international business;

Very low or zero tax offshore companies incorporated in jurisdictions often described as tax haven islands such as Labuan, British Virgin Islands, Belize or the Seychelles or Brunei.

Companies incorporated in jurisdictions which offer both offshore companies and onshore companies and which may benefit from favourable tax regulation and / or special offshore company regimes. For example:

Labuan has two types of companies, trading and non-trading. The non-trading company is a zero tax company which may be used more or less in the same manner with say BVI BC or Brunei IBC. The trading company, either used alone or in conjunction with a Malaysian domestic company is used as a tax planning vehicles to access Malaysias numerous DTT.

Mauritius has two types of company that are used for offshore business and international tax planning. The Mauritius GBCII Offshore Company pays zero tax and is effectively a tax haven company, similar in many respects to a BVI Company, whilst the Mauritius GBCI Company is tax resident and typically utilised for double tax treaty and international tax planning.

Hong Kong, although not typically regarded as a tax haven, has a favourable tax regime which effectively means that correctly structured, managed and administered Hong Kong Companies can be utilised for undertaking offshore business and international business without paying tax in Hong Kong provided that any profits arising are not made in Hong Kong. This type of tax regulation is known as “territorial taxation”.

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Dagny Roark

Dagny Roark has been writing professionally for over five years. Her work has been published in “Carolina Parent” magazine, “Hybrid Vigor” and a number of newspapers and websites. Her main interests are science, nature and wildlife. Dagny received her Bachelor of Science in environmental science from Emory University in 2005.

The offshore oil industry has a large presence in Louisiana. The state is one of only six that allow coastal drilling. Only one state, Texas, plays host to more oil rigs than Louisiana does. A number of companies take advantage of the state’s plentiful resources, creating a $70 billion industry.

List of Offshore Drilling Companies in Louisiana. The offshore oil industry has a large presence in Louisiana. The state is one of…

Offshore companies are businesses incorporated outside the country in which the company is located. Companies that form offshore do so for several…

Noble Drilling is one of the largest offshore drilling companies in the world, and has been leading the industry in deep-water projects…

List of Offshore Drilling Companies in Louisiana. The offshore oil industry has a large presence in Louisiana. The state is one of…

List of Offshore Drilling Companies in Louisiana. The offshore oil industry has a large presence in Louisiana. The state is one of…

List of Offshore Drilling Companies in Louisiana. The offshore oil industry has a large presence in Louisiana. The state is one of…

As the world’s supply of crude oil continues to decline, various petroleum companies continue to extract oil and gas from offshore sources…

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List of Offshore Drilling Companies in Louisiana | eHow



BBC World News: China leaders relatives links to offshore companies 22 Jan 2014 2036
Close relatives of some of China's political elite have set up offshore companies in international tax havens where assets can be hidden. Leaked documents su…

By: joj183

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BBC World News: China leaders relatives links to offshore companies 22 Jan 2014 2036 – Video

New revelations by an international group of journalists show that members of the Chinese communist elite have used offshore tax havens to stash away billions of dollars over the last decade.

A series of articles published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), based in Washington, D.C., demonstrates how Chinese Communist Party officials and their family members have used countries like the British Virgin Islands and the Cook Islands to set up shell companies in which assets and cash can be secretly held.

ICIJ said that the reports come from a massive set of data it received260 gigabytes, or 160 times the quantity of WikiLeaks cableson a hard drive mailed anonymously in 2012. After laboriously cleaning and processing the data, ICIJ published its first set of articles in early 2013.

It kept back the China portion until now, and said that nearly 22,000 Chinese clients of companies dealing in offshore structures were identified in the files now under discussion. More Chinese names will be published in a database on Jan. 23, ICIJ said.

Not all uses of such offshore companies are illegal, and in many cases corporate lawyers advise their clients to use offshore structures in doing business in China and Hong Kong. The impression gained from the preponderance of evidence discussed by ICIJ, however, is that Chinese elitethe red nobilityhas stashed billions in ill-gotten wealth overseas.

Violators identified by ICIJ include most notably members of the families of Xi Jinping, the current chief of the Chinese Communist Party, Wen Jiabao, the former Chinese premier, and Hu Jintao, the former Communist Party leader, as well as a number of other families with deep Party or military backgrounds.

There are also striking absences from Whos Who of the leaks that the ICIJ compiled.None of the family members of Jiang Zemin, the communist leader before Hu Jintao, and his associatessuch as Zhou Yongkang, the troubled former security czar, and Zeng Qinghong, a former top Party powerbrokerare implicated in the revelations. This faction has been involved in an intense, behind the scenes struggle for power in the Communist Party with Xi Jinping, Wen Jiabao, and Hu Jintao.

The families of Jiang Zemin, Zhou Yongkang, and Zeng Qinghong have controlled Chinas most profitable industries, including petroleum, for over a decade, and are believed to have made huge fortunes for themselves by stealing from those industries.

The anecdotes about the escapades in wealth of the sons of Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong are legendary in China circles. For instance, Zeng Wei, Zeng Qinghongs son, once bought a nearly $30 million house in an exclusive part of Sydney, and sought to knock it down to build his own, with a waterfall.

There is no way to verify the wealth held by these families, but the accounts and anecdotes that have for years circulated about their activities would indicate that they are far wealthier than those exposed in the current leaks.

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Leaks on Offshore Wealth Expose Some of China’s Elite

Members of the Chinese elite, including some of the countrys most politically connected figures, have set up a large number of offshore companies that allow them to conceal billions of dollars abroad, according to a new report released Wednesday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a Washington-based group that works with a number of news organizations around the world.

Video: In China, a currency rises outside central bank control

The reports authors say it is based on leaked documents concerning tens of thousands of tax-haven clients.

The report names more than a dozen of Chinas wealthiest people, as well as relatives of top officials, including those of the countrys leader, Xi Jinping; the former premier, Wen Jiabao; and the descendants of the ruling Communist Partys revolutionary founders.

The report was released at an awkward time for Mr. Xi, who has made cracking down on corruption and reining in officials displays of wealth among his top priorities since taking charge of the Communist Party in 2012. The combination of wealth and power illustrated in the report could become a political liability for the government at a time when the Chinese public is increasingly concerned about official privilege.

During a regular news briefing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman who was asked about the report dismissed it as hardly convincing, and suggested that those who leaked the documents had ulterior motives. Censors blocked access to the consortiums online report in much of China on Wednesday, and Chinese media made no mention of it.

Offshore bank accounts, trusts and shell companies are not in and of themselves illegal, and individuals and companies who move wealth overseas are not necessarily seeking to launder money or avoid tax liability. The Chinese government allows Chinese investors and executives to hold stakes in domestic companies like the Internet giants Baidu and Tencent through offshore investment vehicles. And foreign banks and private equity firms have often encouraged Chinese investors to hold some assets offshore, especially stakes in companies that plan to list their shares in Hong Kong or New York.

But offshore companies can also be used to launder money, dodge taxes and hide an individuals stake in a company.

The potential for embarrassment is likely to grow as the consortium releases more data and analysts tease apart the strands of previously opaque financial arrangements. The consortium said it would publish a database of tax-haven documents Thursday.

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Chinese elite using offshore tax havens, report says



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