Tom G. Palmer @ European Students For Liberty 2014
The Sons of Libertas recorded Tom G. Palmers lecture “Peace is a Choice” at the European Students For Liberty Conference in Berlin 2014. Tom G. Palmer is th…
Tom G. Palmer @ European Students For Liberty 2014
The Sons of Libertas recorded Tom G. Palmers lecture “Peace is a Choice” at the European Students For Liberty Conference in Berlin 2014. Tom G. Palmer is th…
Banner saying “the Falkland Islands are and will always be Argentinian” (ALAMY)
Sir Nigel Sheinwald, Britain’s ambassador to Washington until 2012, admitted to the committee that US position on the Falklands had been “uncomfortable…[and] not what we wanted”.
Critics of the Obama administration argue that the current US stance does not even amount to “neutrality” since it calls for talks between Britain and Argentina in defiance of the clearly-expressed will of the Falkland islanders.
Luke Coffey, a former adviser to Liam Fox when he was Defence Secretary and now the Margaret Thatcher Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a Conservative think-tank in Washington, said the US had clearly “abandoned its long held position of neutrality” in the dispute.
“Negotiations over the status of the Falkland Islands is the official Argentine position. Instead of keeping quiet (neutral), under Obama’s leadership, the US has started backing Argentina’s calls for talks. This is a change from previous administrations and a departure from neutrality,” he said.
In other key areas, the report was positive, praising the Coalition government for taking a less supine position towards the US that during the Blair years and supporting William Hague’s formulation of the relationship as “solid not slavish”.
It also found that the Commons vote against military intervention in Syria last year had not damaged the Special Relationship instead demonstrating the underlying depth and resilience of US-UK ties – a position not universally agreed upon in the Washington foreign policy community.
“I think that’s a very optimistic assessment,” said Fran Burwell, Director of the Transatlantic Relations Program at the Atlantic Council. “Big events like this feed into the growing perception in Washington that EU nations are no longer ready and willing to do what is necessary.”
The committee also fretted about the impact in the US of the promised 2017 referendum on British membership of the European Union if the Conservatives win the next election, warning that the America might start to “hedge” against an exit by deepening ties with other European capitals, to Britain’s detriment.
Meanwhile, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner claimed on Wednesday that the Falkland Islands serve as a nuclear base for the Nato alliance in the South Atlantic.
Understanding new and emerging export markets
The Pacific Islands Trade & Invest (PT&I) network, the trade and investment arm of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, is organising a three day workshop from 31 March to 2 April in Suva.
The Pacific Path to Market Workshop a first for Fiji, will address market compliance constraints and highlight specific solutions to enhance exporters capacity. The importance of branding, cost-effective packaging, dealing with logistics and having an effective supply chain will also be discussed.
The Pacific Path to Market Workshop is specifically designed to respond to the exporters current and future needs. The programme has been developed based on consultations with a number of businesses in Fiji over the past year to assist in increasing their exports.
The workshop is funded by the European Union through the European Development Fund, under the Pacific Integration Technical Assistance Project (PITAP) implemented by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. PITAP is a component of the Strengthening Pacific Economic Integration through Trade (SPEITT).
The Pacific Islands Trade & Invest network has brought industry experts and international speakers from China and New Zealand to give a first-hand account of doing business in these markets. Export promotion staff from the PT&I offices in Auckland, Beijing and Sydney will be presenting opportunities in these markets for Fiji exports.
More than 80 businesses have confirmed attendance. This high level of interest shown by Fiji businesses is an indication of the drive that Fijis private sector has to explore new and emerging opportunities.
The Pacific Path to Market Workshop is expected to be organised in other Forum island countries later in the year. Representatives from some of the Pacific island countries are attending as observers at this workshop.
Liberty Global plc together with Telecentre Europe,support the launch of YouRock during Get Online Week 2014 in a number of European countries.
Austrian MEP candidate compares EU to Nazis: Jewish leader calls on Freedom Party to take action
The leader of Austria's Jewish community has appealed to an EU Parliament member to drop his re-election campaign after comparing the European Union to Nazi …
‘Cheats to pay back the working man’
(By Christopher Livesay) (ANSA) – Rome, March 21 – Premier Matteo Renzi on Friday vowed to rein in tax dodgers, who every year evade payments on over 130 billion euros in income. Speaking after his first EU summit in Brussels, the new premier said that finally “those who have never paid will have to pay,” in order to “pay back citizens who have paid for the crisis due to nearsighted politicians who are far from the needs of the people”. Renzi vowed to implement “innovative methods” to cross check financial records digitally. The problem of tax evasion is well publicized and a constant and long-running problem for governments. They have intensified in recent years as governments have struggled to meet their obligations in the midst of a double-dip recession that began in 2008-2009. On the heels of that came a second crisis which reached depths in the past two years not seen since World War II. That was further aggravated by austerity measures to avoid a Greek-like economic meltdown when interest rates on Italian bonds rose alarmingly high. The hard medicine forced on Italy to try to regain its financial footing included program cuts and tax hikes that businesses say have crippled their operations while stunting economic growth and job creation. Recession in Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, began to show tentative signs of easing only in the second half of last year. The economy remains fragile with a tepid growth outlook, although things may be improving with Renzi, a business-friendly reformer, at the reins. On Friday, Italian retailers’ association Confcommercio revised its growth forecast from 0.3% to 0.5% in 2014, and 0.9% in 2015. Those numbers could go up even more if Renzi follows through on cutting over 12 billion euros in income and business taxes, Confcommercio said. However, the forecast is weaker than the national inflation rate that averaged 1.2% in 2013, and if unemployment remains at the record-high 12.9%, it suggests that the incentives to avoid paying out cash to tax collectors will remain weak. According to the finance police, last year they discovered 8,315 evaders who concealed income or did not even file a tax return on 16.1 billion euros in revenues. About 15.1 billion euros that were not reported to tax authorities came from international income including “transfers of convenience” to tax havens as well as foreign-based companies’ income earned in Italy that is subject to taxation here. The finance police said much of that was uncovered by working cooperatively with agencies in other countries. Almost five billion euros were dodged by Italians avoiding the value-added tax alone, and more than 13,000 people were found to be working “in nero” or outside the legal system, meaning their work was not reported and they paid no tax. By not cracking down on tax evasions, particularly on value added tax, Italy lost 36.1 billion euros in 2011, giving it the worst record in the EU on VAT collection, according to a study by the European Commission. France had the next worst record, losing 32.2 billion euros to tax evasion in 2011, followed by Germany with 26.9 billion euros lost. The study says reasons for tax evasion include fraud but also bankruptcies and defaults, and the eurozone economic crisis which left more and more companies in such dire straits they cannot pay taxes owed. Still, improving anti-fraud measures would “certainly help Italy to bridge the gap” between value-added taxes owed and what is actually paid to the government, said a spokesman for EU Taxation Commissioner Algirdas Semeta. Across the 28-member European Union, lost revenue in 2011 totalled 193 billion euro, equal to 1.5% of GDP.
Renzi vows crackdown on tax dodgers
Spains Balearic Islands plan to regain control over offshore projects from tourism to oil drilling when the activities are adjacent to protected habitats.
The regional government is revising 14 management plans that were partially annulled last month by the Supreme Court for failing to demonstrate why control over the Mediterranean waters shouldnt be under the jurisdiction of the national government.
At stake are environmentally sensitive areas of water for which the European Commission has approved extra protections to foster biodiversity of plants and wildlife. Spains high court, after an appeal by the national government, invalidated parts of those plans that covered offshore areas of the zones, which are called Sites of Community Importance under European Union law.
The revisions should restore authority to the Balearic Islands government, according to a spokesman for its environment ministry who asked not to be named, in line with the departments policy.
The Supreme Court invalidated the safeguards for waters off Mallorca, Menorca and smaller islands in the area in a Feb. 20 ruling published subsequently on the judiciarys website.
The Balearics, particularly Mallorca and Ibiza, are popular with tourists to Spain. While the court ruling didnt specifically address oil exploration, the islands waters have drawn interest from prospectors seeking licenses for seismic studies. Exploration is opposed by the regional government and has been supported by Spains national government.
Companies that have explored the Spanish Mediterranean or have permits to do so include Repsol SA (REP), Cairn Energy Plc and Spectrum Geo Ltd. Most of their searches are focused instead on the waters off the mainland peninsula.
To contact the reporter on this story: Todd White in Madrid at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Timothy Coulter at firstname.lastname@example.org Alex Devine, Amanda Jordan
Liberty Global is trying to extensively penetrate into the European region with its bundled video, voice and Internet (data) services.
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Liberty Global Revamps Businesses
Sitting right atop the Equator, approximately 600 miles directly west of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands had no original inhabitants. They were discovered in 1535 by Tomas de Berlanga, the Spanish Bishop of Panama, when his ship drifted by the islands.
The Galapagos Islands first appeared on maps in the late 16th century, and were named “Insulae de los Galopegos” (Islands of the Tortoises) in reference to the giant tortoises found there.
The first navigation chart of the Galapagos islands was done by the buccaneer Ambrose Cowley in 1684, and he reportedly named the individual islands after some of his fellow pirates, as well as European nobility.
Until the early 19th century the islands were used as a hideout by pirates who pilfered Spanish galleons carrying gold and silver from South America, back to Spain.
In 1793, James Colnett, an officer of the British Royal Navy, and explorer, suggested the islands could be used as base for the whalers operating in the Pacific Ocean as they offered fresh water, and an almost endless supply of meat.
Consequently, thousands of the Galapagos tortoises were captured and kept on board whale ships as a means of providing of fresh protein. That hunting orgy almost brought the indigenous tortoise close to extinction.
Over the next few decades, whale ships continued to exploit the new whaling ground and the Galapagos Islands became a frequent stop for the whalers.
Ecuador annexed the Galapagos Islands in 1831, and named them the Archipelago of Ecuador. A year later a group of convicts were shipped in to populate the island of Floreana; Spanish name Isla Santa Maria.
The islands became famous around the world after the survey ship HMS Beagle, arrived in the Galapagos on September 15, 1835. On board was a young naturalist named Charles Darwin.
Forum Secretariat leads Assessment in Marshall Islands to enhance Access and Management of Climate Change Finance
The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) recently undertook a climate change finance assessment in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) to help the small island nation better access and manage climate change finance.
According to Chief Secretary of the RMI, Mr. Casten Nemra, The assessment is timely because it will inform us of the current situation and the steps needed to enable us to tap much needed climate finance sources that would strengthen the resilience of our communities and atoll islands to the adverse effects of climate change.
The assessment follows a formal request made by the Government of RMI and is being undertaken as a collaborative initiative between the PIFS and development partners, including USAID ADAPT Asia-Pacific, Secretariat of the Pacific Communitys Global Climate Change Alliance: Pacific Small Island States (SPC-GCCA: PSIS programme) funded by the European Union, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Pacific Financial Technical Assistance Centre (PFTAC), and the RMI Government. The Australian Government is also providing funding for the assessment.
Following consultations and briefings with key stakeholders, including members of the RMI National Climate Change Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary, the Minister responsible for climate change, all key line Ministries and entities in RMI that have a role in climate change; the Mayors Association; development partners present in-country; NGOs, and educational institutions, the joint team are now in a position to produce a report that will provide strategic advice to the RMI Government on the sources of funding for climate related activities, policies and plans, public financial management and expenditure, institutional and human capacities, and development effectiveness.
With climate change at the forefront of our Governments priority, we believe that partnership at all levels is crucial in order for a small island nation like ours to effectively access and manage international climate change finance to respond to adverse impacts of climate change, says Honorable Tony deBrum, the national Minister responsible for Climate Change.
The Secretariat was pleased to receive the request from the RMI Government and wishes to commend RMI for the leadership shown in continuing to place climate change at the forefront of high level political discussions in the region and internationally, says Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. The Forum Secretariat has taken a multi-stakeholder, multi-partner approach to this joint mission, to ensure that findings of this assessment are comprehensive and useful to the RMI government on various levels, and particularly to increase and improve RMIs ability to access climate financing, strengthen coordination and implementation of climate related efforts, now and into the future.
This assessment complements and builds on other existing frameworks including the Forum Compact work in identifying gaps and areas of progress, and how development partners and other stakeholders could effectively collaborate to assist national efforts on Climate Change Financing, added Mr. Slade.
The joint team intends to undertake a follow-up visit in April to present the preliminary findings and discuss the necessary follow-up actions with the RMI.
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Forum Secretariat leads Assessment in Marshall Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands Governor John P. de Jongh says they’re pushing to bring more European tourists. de Jongh tells TheStreet’s Joe Deaux that travel from the U.S. Northeast is the U.S. Virgin Islands’ largest tourism revenue. The insular area is looking to boost advertising in Italy, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark — main hubs in Europe — in order to attract more European tourists because Europeans typically vacation there longer than Americans.
Ukraine Crisis – What You're Not Being Told – Illuminati Exposed
Illuminati hidden secrets about the Ukraine crisis…What they don't want you to know The European and American public are being systematically lied to about…
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Ukraine Crisis – What You’re Not Being Told – Illuminati Exposed – Video
Poverty is back in the news, for several reasons. The first is the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnsons 1964 War on Poverty speech. In addition, Republican congressman and 2012 vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has released a much-criticized report about federal poverty programs. In 2012 the Romney-Ryan ticket suffered from Mitt Romneys dismissive comments about the 47 percent and conservative caricatures of the poor as welfare-dependent moochers and takers. Ryans attempt at a version of what George W. Bush called compassionate conservatism appears to be an effort at rebranding the right as something other than an alliance of Have-Lots and Have-Somes against Have-Nots.
Public debate about poverty typically focuses on the causes of poverty, rather than the cures. The causes of poverty are many and various. You may be poor because you are the child of poor parents; or because you grew up in an economically distressed urban or rural region; or because you were bankrupted by unexpected medical bills; or because you lost all your money gambling on imaginary real estate in Second Life (this actually occurred, in a case of which I know). Because poverty has multiple causes, policies must be equally numerous, if the goal is to avert or prevent poverty in the future.
But its not necessary to avert or prevent poverty in the future in order to cure the poverty that already exists in the present, for whatever reason. Let me illustrate this point with an example. The treatment of victims of gunshot wounds in the emergency room may be identical even though one gunshot wound was caused by a shooting in the course of a robbery, another by a failed suicide attempt and a third by reckless play with a firearm. Doctors and nurses can treat the victims of the gunshot wounds now, while leaving others to propose better policing, better suicide-prevention counseling and better firearm safety training in the future.
Fortunately, drastically reducing existing poverty in the U.S. is not a difficult intellectual problem, even though it is a difficult political problem. With sufficient political will, we could slash existing poverty in the U.S. very quickly, while simultaneously trying to prevent as much poverty as possible in the future. Some public policy problems, like averting global warming or regulating shadow banking, are incredibly complex. By comparison, antipoverty policy is simple.
We know exactly what we need to do to radically reduce poverty in America. We know that it could be done, and we know how to do it, because many other First World democracies have slashed poverty already.
Among developed nations, the U.S. is an outlier in having a high proportion of its population living in poverty. Among the 34 member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in 2010 on average 11.1 percent of the population suffer from relative income poverty. In the U.S. , however, the number is 17.4 percent. Among developed countries, only Chile (18%), Turkey (19.3%), Mexico (20.4%) and Israel (20.9%) have more of their people living in poverty, according to the OECD.
The low-poverty nations tend to be Scandinavian countries like Sweden (9.1%), Norway (7.5%), Finland (7.3%) and Denmark (6.0%). Some on the right argue that it is wrong to compare small, relatively homogeneous countries with a giant, pluralistic, continental society like the U.S. Others argue that the English-speaking countries as a whole are willing to tolerate more poverty and inequality than the Nordic social democracies.
The numbers dont support these arguments. Among the most populous Western states are France (7.9%) and Germany (8.8%), both of which have around half as many people in poverty as the U.S., notwithstanding their own growing immigrant populations. And while all English-speaking countries tend to be less statist than continental European societies, all of the other anglophone nations have considerably less poverty than the U.S., including Australia (14.4%) and Canada (11.9 %). Indeed, three English-speaking countries Ireland (9.0%), the UK (10.0 %) and New Zealand (10.3%) have fewer citizens in poverty than the OECD average in 2010 of 11.1%.
How do other countries do it? They dont necessarily have fewer poor people to begin with. According to an OECD study, with respect to pre-tax, pre-transfer poverty, the U.S., at 13, ranked in the middle of 26 high-income nations. When it comes to post-tax, post-transfer poverty, however, the U.S. was nearly the worst, second only to Israel.
The difference is entirely the result of government social spending on the poor mostly in the form of transfer payments, like public pensions, unemployment insurance, child subsidies and/or wage subsidies. Many other developed democracies start out with lots of poor people, just like the U.S. But the countries with big welfare states remove most of them from poverty. The American welfare state does lower the poverty rate but not enough. The American welfare state is way too small to be effective in doing its job of lowering poverty.
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Paul Ryans worst nightmare: Heres the real way to cut poverty in America
Mackerel deal gives Faroes unfair share
Friday, March 14, 2014
The Faroe Islands has around 30% of the population of Donegal, but its mackerel quota is now 30% bigger than that of Ireland, said Killybegs Fishermens Organisation chairman Martin Howley.
By Joe Dermody
Allowing these extra mackerel to be caught is really only a short-term gain, said Martin Howley.
The EU Commission was supposed to be trying to protect the fish stock, but this increased fishable quota looks like Commissioner Damanaki wanted a deal at all costs.
Our Government and Minister Coveney did fight very hard against this, but it is all about votes in the EU. Germany wasnt interested, and Britain just wanted to end the ban on fish coming in from the Faroes. Ireland is just a small fish in this pond. We never stood a chance. Ireland is getting an increased quota, but we dont see this as a good deal for Ireland.
This new deal ends four years of stalemate in the EUs efforts to have the Faroes agree to quotas. The Faroes have gone from around 5% to 15% of the total global mackerel catch in five years. With a population of 50,000 and a total area of 1,400 sq km, its historic catch used to be minimal. Donegal is home to around 160,000 people. The Faroes can catch 150,000 tonnes of mackerel in 2014, with Irelands quota set at around 105,000 tonnes for 2014, up 60% on last year.
The EU, Norway and the Faroes have also agreed not to participate or promote a commercial fishery for mackerel by Greenland, which plans to catch 100,000 tonnes. The Killybegs group said Greenlands plans for an unregulated catch seriously undermine this weeks tripartite treaty.
As Greenland doesnt have its own fleet, this catch will likely transfer to either Iceland or the Faroes. The KFO has called on the European Commission to issue sanctions against Greenland.
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Mackerel deal gives Faroes unfair share
Liberty Global Plc (LBTYA), the cable company controlled by billionaire John Malone, plans to offer mobile phone services to customers throughout Europe, taking on carriers such as the U.K.s Vodafone Group Plc.
Liberty Global will put together a so-called mobile virtual network operator system, or MVNO, the name given to companies that use other carriers wireless infrastructure for their own mobile services, Senior Vice President Manuel Kohnstamm said in a interview yesterday in Amsterdam.
Were working on a deep MVNO, and we dont only do that in Austria but in the whole of Europe, Kohnstamm said. Were constructing a pan-European MVNO platform.
Liberty Global will be able to keep margins high because, as a European cable TV operator, the company runs one billing system, one back-office and one back-haul, which connects the core network to the smaller subnetworks, he said. The company is introducing the MVNO network in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the U.K., Kohnstamm said.
The company has been active on acquisitions in the European cable market in recent years, taking over Virgin Media Inc. in the U.K. in 2013 and agreeing to buy Dutch operator Ziggo NV (ZIGGO) in January.
London-based Liberty Global has now reached a critical mass, Kohnstamm said, which has led the company to having sufficient scale to be competitive on delivering hardware, research and development, technology and content. While the company isnt actively pursuing acquisitions, it hasnt lost interest in potential takeovers.
We will always be interested and look around, Kohnstamm said, adding that he mostly sees a role for small and middle-sized companies.
They are the ones having to compete with Deutsche Telekom, Belgacom and KPN, which also invest and innovate further, Kohnstamm said. For that reason, he eventually sees those companies being just as interested in joining Liberty as Liberty is in them.
Belgiums Telenet Group Holding NV (TNET), which Liberty Global failed to take over after Telenets shareholders rejected a bid in 2013, isnt one of those smaller companies Liberty is aiming for at the moment.
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Liberty Global to Roll-Out Pan-European Mobile Platform
International cable company Liberty Global (LBTYA) is a new 0.25% position initiated by Berkshire Hathaway in 4Q. Liberty Global operates in 14 countries, including 12 European countries.
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Buffetts Berkshire Hathaway opens a position in Liberty Global
For Uli Hoeness, the next four days will be a painful reminder of how a decade-old folly turned a German soccer icon into one of the countrys most prominent tax dodgers.
The president of Bayern Munich soccer club and a member of the German national team that won the 1974 World Cup is scheduled to appear in a Munich court today on charges he hid trading profits in Switzerland to evade taxes.
Hoeness, 62, is one of the most well known Germans seeking clemency by disclosing violations and paying back the taxes. Countries around the globe have sought to uncover wealthy citizens who tried to hide savings in European tax havens Switzerland, Luxembourg and Lichtenstein.
If someone famous like Hoeness is being exposed like this, it certainly has effects, for better or worse, said Manuel Theisen, a business and tax professor at Munich University. The case prompted many others to turn themselves in, because they fear if someone like him is being prosecuted it means no one is safe.
The Hoeness probe started a year ago when he reported himself to authorities after lawmakers rejected a treaty that would have stopped prosecutors from buying stolen Swiss bank data with details on German account holders.
The fact that prosecutors charged him indicates they dont believe he disclosed all of his assets on a voluntary self-declaration filing, said Martin Wulf, an attorney at Streck Mack Schwedhelm in Berlin.
To be valid, a self declaration has to be complete, said Wulf, who isnt involved in the case. The filing must provide all information about the person to allow the tax authorities to gauge how much tax is due.
In an interview in May 2013 with German weekly Die Zeit, Hoeness said he committed a huge folly when he hid money in the Swiss account. Former Adidas AG Chief Executive Officer Robert Louis-Dreyfus in 2001 lent him 5 million euros ($7 million) and acted as a guarantor for another loan of 15 million euros, Hoeness said. He used the money to gamble and speculate on the stock market until 2006 and didnt pay taxes on the profits, he said.
Hanns Feigen, Hoeness attorney, didnt return a call seeking comment. The court has scheduled four days of trial and a verdict may come as soon as March 13.
Before making his fortune as the founder the HoWe Wurstwaren KG sausage factory, Hoeness played almost nine years for a Bayern Munich team that won three league titles and European cups during the 1970s. He was one of six Bayern Munich players, including Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Mueller and Paul Breitner, who helped the German national team win the 1974 World Cup title against the Netherlands.
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Bayern Munich Heros Folly Keeps German Focus on Tax Evasion
WASHINGTON: The U.S. has expanded its action against tax cheaters to countries such as India, Israel and Liechtenstein, a top U.S. official told lawmakers. So far, the U.S. action was primarily focused against tax cheaters on Switzerland. “While the (Justice) Department’s initial efforts and this hearing have focused on Switzerland, we have expanded our investigations to go after tax cheats and the banks assisting them in India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and several Caribbean countries,” the Deputy Attorney General, James M Cole, told a Congressional committee.
Since 2009, the Department has publicly charged 73 account holders and 35 professionals with violations arising from their offshore banking activities, and 72 individuals have pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, he said. “Just as importantly our enforcement efforts have driven over 43,000 taxpayers with secret offshore accounts to identify themselves to the IRS, disclose their offshore accounts, and to pay a total of over $6 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest. And that number is growing,” he said.
Cole said in 2013, the Department obtained four separate orders authorizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue John Doe summonses seeking records from banks in the U.S. for the U.S. correspondent accounts of banks located in the Caribbean, Switzerland, and other European countries and America has successfully compelled account holders to provide the U.S. with personal records of their foreign banking activities.
Since the UBS deferred prosecution agreement in February 2009, the Department has taken public action against two other banks, he said, adding that in January 2013, Wegelin Bank, one of the oldest financial institutions in Switzerland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and was ordered to pay substantial fines and to forfeit funds.
“As a result of its criminal conviction, Wegelin was forced to close its doors, which sent a shockwave through the community of banks and bankers in Switzerland that had been engaged in facilitating U.S. tax evasion. In July 2013, Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG entered into a non-prosecution agreement, and paid substantial fines,” he said. What is particularly notable about this case is that we were able to have Liechtenstein actually change its bank secrecy laws retroactively. This enabled the department to obtain files relating to non-compliant U.S. account holders,” he said. “In August 2013, the department publicly stated that 14 banks have been authorized for investigation concerning the use of Swiss bank accounts. This is in addition to on-going investigations concerning cross-border activities by banks in India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and several Caribbean countries,” Cole added.
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U.S. Expands Investigations Against Offshore Tax Evasion To India, Israel
The United States has expanded its action against tax cheaters to countries like India, Israel and Liechtenstein, a top US official told lawmakers on Wednesday.
So far, the US action had been primarily focused against tax cheaters on Switzerland.
“While the (Justice) Department’s initial efforts and this hearing have focused on Switzerland, we have expanded our investigations to go after tax cheats and the banks assisting them in India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and several Caribbean countries,” the Deputy Attorney General, James M Cole, told a Congressional committee on Wednesday.
Since 2009, the Department has publicly charged 73 account holders and 35 professionals with violations arising from their offshore banking activities, and 72 individuals have plead guilty or were convicted at trial, he said.
“Just as importantly our enforcement efforts have driven over 43,000 taxpayers with secret offshore accounts to identify themselves to the IRS disclose their offshore accounts, and to pay a total of over $6 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest.
And that number is growing,” he said.
Cole said in 2013, the Department obtained four separate orders authorising the Internal Revenue Service to issue John Doe summonses seeking records from banks in the United States for the US correspondent accounts of banks located in the Caribbean, Switzerland, and other European countries and America has successfully compelled account holders to provide the US with their personal records of their foreign banking activities.
Since the UBS deferred prosecution agreement in February 2009, the Department has taken public action against two other banks, he said, adding that in January 2013, Wegelin Bank, one of the oldest financial institutions in Switzerland, pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and was ordered to pay substantial fines and to forfeit funds.
“As a result of its criminal conviction, Wegelin was forced to close its doors, which sent a shockwave through the community of banks and bankers in Switzerland that had been engaged in facilitating US tax evasion.
In July 2013, Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG entered into a non-prosecution agreement, and paid substantial fines,” he said.
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US expands investigations against offshore tax evasion
The Faroe Islands on Wednesday advanced its battle with the European Union over fishing rights as the World Trade Organisation agreed to examine the dispute.
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