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Left-wing allies of Mayor de Blasio have come up with a new way to tax the rich by going after nonresidents who buy expensive co-ops and condos that they seldom use.

The liberal Fiscal Policy Institute on Monday proposed a tax of up to 4 percent on 1,556 pied–terres worth more than $5 million each. The tax would generate $665 million a year, the group said.

The mayors office quickly said it was reviewing the proposal.

De Blasios previous attempt to increase taxes on the citys wealthiest residents was shot down in Albany, which would also have to approve the condo-tax plan.

But the new targets of the tax hikers include many foreigners who dont vote.

The graduated tax would start at 0.5 percent for properties valued at $5 million to $6 million, and max out at 4 percent for units valued at more than $25 million.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) is introducing a bill to enact the tax Tuesday.

In his report, institute director James Parrott said absentee owners of expensive condos and co-ops should be targeted because they dont pay local income tax.

The owners bid up the price of New York City residential real estate, and since they dont spend much time in these use units, contribute little to the local economy compared to full-time residents, he said.

Brooklyn City Councilman Brand Lander, the deputy policy leader, embraced the tax on extremely wealthy foreigners, saying many use their properties as tax havens.

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Fiscal Policy Institute proposes tax on luxe pied–terres



Bocas del Toro Islands Real Estate – Isla Cristobal Waterfront Living
For more information on Bocas del Toro real estate, contact Jason Will with Panama Source Real Estate at 011-507-6640-5560 or my U.S. line at 251-583-9728. You can also shoot me an email to…

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — Free speech has consequences — especially when business interests are involved.

That’s a lesson most recently learned by real estate professionals David and Jason Benham, who lost the HGTV show they were scheduled to host after a recording of David Benham’s anti-homosexuality views emerged.

Should the Benham brothers have lost their HGTV show?

After the site Right Wing Watch published a post about the pair and posted a recording of Benham talking to a talk show host about “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation,” HGTV dropped their planned show, called “Flip It Forward.”

“HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series,” the network tweeted after the post went public.

The Benhams aren’t the first ones to lose work over their words. Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from the team’s day-to-day operations and facilities — and fined $2.5 million — for racist comments that were recorded and posted online. Paula Deen became an ex-Food Network host after she admitted to using a racial slur. “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson was suspended after his controversial comments on homosexuals were published, though the A&E show has stayed on the air.

Opinion: What happened to Sterling was morally wrong

Regardless of the platform, the personal, political and corporate have ways of getting entangled with one another these days — particularly when corporations try to maintain very public reputations of welcoming diversity and inclusiveness, says crisis management consultant Eric Dezenhall.

“I defy you to go to a corporate meeting and not hear words incanted over and over again: ‘diversity,’ ‘inclusiveness,’ ‘transparency,’ ‘corporate social responsibility,’ ‘sustainability,’ et cetera,” he says. “If you step out of the narrow margins on some of these issues, there’s going to be a problem.”

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Underneath all the speech controversies, it's just business

May 092014

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — Free speech has consequences — especially when business interests are involved.

That’s a lesson most recently learned by real estate professionals David and Jason Benham, who lost the HGTV show they were scheduled to host after a recording of David Benham’s anti-homosexuality views emerged.

Should the Benham brothers have lost their HGTV show?

After the site Right Wing Watch published a post about the pair and posted a recording of Benham talking to a talk show host about “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation,” HGTV dropped their planned show, called “Flip It Forward.”

“HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series,” the network tweeted after the post went public.

The Benhams aren’t the first ones to lose work over their words. Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from the team’s day-to-day operations and facilities — and fined $2.5 million — for racist comments that were recorded and posted online. Paula Deen became an ex-Food Network host after she admitted to using a racial slur. “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson was suspended after his controversial comments on homosexuals were published, though the A&E show has stayed on the air.

Opinion: What happened to Sterling was morally wrong

Regardless of the platform, the personal, political and corporate have ways of getting entangled with one another these days — particularly when corporations try to maintain very public reputations of welcoming diversity and inclusiveness, says crisis management consultant Eric Dezenhall.

“I defy you to go to a corporate meeting and not hear words incanted over and over again: ‘diversity,’ ‘inclusiveness,’ ‘transparency,’ ‘corporate social responsibility,’ ‘sustainability,’ et cetera,” he says. “If you step out of the narrow margins on some of these issues, there’s going to be a problem.”

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Free speech has consequences

Why use Zillow?

Zillow helps you find the newest Liberty Township real estate listings. By analyzing information on thousands of houses for sale in Liberty Township, New Jersey and across the United States, we calculate home values (Zestimates) and the Zillow Home Value Price Index for Liberty Township proper, its neighborhoods, and surrounding areas. There are currently 34 for sale listings in Liberty Township zip codes, including condos, bank owned homes, short sales, townhomes, duplexes, land and luxury listings. If you’re looking to rent, check out our extensive list of luxury apartments, townhomes. We make it easy to find your dream home by filtering home types, price, and size. Filtering with keyword search is also possible, like “waterfront” or “park like property ” homes in Liberty Township.

Disclaimer: School attendance zone boundaries are supplied by Maponics and are subject to change. Check with the applicable school district prior to making a decision based on these boundaries.

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Liberty Township NJ Real Estate – 48 Homes For Sale – Zillow



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MALVERN, Pa., April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –Liberty Property Trust's Cambridge Biomedical Campus won the prestigious Place Making Award at UK real estate publication Property Week's Property Awards 2014. Cambridge Biomedical Campus combines world-class biomedical research, patient care and university teaching on a single site in Cambridge, UK. The master planned community is being jointly …

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Liberty Property Trust's Cambridge Biomedical Campus Honored for Placemaking

Liberty Property Trust ( LPT ) disclosed a new unsecured revolving credit facility worth $800 million. This replaced an existing facility worth $500 million, which was due Nov 2, 2015. The move is aimed at strengthening the balance sheet and availing credit facility at competitive terms.

This new facility bears an annual interest rate of LIBOR (London Inter-Bank Offer Rate) plus 105 basis points and a facility fee of 20 basis points. Notably, based on its current credit rating, Liberty Property got the credit facility at lower rates compared to the replaced facility (previous rate and facility fee being LIBOR plus 125 and 25 basis points, respectively). Through an accordion feature, the facility can be enhanced to $1.2 billion. Moreover, the initial maturity date of Mar 26, 2018 can be extended by one additional year.

A consortium of leading financial institutions assisted Liberty Property in obtaining this credit facility. Among them, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated of Bank of America Corporation ( BAC ) and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC of JPMorgan Chase & Co. ( JPM ) acted as the joint lead arrangers and bookrunners.

We expect the strategic move to improve the company’s liquidity position going forward. This would position it better to continue to invest in growth needs which go a long in enhancing top-line. In addition, Liberty Property maintains a conservative balance sheet and offers a steady dividend payout to shareholders. As of Dec 31, 2013, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $163.4 million, up from $38.4 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

Last month, this office and industrial real estate investment trust (REIT), reported fourth-quarter 2013 funds from operations (FFO) of 63 cents per share, which was in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as the prior-year quarter figure. The decent results were attributable to year-over-year revenue gains, strong leasing and portfolio restructuring activity.

Liberty Property currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Another better-ranked REIT stock is Cousins Properties Inc. ( CUZ ) having a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Note: FFO, a widely accepted and reported measure of the performance of REITs, is derived by adding depreciation, amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

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Liberty Property Boosts Liquidity Position – Analyst Blog

San Francisco, California (PRWEB) March 18, 2014

With so many web marketing companies taking up real estate, it can be difficult to know who to hire when the time comes. Now a solution exists through 10 Best SEO’s rankings. Released in March, this list measures the Best SEO Agencies for that month. Providing an updated, month-to-month look at what companies are currently on top, the list makes it easy for those interested in hiring an SEO company to make the decision.

1. Yodle A US based company, Yodle uses organic search engine optimization in order to draw as much web traffic to a page as possible, then follows up with a call to action that entices the visitor to sign up for an email list, contact the company, and more. Combining natural lead generation with aggressive marketing tactics, Yodle is the highest ranking SEO company in the month of March, using techniques which generate large amounts of income for its clients.

2. Matomy Another US based company, Matomy takes a different approach through the use of paid marketing such as pay per click advertising, combined with an organic search campaign, to generate the traffic it draws. Once the visitors arrive, Matomy ensures the websites have great content in order to keep them there. Because of the extensive keyword research performed before beginning, Matomy is the perfect choice for those looking to go into niche websites.

3. BrightEdge BrightEdge has been named the #3 Best SEO Agency because it takes a more direct approach to search engine optimization, designing websites from the ground up to take the most advantage of Google’s algorithms. By constantly staying on top of updates to search engines and other factors that influence the landscape of the internet, BrightEdge is able to provide its clients with optimal service and a guarantee of success. Their team works hand in hand with their clients in order to design an SEO service that sticks by a set of guiding principles, focusing only on the desires of the client.

4. Absolute Absolute offers a full suite of marketing options, of which SEO just happens to be a part. However, it’s an effective part they operate by using organic traffic, not paid advertising. Social media also plays a large role in Absolute’s efforts to provide their clients with the best service possible.

By following this list, website owners can more easily select a company to complete services needed. With multiple SEO companies, someone has to be the best after all, not every company can rank number one in Google. With 10 Best SEO’s monthly list, now potential clients can know to whom to turn.

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Best SEO Agencies Announced by 10 Best SEO

March 11 To the Editor:

At the Kittery School Committee meeting tonight (Tuesday, March 11), I suggested that the committee collect some important data in critical areas before awarding superintendent Allyn Hutton what I, and many other Kittery residents, consider to be an excessive salary raise. (Editor’s note: In February, the Kittery School Committee approved for Hutton an 11.7 percent raise for fiscal year 2015, a 7.9 percent raise in fiscal year 2016 and a 3 percent raise in fiscal year 2017.) I then made what I deem to be the entirely reasonable suggestion that Ms. Hutton consider giving back some of her pay raise so that it would be more in line with what her colleague teachers receive. I felt that such a “giving back” might be perceived as a sensitive and generous gesture by the Kittery community. I was immediately upbraided by committee Chairman Ken Lemont. I had initially made the point in my presentation about the critical importance of freedom of speech in our society. I felt that Mr. Lemont’s censure in both tone and content was a blatant violation of the free speech rights of citizens.

The meeting continued to be interesting. Superintendent Allyn Hutton did not have any exact figures on the achievement scores of our middle school and high school students nor on the specific issue of the possible drop in students’ achievement scores as they progressed through the grades. What followed however seemed to be a riff on the old Benjamin Disraeli axiom: “There are lies, damn lies and statistics.”

Ms. Hutton informed us that Kittery students were doing as well as the students of other districts who have a high population of children who get “free school lunches.” Since when did low achievement become a function of poverty? I am aware there is some national precedent for pairing poverty with low achievement but I believe it is a loathsome concept and certainly not one that I hope our school system will base its students’ goals on. As one of a family of 10 children raised on a very poor Irish farm, I, and my siblings, had free school lunches throughout our school careers. This was thanks to the beneficence of the queen of England. We were all high achievers and would never expect to be assessed on different standards based on our poverty. Let us hope that never again are the achievement scores of our Kittery students tied into the numbers of our students who receive free school lunches.

On the issue of Kittery having lower real estate values than neighboring towns, due to possible concerns about local school quality, Ms. Hutton found that Mitchell, Shapleigh and Traip schools were given 9, 7 and 9 ratings respectively. No explanation was given for where these numbers came from, by whom they were awarded, the credentials of the awarders or on what specific criteria.

I request that Ms. Hutton be much more specific on the time spans, sources, criteria, content validity and reliability of her future statistics. I look forward to discussing with Ms. Hutton the sources and actual meaning of the numbers/data she presented tonight, as I am not sure they have real value. I suggest that a Kittery schools investigative group be set up to conduct meaningful interviews and collect comprehensive data, much like the “watchdog” group that helped improve matters relating to the police department and town management two years ago.

Paul Treacy

Kittery Point, Maine

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Free speech and dubious statistics in Kittery

Liberty Property Trust ( LPT ), a real estate investment trust (REIT), disclosed its lease renewal deals for a total of 195,800 square feet of space in Crosspoint Center and Perimeter West industrial parks in Charlotte. The move strengthened the company’s relationship with existing tenants and ensured steady occupancy of 99% at its Charlotte portfolio.

In particular, at Crosspoint Center industrial park, Liberty Property renewed three lease deals with Rooms to Go, Clark Tire & Auto Inc. and Novitex Enterprise Solutions, Inc. for 117,400 square feet, 38,400 square feet and 16,000 square feet of space, respectively. On the other hand, at Perimeter West industrial park, Liberty Property penned a renewal deal with Wheel Pros for 24,000 square feet of space. For Liberty Property, the above-mentioned transactions will help to secure steady rental revenues.

Notably, the company has of late, been executing a repositioning program to enhance its portfolio base. Last month, Liberty Property declared having started constructing a Class A office building at its development project – Legacy at Fallbrook – at 10720 West Sam Houston Parkway, to expand its Houston portfolio. Going forward, we believe that such repositioning efforts by Liberty Property will help it to ride on the growth trajectory.

In February, Liberty Property reported fourth-quarter 2013 funds from operations (FFO) of 63 cents per share, which was in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate as well as the prior-year quarter figure. The results benefited from year-over-year revenue gains, strong leasing and portfolio restructuring activity.

Liberty Property currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other stocks worth considering in the REIT sector include Cousins Properties Inc. ( CUZ ), Public Storage ( PSA ) and Omega Healthcare Investors Inc. ( OHI ). All of these have the same Zacks Rank as Liberty Property.

Note: Funds from operations, a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs, are obtained after adding depreciation and amortization and other non-cash expenses to net income.

COUSIN PROP INC (CUZ): Free Stock Analysis Report

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PUBLIC STORAGE (PSA): Free Stock Analysis Report

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Liberty Property Renews Leases in Charlotte – Analyst Blog

Many islands are blessed with large amounts of sun, wind, and water, making renewable energy a promising solution, Guevara-Stone writes. One small island off the coast of Africa has embraced these resources, most notably through an innovative hybrid hydro-wind system.

Islands confront some of the most difficult energy challenges. Their size and remoteness means they pay extremely high energy costs for often unreliable and dirty energy. Yet many islands are blessed with large amounts of sun, wind, and water, making renewable energy a promising solution. One small island off the coast of Africa has embraced these resources, most notably through an innovative hybrid hydro-wind system.

explores topics critical to the institute’swork transforming global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure future. Independent, nonpartisan, and nonprofit,Rocky Mountain Instituteadvances market-based solutions and engages businesses, communities, and institutions to cost-effectively shift to efficiency and renewables.

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The smallest and most remote of Spains Canary Islands, El Hierro (pop. 10,700) is a land of lava-sculpted rocks, cliff-lined shores, and crystal clear waters. It is a divers paradise, yet remains relatively untouched by tourism. In the early 1980s, the island took its first environmental stance, opting for a development model based on respect for the islands heritage and conserving its natural resources. At the time, these guidelines seemed to be in contradiction to the social and economic dynamics of the Canary Islands that were seeking to attract mass tourism built on a foundation of a spectacular real estate business, the President of the El Hierro Island Council, Tomas Padrn,said in a presentation to UNESCO. It now gives us great satisfaction to be able to say that we have seen that the road chosen by the people of El Hierro was the right one and we are proud of living in harmony with a natural habitat that has remained largely unaffected by the hand of man.

In 1997, El Hierro was the first in the Canary Islands to adopt a sustainable development plan to protect its environmental and cultural richness, prompting UNESCO to declare the entire island a biosphere reserve in 2000. Yet the island was still importing and burning 6,000 tonnes of diesel per year, emitting 18,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Twenty percent of the electrical energy consumed ran threedesalination plantsto generate water for drinking and irrigation. So a lack of energy on El Hierro not only meant not being able to turn on the lights; it also meant suffering from a scarcity of water and thus food.

The government of El Hierro realized conservation wasnt enough; it needed to take things a step further and become a 100 percent energy-self-sufficient island. Fortunately, Padrn was not only president of El Hierros local government, but also knew a bit about electricity as he worked at the islands electric company. With some research and education, Padrn and the new Department for Alternative Energy Research convinced people of the viability of a hydro-wind system.

A public-private partnership was formed between the Island Council, the Spanish energy company Endesa, and the Canary Islands Technological Institute to develop the project, called Gorona del Viento.

El Hierro now has five wind turbines with a combined installed capacity of 11.5 megawatts soon to provide the majority of the electricity for the island. When wind production exceeds demand, excess energy will pump water from a reservoir at the bottom of a volcanic cone to another reservoir at the top of the volcano 700 meters above sea level. The upper reservoir stores over 132 million gallons of water. The stored water acts as a battery. When demand rises and there is not enough wind power, the water will be released to four hydroelectric turbines with a total capacity of 11 MW.

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Clean energy offers boost for remote island nations



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Feb 032014



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The revelations were published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists or ICIJ on Wednesday.

The ICIJ said it had extracted the names from a cache of around 2.5 million leaked files relating to offshore activities in the Cook Islands and British Virgin Islands.

The group said a painstaking six-month probe had helped it identify 22,000 clients with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong.

The documents show that as of 2008 Deng Jiagui, a real estate mogul who is married to Qi Qiaoqiao, president Xis sister, owned 50% of a British Virgin Islands company called Excellence Effort Property Development Ltd.

In 2006, Wen Yunsong, the Northwestern University-educated son of Wen Jiabao, set up a British Virgin Islands company called Trend Gold Consultants with the help of Credit Suisse.

Meanwhile, Liu Chunhang, Mr Wens Cambridge University-educated son-in-law, was found to have set up a company called Fullmark Consultants in 2004.

Minxin Pei, a political scientist, told the ICIJ that such offshore wealth may not be strictly illegal.

Whats the point of running the Communist Party if you cant get a couple billion for your family? said Steve Dickinson, a China-based legal expert.

The issue is enormous and has tremendous significance for China, and the fact that everybody dances around it and doesnt want to talk about it is understandable but scandalous.

The ICIJ claimed its investigation showed how some of Chinas elites are aggressively using offshore havens to hold assets, list companies in the worlds stock exchanges, buy and sell real estate and conduct their business away from Beijings red tape and capital controls.

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Offshore companies ‘shroud’ riches of China’s Red Nobility

Chinas elite, including the brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping, have used secretive offshore companies that helped hide wealth in tax havens, including the British Virgin Islands and Samoa.

Thats according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington, D.C. The group, whose website is now blocked in China, worked with reporters from Europe, North America, and Asia, sifting through leaked files from two offshore funds, Singapore-based Portcullis TrustNet and Commonwealth Trust Limited in the British Virgin Islands.

The documents, which are part of a larger cache of 2.5 million files obtained by ICIJ and analyzed with its media partners, provide information on nearly 22,000 offshore clients with addresses in Hong Kong and mainland China. Another 16,000 or so come from Taiwan, with the remainder from countries around the world.

By some estimates, between $1 trillion and $4 trillion in untraced assets have left [China] since 2000, says a story on the leaked files published on the groups website.

The records in ICIJs possession include details on a BVI-registered real estate company half-owned by Deng Jiagui, the husband of President Xis older sister, and a multimillionaire property developer, whose wealth was first revealed in a Bloomberg News investigation in 2012.

The wealth of Chinas rich, including that secreted offshore, may not be strictly illegal but often is connected to conflict of interest and covert use of government power, said Minxin Pei, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California, quoted in the story on the leaked files. If there is real transparency, then the Chinese people will have a much better idea of how corrupt the system is [and] how much wealth has been amassed by government officials through illegal means.

President Xi, who has warned that out-of-control graft could bring down the Communist Party he heads, is presiding over a sweeping anticorruption campaign. In 2004 he admonished Chinese officials to rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends, and staff and vow not to use power for personal gain.

The files also include information on the offshore holdings of Wen Yunsong, the son of former Premier Wen Jiabao. With assistance from the Hong Kong office of Credit Suisse (CS), the younger Wen set up a BVI-registered company called Trend Gold Consultants in 2006, while his father served as premier. The company appears to have been dissolved in 2008, ICIJ says.

Relatives of retired top officials, including former President Hu Jintao, former Premier Li Peng, and deceased paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, have possessed offshore holdings, according to the investigative consortium. All told, relatives of at least five current or past members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, Chinas top elite leadership body, have incorporated companies in BVI or the Cook Islands.

Who along with Credit Suisse has been helping hide the wealth? The audit firm now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers helped incorporate more than 400 offshore entities for clients from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, while UBS (UBS) did so for more than a 1,000 customers from the same three markets, according to ICIJ. Western banks and accounting firms play a key role as middlemen in helping Chinese clients set up trusts and companies in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa and other offshore centers usually associated with hidden wealth, the story says.

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China’s Elite Wealth in Offshore Tax Havens, Leaked Files Show

Chinas elite, including the brother-in-law of President Xi Jinping, have used secretive offshore companies that helped hide wealth in tax havens, including the British Virgin Islands and Samoa.

Thats according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington, D.C. The group, whose website is now blocked in China, worked with reporters from Europe, North America, and Asia, sifting through leaked files from two offshore funds, Singapore-based Portcullis TrustNet and Commonwealth Trust Limited in the British Virgin Islands.

The documents, which are part of a larger cache of 2.5 million files obtained by ICIJ and analyzed with its media partners, provide information on nearly 22,000 offshore clients with addresses in Hong Kong and mainland China. Another 16,000 or so come from Taiwan, with the remainder from countries around the world.

By some estimates, between $1 trillion and $4 trillion in untraced assets have left [China] since 2000, says a story on the leaked files published on the groups website.

The records in ICIJs possession include details on a BVI-registered real estate company half-owned by Deng Jiagui, the husband of President Xis older sister, and a multimillionaire property developer, whose wealth was first revealed in a Bloomberg News investigation in 2012.

The wealth of Chinas rich, including that secreted offshore, may not be strictly illegal but often is connected to conflict of interest and covert use of government power, said Minxin Pei, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California, quoted in the story on the leaked files. If there is real transparency, then the Chinese people will have a much better idea of how corrupt the system is [and] how much wealth has been amassed by government officials through illegal means.

President Xi, who has warned that out-of-control graft could bring down the Communist Party he heads, is presiding over a sweeping anticorruption campaign. In 2004 he admonished Chinese officials to rein in your spouses, children, relatives, friends, and staff and vow not to use power for personal gain.

The files also include information on the offshore holdings of Wen Yunsong, the son of former Premier Wen Jiabao. With assistance from the Hong Kong office of Credit Suisse (CS), the younger Wen set up a BVI-registered company called Trend Gold Consultants in 2006, while his father served as premier. The company appears to have been dissolved in 2008, ICIJ says.

Relatives of retired top officials, including former President Hu Jintao, former Premier Li Peng, and deceased paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, have possessed offshore holdings, according to the investigative consortium. All told, relatives of at least five current or past members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, Chinas top elite leadership body, have incorporated companies in BVI or the Cook Islands.

Who along with Credit Suisse has been helping hide the wealth? The audit firm now known as PricewaterhouseCoopers helped incorporate more than 400 offshore entities for clients from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, while UBS (UBS) did so for more than a 1,000 customers from the same three markets, according to ICIJ. Western banks and accounting firms play a key role as middlemen in helping Chinese clients set up trusts and companies in the British Virgin Islands, Samoa and other offshore centers usually associated with hidden wealth, the story says.

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China’s Elite Wealth Goes to Offshore Tax Havens

A series of leaked documents obtained by the ICIJ found nearly 22,000 offshore clients had addresses in China and Hong Kong, including Chinas current President Xi Jinpings brother-in-laws real estate company, and former Premier Wen Jiabaos son and son-in-law. The ICIJ report gives an unprecedented look into the hidden finances of the nations top leaders and the countrys wealthiest citizens. Here are some major takeaways: 1. By some estimates, between $1 trillion and $4 trillion in untraced assets have left the country since 2000. Chinese officials are not required to publicly declare all of their assets, and while holding offshore accounts and having wealth as a leader is not necessarily illegal, such quantities of money are easy to associate with corruption, particularly abuse of power and tax evasion. 2. Portcullis Trustnet was among the offshore services firms that were making an all-out drive to sign up clients in China, doing marketing meetings at the Shanghai offices of what were then known as the Big 5 accounting firms: KPMG, Ernst & Young, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and Arthur Andersen. The report found that PwC helped set up more than 400 offshore accounts through TrustNet for various clients in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The Swiss financial giant UBS had a hand in coordinating more than 1,000 offshore entities with the help of TrustNet in the same three markets. 3. Today 40 percent of the British Virgin Islands offshore business comes from China and other Asian nations, according to BVI authorities. Members of the government and their families and business associates from China, Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Mongolia have all reportedly opened up offshore bank accounts with the help of covert companies. 4. Every corner of Chinas economy, from oil to green energy and from mining to arms trading, appears in the ICIJ data. Essentially, there’s no industry with clean hands. In particular, Chinas corruption-laden oil industry is a big player in offshore banking. The report concluded that data from the leaked documents found Chinas three major oil companies, all state-owned, are linked to dozens of firms in the British Virgin Islands. Though some of the accounts are actually disclosed in the corporations’ annual filings, other accounts associated with individuals like Zhang Bowen, head of PetroChinas natural gas distribution subsidiary, Kunlun Energy, are not mentioned. 5. Big loopholes in tax laws have allowed Chinese individuals to operate with relative freedom offshore. They werent required to report their foreign holdings. The government responded swiftlyto foreign media, such as the New York Times or Bloomberg News, reports on the onshore assets of the princelings of former Chinese leader Wen Jiabao. Accusations were rejected and immediately censored from the Chinese Internet. Though mainland authorities announced new rules that went into effect Jan. 1 requiring Chinese to report their overseas assets, with so many accounts held by the nations movers and shakers, it remains to be seen how aggressively such laws will be enforced. Chatter on the report locally has been quiet. Though a Chinese version of the report has also been published, local Chinese news, all of which is technically state-run, have yet to pick up the story. On Weibo, where online conversation is often robust, search returns for keywords of the report or the ICIJ came back blocked, with a message that says, According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search-term search results are not displayed. — (Note: Beijing photo by Shutterstock.com.)

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ICIJ Reveals China’s Elite’s Offshore Trillion-Dollar Offshore Holdings: Five Takeaways

Close relatives of China’s top leaders have used secretive offshore companies in tax havens that helped shroud the Communist elite’s wealth, according to a massive cache of leaked financial records, posing a formidable challenge for President XiJinping,the country’s avowed anti-corruption leader.

The confidential files include details of a real estate company co-owned by Xi’s brother-in-law, as well as British Virgin Islands corporations set up by former premier Wen Jiabao’s son and son-in-law, plus dozens of more cases of people tied to high-level officials.

The discovery could incense ordinary citizens in China, where senior Communist officials used to enjoy a modestly better living but nothing close to the extravagant wealth required to stash money offshore, said Fred Bild, Canada’s ambassador in Beijing from 1990 to 1994. “Now, the income gap between the elite and the masses is huge…. You have hundreds of millions of people that are still living on very low income and they will be outraged.”

The revelations are the latest from the huge trove of documentsleaked to the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and first reported on last April in partnership with media outlets worldwide.

CBC News has exclusive access in Canada to the files, which show that nearly 22,000 people with addresses in mainland China and Hong Kong are involved in offshore dealings in locales such as the British Virgin Islands and the Cook Islands, places usually associated with hidden wealth. Among them are some of China’s most powerful men and women including at least 15 of China’s richest, members of the National People’s Congress and executives from state-owned companies entangled in corruption scandals.

“The political families and the elites never assumed that you could have such a public list of names coming out,” said Yves Tiberghien, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia and director of its Institute of Asian Research.

Tiberghien compared this latest leak to the classified U.S. intelligence files disclosed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. “There was no assumption that this could come out. So that’s the big shock.”

The leaked records disclose a wide array of Chinese nationals using offshore havens, often for business purposes tied to the state entities they run, such as for direct foreign investments in Latin America, where Chinese companies have been expanding operations for years. But in many cases, the offshore shell corporations set up by Chinese nationals are shrouded in questions that they refused to answer.

Among China’s Politburo Standing Committee, the all-powerful group of seven (formerly nine) men who run the Communist Party and the country, relatives of at least five current or former members have incorporated companies in the Cook Islands or British Virgin Islands, the leaked records show.

UBC professor and Asia expert Yves Tiberghien says President Xi Jinping faces a dilemma over what to do with new revelations about Chinese elites’ offshore dealings. (CBC)

More here:
Secret offshore assets of China’s elite exposed in data leak



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