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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Advantages to Investing in Real Estate in Panama



Foreigners will find that Panama has special regulations which favor investments in real estate.   Unlike other tourist destinations, foreigners and nationals can:
  • Buy almost all kinds of property (except for the rainforest 5km way from the border)
  • Own property through shares in corporations, private foundations and trusts
  • Open bank accounts in US dollars free from exchange conversion loss, as well as in euros and other hard currencies
  • Live without having to file Panama tax returns as long as they are not making an income from their Panama property or their activities inside Panama
  • 5 to 20 year property tax holidays, depending on the date of construction of improvements.Foreigners have the added advantage of bilateral investment treaties with the U.S., France, United Kingdom and most European countries which further ensure protection of their investments in Panama.

Just as with any investment, proper due diligence is necessary before paying for any property - even before that first downpayment. A savvy buyer must verify that the seller is the true owner of the property for sale and that no restrictions or liens forbid its sale. The first payment must be accompanied by a written agreement describing the property and executed by a seller property authorized to do so under local law. Appropriate counsel can assist in avoiding unnecessary delays in the transfer of title.

European, Canadian, US and citizens of several Asian countries can stay in Panama with tourist visas for up to 90 days. Full residency is granted to foreigners:

  • Investing US$160,000 in a Panama non-retail business and effectively employing 5 Panamanians,
  • Holding a US$300,000 CD time deposit (plazo fijo) account in a Panama bank for at least 3 years or in the National Bank yielding US$2000.00 monthly for 5 years,
  • Buying a house in Panama mortgage-free for US$300,000 and/or a mixture of the house paid for and time deposit for at least 3 years totalling US$300,000,
  • Investing at least US$60,000 to buy at least 10 hectares of rainforest for reforestation
  • Earning a pension from a social security or any foreign government pension authority above US$1,000.00 monthly as Pensioner ("Pensionado").
Other residence categories exist that are applicable to foreigners sponsored by local employers or educational institutions as part of a foreign worker quota of no more than 10% per company or who marry a Panamanian spouse. Residents for 5 years can apply for naturalization as Panama citizens and have a Panama passport.

Information is valid as of 9/2/2008 and is subject to changes. More information is available from Alvaro Aguilar aaguilar@ nysbar.com Tel. +507 340-6444 / 6638-8707

LOMBARDI AGUILAR & GARCIA - Aquilino de la Guardia St. Ocean Business Plaza, 12th Floor, Panama City, Panama
Tel: +507 340-6444 - Fax: +507 340-6446 - P.O.Box 0831-1110 - http://www.laglex.com

Lombardi Aguilar & Garcia is a civil law partnership registered in Panama with registered number SC-25029 and its members are regulated by the Panama Bar Association

This information is not meant to provide any legal advice. Foreigners are always subject to the laws of their countries of citizenship or residency and should seek appropiate additional counsel in their countries. This information is not intended or written to be used, and may not be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under tax regulations or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matters addressed herein.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Alvaro_Aguilar_Alfu
http://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=6259

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bocas resort required to start operating by 2006



This is the second TV film by Adelita Coriat and combines the original shown last September (over 1000 viewings) it divulges more facts about the scams on Isla Solarte in the Bocas del Toro archipelago selling RoP (Derechos Possesorios) of state owned land in Panama. Shepard Johnson is running and has not returned to Panama or Isla Solarte his sales have collapsed he remains in his house in Granite Bay California, complaining he is the innocent party and refuses to return to Panama City and face the charges against him, blaming everybody for his demise and declaring Chapter 11 last July in California, and suing anyone who does not agree with him. This film will prove otherwise. Guillermo Martucci and his partners even though under house arrest go about their daily business as normal, the same applies to the other defendants in the case, they have very deep pockets having swindled people out of millions of Dollars. The Government and the corrupt Judiciary refuses to do anything about the corruption at all levels, instead of tackling the problems are now part of it which recent events and legislation protecting crooks in Panama have proven. this has outraged investors who are demanding action and indicating that if this problem is not tackled soon the whole Panama land bubble may burst. In August the Government were forced to rescind the law 62 and it's amendments regarding RoP that has caused so much controversy and was open to misinterpretation by scam artists. Non-Spanish speakers are advised to have someone with a knowledge of the Spanish language to assist in understanding some of the complications of this problem. I would like to extend my grateful thanks to AlexNeuman and NK Computers Panama City for their kind assistance in bringing this to screen, and Adelita Corient for her persistance Enjoy the film, please spread the word and pass the URL on to any other persons or organisation you think will benefit from it's contents, you are reminded that this documentary covers the 200 investors on Solarte and now includes the Indian community on the Island who are also under threat. They all hope one day to call the island home, regretfully there are many who will never be able to do that. Thanks for watching Bernard Collier




La Isla de Bastimentos, localizada en la provincia de Bocas del Toro, quedó establecida como Parque Nacional Marino, por la Resolución JD 022-88 del entonces INRENARE, el 21 de diciembre de 1986. La Resolución de Gabinete No. 41, de 13 de febrero de 1996, declaró zona de desarrollo turístico de interés nacional, el área denominada Zona 2, Bastimentos.

En estas áreas, propiedad del Estado, sólo pueden desarrollarse las inversiones en alojamiento público turístico que en las categorías de hoteles, hoteles en áreas naturales, pensiones, cabañas y hostales familiares.

Recientemente, El Siglo tuvo conocimiento de un fraude millonario perpetrado contra ciudadanos extranjeros, a quienes se les vendieron terrenos localizados en Bastimentos y alrededores, obviando el hecho que los mismos no pueden ser vendidos por tratarse de terrenos del Estado. Presuntamente se alteraron documentos estatales, para proceder a esta venta irregular.

Según la información que maneja El Siglo, en Panamá, presuntamente se han estado vendiendo tierras del Estado, infringiendo la Ley. De ser así, se trataría de un delito de Lesa Patria, el cual, según informes obtenidos, podría contar inclusive de algún tipo de aval de la Asamblea Nacional, de aprobarse el proyecto de Ley presentado por el diputado Benicio Robinson de la provincia de Bocas del Toro, ya que, de ser aprobado, se regularía y ilegitimizaría estas ventas fraudulentas. Conozca usted, los hechos y hagas sus propias conclusiones.

Bernard Collier, es un ciudadano residente en el Reino Unido, quien el 23 de julio del 2002, creyó tener la oportunidad de retirarse al otro lado del mundo a un pequeño país centroamericano llamado Panamá, bendecido por la naturaleza, a un paraíso tropical, en un terreno propio, frente al mar Caribe, tras firmar un contrato de compraventa con la sociedad anónima, Grupo Cayo Nancy, registrada en Panamá, a ficha 320420, Rollo 511140, Imagen 0021 y cuyo representante legal es la firma de abogados Martucci & Martucci.

Para ello, Collier tenía pensado invertir la suma de B/. 55,319.00, por los derechos posesorios del lote BV4 de aproximadamente 2,843 metros cuadrados, localizado en Isla Solarte, Bocas del Toro, tal y como se lo había presentado a Shepard Johnson, autorizado para este acto en representación de Grupo Cayo Nancy, S.A.

Pero cuál sería su sorpresa, cuando al preparar todo para iniciar su nueva vida, constata que no es dueño de propiedad alguna, que no existen registros en la oficina de Registro Público en Panamá y que la propiedad de sus sueños es propiedad del Estado y no puede ser vendida, ya que es un "área inadjudicable".

El caso de Collier, sólo es uno, de los muchos casos que se han conocido en los últimos días, luego que el abogado Evans Loo, así lo denunciara e iniciara un proceso legal a fin que a su representado, se le devuelva el dinero que invirtió.

Nada en economía y finanzas

No existe constancia en los archivos centrales de la Dirección de Catastro y Bienes Patrimoniales del Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas de Panamá, que la sociedad Grupo Cayo Nancy, S.A. se le haya tramitado o concedido solicitudes de adjudicación de tierras nacionales para construcción de carreteras para uso público con fondos propios, o muelles de alguna naturaleza, en la Isla de Bastimentos, Isla Solarte, o áreas inadjudicables de esa provincia.

Lo arriba expuesto fue certificado con la nota del 9 de diciembre de 2004, No.DS-AL-No 121, del Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas y que lleva la firma del actual titular de la cartera, Ricaurte Vásquez.
Reforma Agraria no reconoce derechos posesorios.
Por su parte, la Dirección Nacional de Reforma Agraria, adscrita al Ministerio de Desarrollo Agropecuario (MIDA), en nota fechada el 29 de enero de 2004 y firmada por el director general, Gerardo Gaona Sánchez, resalta la no viabilidad del reconocimiento como "derechos posesorios" de las áreas declaradas "inadjudicables".

Según expresó el abogado Loo, un grupo de diputados, encabezados por Benicio Robinson, presentó un proyecto de Ley, para "Declarar Área de Desarrollo Especial el Territorio insular de la provincia de Bocas del Toro", pero a su juicio, lo que en realidad traería como consecuencia la aprobación de este proyecto, es la venta indiscriminada de las islas en dicha provincia, a ciudadanos de nacionalidad extranjera que amparados en "sociedades anónimas" extranjeras, han estado adquiriendo de manera absolutamente ilegal, alegando "derechos posesorios", en áreas que son inadjudicables.

Se desconoce si detrás de este proyecto, está el interés de "solventar" la grave situación en que se encuentran todos los extranjeros que compraron incautos y que ahora reclaman su dinero, ya que los papeles que se les otorgó no valen nada. "Con esta Ley pretenden legitimar y justificar los millones que han recibido los "vendedores" o sencillamente crear las condiciones para vender nuevas tierras a las cuales le saldrán "poseedores por montón", expresó el abogado Evans Loo.
http://www.forospanama.com/showthread.php?t=4655





10 nuevos proyectos en el Registro de Turismo

Los proyectos podrán acogerse a los beneficios fiscales de la Ley 8 de 1994

Mónica Palm
mpalm@prensa.com

10 empresas, que en conjunto prometen invertir más de 160 millones de dólares, han inscrito sus proyectos en el Registro Nacional de Turismo durante el año que terminó el pasado martes.
En Bocas del Toro, el Grupo Islas Tropicales, S.A. construye un hotel de 60 habitaciones denominado Isla Solarte Caribbean Garden Resort, a un costo de poco más de 2.2 millones de dólares. Los directivos y dignatarios del Grupo Islas Tropicales, S.A. son Shepard Johnson, presidente; Monte Norman Watson, tesorero, y Monte Sybil Johnson, secretario.
Todos los proyectos inscritos en el Registro Nacional de Turismo deberán iniciar operaciones antes de tres años contados a partir de la fecha de inscripción en el Registro.
http://mensual.prensa.com/mensual/contenido/2003/01/02/hoy/negocios/834663.html


Developer, buyers wage war over Panama island project

In re: Shepard Johnson and Monte Johnson - 2:2008cv00679 Grupo Islas Tropicales, S.A., Grupo Cayo Nancy, S.A., Solarte Plantation, S.A.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Panama Opens Doors to Economic Growth

Panama Opens Doors to Economic Growth

Bobbin , July, 1999 by Jordan Kalman

Panama -- which in its native Indian language means "abundance of butterflies" -- historically has brought to mind the country's famous hats, bananas and world renown canal. Today, however, many businesspeople have left behind this vision and replaced it with one of an $8.9-billion economy gearing up for serious growth across its manufacturing, financial, service and tourism sectors, to name just a few. Panama is encouraging the U.S. sewn products industry to play a role in this growth.

According to J. Enrique Tellez, senior commercial specialist for the U.S. Embassy in Panama, the country is on track "to establish a basis for sustained economic growth." With a newly established constitutional democracy in place, the country has achieved monetary stability based on the U.S. dollar, put in place trade liberalization and structural reforms and is working to create conditions attractive to foreign investment, he noted at a recent conference titled "Doing Business in Central America & the Caribbean Basin."

Along with a gathering of business executives, Bobbin was on hand at the Charlotte, NC, event, at which Tellez stressed the many opportunities for U.S. apparel and textile manufacturers to take advantage of Panama's growth and development. For example, the United States already is by far Panama's main trading partner, with imports from the United States (not including the Colon Free Trade Zone) totaling $1.7 billion in 1998, or 46 percent of Panama's total imports of $3.1 billion. Panama's exports to the United States last year (with the exception of Colon) were $377 million out of total exports of $679 million, $11.1 million of which were textiles and apparel bound for the U.S. market.

Full text in http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3638/is_11_40/ai_59495614

In Bocas del Toro - Mistaken land identity hell


IN BOCAS DEL TORO
Mistaken land identity hell
03-26-2009 | MARIJULIA PUJOL LLOYD
mpujolstar@ laestrella.com.pa
A couple has bought their land with title, but they still do not have any protection when somebody apparently has the wrong land title

Panama Star PANAMA. Lands disputes between foreigners and Panamanians are becoming quite common, mainly because properties, especially in beauty spots in the provinces of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro, have increased their value dramatically.
This time a powerful Panamanian family, the Eleta are trying to take part of the land belonging to an English - New Zealand couple.
In letters sent to the Panama Star by Dr Ricardo Rangel and Linda and David Gillingham, they complained that on three occasions the Circuit Judge of Bocas del Toro, Manuel Garcia has tried to enter their farm, located in Isla Colon, with the purpose of measuring their plot and separating the Eleta’s from theirs, although according to the public records it is nowhere near it.
The story began 10 years ago when the Gillinghams bought their land, which was properly titled at the Public Registry. They built a house, a botanical garden and a nursery.
Everything was fine until January 2009, when the Circuit Judge demanded access to their property, to measure and separate a plot from it, although he did not have a warrant.
The letter said that according to the file, Compañia Faustina S.A., which belongs to the Grupo Eleta, represented by the firm Morgan y Morgan, requested an order of separation of the land of the plot 3499, of which incidentally Eleta does not have possession.
Faustina’s the land registration title indicates that the plot was separated from land belonging to Minerva Blacaneaux Quintero and her farm surrounds it.
Blancaneaux’s lawyers asked the judge to stop the process on the grounds that it is impossible to establish boundaries if Faustina did own the land, but he refused to throw out the case.
Surveyors from Faustina and Blancaneaux determined that the land that Faustina wanted to separate was inside the Gillingham’s property, exactly where their house, botanical garden and nursery is and miles away from where the Blancaneaux land is located.
The Gillinghams said that Judge Garcia is planning to enter their property again on March 27, accompanied by the Blancaneaux and Faustina representative, although they have clearly demonstrated that they have possession of the land.
The couple feel that they have been harassed and have invited neighbors, public in general and the media to go to their botanical garden on March 27 at 9:00 to witness the proceedings.

THE ELETA GROUP
The Eleta Group is formed by the powerful Eleta family with commercial interests in media, insurance, animal feed, racehorse breeding, and environmental protection to mention a few.
The group has property all over the country, but especially in the provinces of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro.
The Eletas are part owners of the television radio network Medcom as well as Cable Onda.
For many decades the powerful Eleta family has exercised a great deal of influence in the country, developing prosperous companies and opening the first television station of the country.
The family is part of the wealthy Panamanian aristocracy and their members are involved in the arts and charitable organizations, but they keep their affairs out of the public eye and prefer to remain anonymous most of the time while directing their empire.
MARIJULIA PUJOL LLOYD

FACTS
The Gillinghams bought their land ten years ago, properly registered, but still that did not protect them against another company’s claim.
The boundaries of Faustina S.A. appear to be wrong, but nobody seems to have noticed that.
On the March 27 the matter will be solved one way or another




Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Clinton invested in Cayman tax haven companies

Even tax havens get "two for the price of one"...
On a more serious note, the article quotes several experts explaining the futility of pretending to save on U.S. taxes by investing offshore.

.





Clinton's Burkle Ties Include Funds in Cayman Islands
(Update1)


By Timothy J. Burger and Ryan J. Donmoyer
Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Former President Bill Clinton's decision to reconsider a business relationship with California billionaire Ron Burkle reflects concern those financial dealings may embarrass his wife's presidential candidacy.
Securities and Exchange Commission documents and financial- disclosure forms filed by Hillary Clinton show that Bill Clinton, 61, has a financial stake in three investment entities registered in the Cayman Islands by Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. LLC.
In 2004, Hillary Clinton, a New York senator, said she wanted to close the ``loopholes'' for ``people who create a mailbox, or a drop, or send one person to sit on the beach in some island paradise and claim that it is their offshore headquarters.''

The former president's possible decision to move away from Burkle ``is all tied up with the laws of appearance and the politics of perception,'' said Linda Fowler, professor of government at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. ``The world being what it is, people are attracted to the spouse of somebody with political power. The level of potential conflict is just that much higher with a former president and a senator who would be president.''
Moreover, added Fowler, ``with this particular couple, somehow, the whole story doesn't come out except in dribs and drabs.''
Bloomberg News last month submitted a list of questions to the Clinton campaign regarding the former president's involvement in the three Caymans-based funds. The campaign didn't respond to the queries until Dec. 13, after the New York Times reported that Clinton plans to dissolve his five-year partnership with Burkle, a longtime friend and important fund-raiser for both Clintons.
`An Appropriate Transition'
Jay Carson, a Clinton spokesman, said that while the former president hasn't ``severed ties'' with Yucaipa, he ``is taking steps to ensure'' that ``there will be an appropriate transition for those relationships'' if his wife receives the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
Carson, in an e-mail, said the funds are designed for foreign investors. ``All three of these entities (which are related) are organized in the Cayman Islands so that each investor or partner pays the taxes they would owe in their home country,'' he said. ``For U.S. citizens like Bill Clinton, that means he pays U.S. taxes on his income from this fund, which he does.''
Disclosures
The disclosures that Hillary Clinton, 60, is required to make as a lawmaker and candidate show that her husband has holdings in three Burkle-controlled funds -- YGOF GP Ltd., Yucaipa Global Holdings and Yucaipa Global Partnership Fund LP -- all listed at Yucaipa's Los Angeles address. An October filing with the SEC by Burkle, Yucaipa's lead partner, names YGOF as a Cayman Islands corporation and the latter two as Cayman Islands partnerships.
The amounts disclosed by Hillary Clinton are minimal, though a person familiar with the matter confirmed a report last year in The New York Times that Bill Clinton stands to make tens of millions of dollars with little risk if the Yucaipa funds he is involved in profit beyond a certain level.
Forbes Magazine listed Burkle, 55, as the 91st richest American this year, with a net worth of $3.5 billion.
`More Attractive'
Paul Roth, an attorney with Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York, said companies that organize outside the U.S. often do so because ``it's more attractive'' to foreign investors, who can ``make sure they're not subject to U.S. taxation.'' Foreign registration may also make it easier for U.S. tax-exempt entities such as pension funds to invest ``in certain strategies,'' he said.
These tax benefits -- which are legal and common practice for many investment firms, particularly hedge funds -- have drawn attention from lawmakers and candidates.
In a Dec. 13 debate, Hillary Clinton's chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, said that as president he would crack down on corporate loopholes and tax savings, particularly those involving offshore transactions.
``There's a building in the Cayman Islands that houses, supposedly, 12,000 U.S.-based corporations,'' Obama said. ``That's either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam in the world. And I think we know which one it is.''
Not Deferred
Roth said U.S. law makes it difficult for Americans to avoid taxes on payments from offshore, though some hedge-fund managers use such entities to defer U.S. taxes on their compensation. A measure passed last week by the House would ban this practice. Obama, 46, was a Senate co-sponsor of the provision when it was introduced in February.
Carson said Bill Clinton's payments from Yucaipa aren't deferred and the former president pays tax on that income in the year in which it is earned.
Steven Howard, a partner at Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP in New York who advises investment firms, said private-equity firms such as Yucaipa often compensate advisers with a stake in the company rather than salary. ``In Clinton's case, he may be allocated equity instead of significant cash for services rendered,'' Howard said.
Carson didn't respond to questions about whether Bill Clinton receives this form of compensation. Howard said equity allocations are taxed at the 15 percent capital-gains rate instead of as ordinary income, which is taxed at rates as high as 35 percent. He said the same benefit applies to so-called carried interest, a profit-sharing arrangement used by fund managers that Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have criticized and vow to curb.
Difficult to Assess
The realized value of Clinton's holdings in Yucaipa hasn't been disclosed and such stakes are typically difficult to assess until they are disbursed. Funds such as Yucaipa are privately held and aren't normally required to disclose details to regulators.
Hillary Clinton's Senate financial-disclosure records only say that Bill Clinton's Yucaipa assets were valued at less than $2,002 in 2006, while he received between $1,202 and $3,500 in interest that year. In the 18 months between January 2006 and June 2007, the value of the assets grew to between $1,001 and $15,000, and Bill Clinton received between $6,002 and $17,500 in interest, according to financial records filed in connection with the senator's presidential candidacy.
Bill Clinton has also received ``over $1,000'' a year in ``guaranteed payments to partner'' from Yucaipa Global Holdings and a predecessor fund. The government forms don't require lawmakers to specify an exact amount for spouses.
Campaign Questions
Bloomberg's questions to the campaign involved the nature and amounts of his compensation from Yucaipa, why the holdings were listed as Los Angeles-based rather than Cayman Islands entities, and when Hillary Clinton became aware that the funds were offshore. Carson didn't address those questions. Yucaipa spokesman Frank Quintero referred all questions about the former president's role to the Clintons' spokespeople.
Bill Clinton's ties to Yucaipa have sparked controversy over the past year, including a September report in the Wall Street Journal that detailed how one of the former president's aides had helped arrange a partnership with Burkle that dissolved amid litigation over allegations of misused funds.
Fortress
The former president isn't the only person in the campaign with links to funds in the Cayman Islands. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, who is also seeking the Democratic nomination, was a senior adviser to Fortress Investment Group Inc., a New York-based private-equity and hedge-fund manager, and reported at least one asset, the Investments Fund III (Fund D) LP, that was incorporated in the Cayman Islands in 2004.
Edwards, who was the first candidate to criticize tax preferences for the private-equity industry, also pays taxes as if the money was earned in the U.S., spokesman Eric Schultz told the Washington Post in May. Schultz said Edwards, 54, ``believes offshore tax shelters are wrong'' and ``will end them'' if elected. The Edwards campaign didn't immediately respond to a request for comment today.
Separately, the Los Angeles Times reported today that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a Republican candidate, used shell companies in at least two offshore havens while running Bain Capital LLC, the Boston-based private-equity firm. Romney spokesman Kevin Madden told the Times there was nothing improper about the registration of funds in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and that Romney didn't defer or avoid paying U.S. taxes. Madden didn't immediately respond to calls seeking comment today.
When he left the White House in 2000, Bill Clinton reported assets of more than $1 million and legal fees of more than $2.4 million. In his wife's most recent disclosure, Hillary Clinton reported that the couple now has a net worth estimated at between $17.4 million and $53.7 million.
Both now claim to be uneasy about their place among the richest Americans. This ``new experience,'' Hillary Clinton said during a debate Oct. 30, isn't ``one that makes us very comfortable.''
To contact the reporters on this story: Timothy J. Burger in Washington at mailto:Tburger2@; Ryan J. Donmoyer in Washington at mailto:rdonmoyer@. Last Updated: December 17, 2007 10:45 EST



Full text in: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aiQEVoQ5nt5E&refer=home

Monday, April 6, 2009

BBC News: British and Chinese tax havens excluded from G-20 list

Ministers have claimed that the Isle of Man has escaped being named on the G20 summit's blacklist of tax havens.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7981492.stm






he leaders of the G20 agreed to crackdown on tax havens. Now the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has published a list of countries not complying with international standards. The move has caused an uproar among some of the world's most powerful nations.
Richard Scott reports.



Switzerland eases bank secrecy


Switzerland, the world's largest offshore financial centre, has agreed to accept concessions on bank secrecy.

It is estimated that Switzerland's banks hold $2 trillion (£1.4tn) of global wealth held abroad.



Tax evasion change
The Swiss government confirmed that in line with OECD rules, it would now respond to overseas requests for information in cases of suspected tax evasion, and not just tax fraud.
WHAT IS A TAX HAVEN?
Low or no taxation
Lack of transparency
Refusal to provide information to foreign tax authorities
Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco classed as "uncooperative tax havens"
Source: OECD
The main difference between tax evasion and tax fraud is that the former is the deliberate concealing of assets, while the later also involves lying on official documentation.
Unlike most countries, tax evasion is a civil offence in Switzerland. Only tax fraud is a criminal matter.



Full text in http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7941717.stm



Switzerland has agreed to accept concessions on bank secrecy and will now abide by international rules on bank data sharing but the Swiss government said it would only respond to "concrete and justified" requests.
Switzerland, which is the world's largest offshore financial centre, had risked being added to a global blacklist of uncooperative tax havens.
The Chancellor Alistair Darling told the BBC that the change was a "major move" for Switzerland.

Video http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7942955.stm

Friday, April 3, 2009

Panama stays out of list of non-cooperative centers


Following G20 OECD delivers on tax pledge

02/04/2009 - Following the G20 meeting and communiqué , the OECD Secretariat has provided a detailed report on progress by financial centres around the world towards implementation of an internationally agreed standard on exchange of information for tax purposes. The report available here consists of four parts:
• jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard.
• tax havens that have committed to the internationally agreed tax standard but have not yet substantially implemented it.
• other financial centres that have committed to the internationally agreed tax standard but have not yet substantially implemented it.
• jurisdictions that have not committed to implement the internationally agreed tax standard.
Welcoming the outcome of the G20 meeting, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said “recent developments reinforce the status of the OECD standard as the international benchmark and represent significant steps towards a level playing field. We now have an ambitious agenda, that the OECD is well placed to deliver on. I am confident that we can turn these new commitments into concrete actions to strengthen the integrity and transparency of the financial system”.

OECD’s Future Challenges:
1. Achieving a rapid and effective implementation of standard: Many of these commitments will require legislative changes and the negotiation of specific bilateral agreements in order to become effective, and the OECD stands ready to assist jurisdictions in their implementation.
2. Speeding up the negotiations of tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs). Small tax havens lack the resources to enter into negotiations with a large number of countries. The OECD’s 2002 Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters sets out an option for multilateral rather than bilateral TIEAs that the OECD intends to explore over the coming weeks. The OECD is also examining how the Nordic experience of multilateral negotiations leading to simultaneous bilateral agreements could be adopted more widely.
3. Extending the scope and role of the OECD’s action: The OECD Global Forum currently encompasses more than 80 jurisdications and carries out self reviews and peer reviews to assess progress in implementation of the standard.The time has now come to re-examine the membership, the architecture and the role of the Global Forum in setting standards and evaluating progress. The Global Forum will undertake more robust reviews, to strengthen the implementation of the standard.

Full text in http://www.oecd.org/document/57/0,3343,en_2649_34487_42496569_1_1_1_1,00.html



A PROGRESS REPORT ON THE JURISDICTIONS SURVEYED BY THE OECD GLOBAL FORUM IN IMPLEMENTING THE INTERNATIONALLY AGREED TAX STANDARD1

Progress made as at 2nd April 2009

Jurisdictions that have committed to the internationally agreed tax standard, but have not yet substantially implemented

Jurisdiction Year of Commitment Number of Agreements
Panama 2002 (0)

Jurisdictions that have not committed to the internationally agreed tax standard
Jurisdiction Number of Agreements
Costa Rica Malaysia (Labuan) Philippines Uruguay (0)



DECLARATION ON STRENGTHENING THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM – LONDON, 2 APRIL 2009

Tax havens and non-cooperative jurisdictions
It is essential to protect public finances and international standards against the risks posed by non-cooperative jurisdictions. We call on all jurisdictions to adhere to the international standards in the prudential, tax, and AML/CFT areas. To this end, we call on the appropriate bodies to conduct and strengthen objective peer reviews, based on existing processes, including through the FSAP process.

We call on countries to adopt the international standard for information exchange endorsed by the G20 in 2004 and reflected in the UN Model Tax Convention. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of information. We welcome the new commitments made by a number of jurisdictions and encourage them to proceed swiftly with implementation.

We stand ready to take agreed action against those jurisdictions which do not meet international standards in relation to tax transparency. To this end we have agreed to develop a toolbox of effective counter measures for countries to consider, such as:
• increased disclosure requirements on the part of taxpayers and financial institutions to report transactions involving non-cooperative jurisdictions;
• withholding taxes in respect of a wide variety of payments;
• denying deductions in respect of expense payments to payees resident in a non-cooperative jurisdiction;
• reviewing tax treaty policy;
• asking international institutions and regional development banks to review their investment policies; and,
• giving extra weight to the principles of tax transparency and information exchange when designing bilateral aid programs.
We also agreed that consideration should be given to further options relating to financial relations with these jurisdictions We are committed to developing proposals, by end 2009, to make it easier for developing countries to secure the benefits of a new cooperative tax environment.
We are also committed to strengthened adherence to international prudential regulatory and supervisory standards. The IMF and the FSB in cooperation with international standard-setters will provide an assessment of implementation by relevant jurisdictions, building on existing FSAPs where they exist. We call on the FSB to develop a toolbox of measures to promote adherence to prudential standards and cooperation with jurisdictions.
We agreed that the FATF should revise and reinvigorate the review process for assessing compliance by jurisdictions with AML/CFT standards, using agreed evaluation reports where available.
We call upon the FSB and the FATF to report to the next G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ meeting on adoption and implementation by countries.
Full text in http://www.g20.org/Documents/Fin_Deps_Fin_Reg_Annex_020409_-_1615_final.pdf




London Summit – Leaders’ Statement
2 April 2009
1. We, the Leaders of the Group of Twenty, met in London on 2 April 2009.

15. To this end we are implementing the Action Plan agreed at our last meeting, as set out in the attached progress report. We have today also issued a Declaration, Strengthening the Financial System. In particular we agree:

• to take action against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens. We stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems. The era of banking secrecy is over. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information;

Full text in http://www.g20.org/Documents/g20_communique_020409.pdf



Sources: Obama Plays Peacemaker in French-Chinese Smackdown Over Tax Havens
April 02, 2009 11:15 AM

Huma Khan-->
According to sources inside the room, President Obama just played peacemaker in a spat between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Hu Jintao, President of the People's Republic of China.
In the finaly plenary session among the G-20 leaders, Sarkozy and Hu were having a heated disagreement about tax havens.
France and other European nations have been pushing for rules and regulations to apply to various tax havens;
Germany's Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck has said "these tax havens are also places where unregulated financial market deals are made."
But Chinese leaders fear a crackdown would hurt banking centers in Macao, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Other countries agree, though they are less outspoken publicly.
The exchange between Sarkozy and Hu got so heated, said a source -- who is not a member of the Obama administration -- it was threatening the unity of the G-20 leaders' meeting.
"They were going through the revised draft," a senior Obama administration official said.
The issue: Sarko wanted "a list of non-compliant jurisdictions," tones that allow tax havens, he senior official said. "Other countries wanted it too, but (Sarkozy) was the most outspoken."
Sarkozy specifically was pushing for a list from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to be included in the G-20 Leaders' Statement.
Headquartered in Paris, the OECD has
30 member countries -- all capitalist democracies.
China opposed any such list being included in the final Leaders' Statement.
"China tends to have a problem endorsing the documents of organizations like the OECD that they're not a party to," the senior administration official said.
But Mr. Obama, according to this account, stepped between the two men, urging them to try to find consensus, and giving them a "pep talk" about the importance of working together.
The senior adminstration official said that Mr. Obama pulled Mr. Sarkozy aside, took him to a corner, "and discussed possible alternatives," the senior official said.
Once they arrived at one, President Obama "sent a message to the Chinese" that a counter-offer was on the table. The Chinese spent some time considering the offer. But they took a few minutes.
So Mr. Obama, with the assistance of translators, suggested that he and Mr. Hu have a conversation as well. They, too went to the corner to talk. After a few minutes, Mr. Obama called upon Mr. Sarkozy to join them.
"Translators and sherpas in tow, they reached an agreement," the official said. "There was a multiple shaking of hands."
The agreement: the final G-20 document would state that the G-20 nations "stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems. The era of banking secrecy is over. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information."
The Obama administration official described this compromise as a "meeting in the middle." The word "note" -- as in "we note the OECD has today published a list" -- doesn't necessarily carry any weight.
Moreover, any sanctions are "future-oriented," the senior official said, meaning there are as of now no actual sanctions.
The OECD also has yet to publish any such list, though Obama adminstration officials said the organization would do so today.
Soon after Mr. Obama helped to resolve the problem, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced that "we have agreed to tough standards for those (tax shelters) who don't come into line in the future," which seems to overstate the case.
"I'd suggest we'd still be in there had he not done this," the senior Obama administration official said.
-- jpt

Panama case leads to lawsuit in Boulder court






Panama case leads to lawsuit in Boulder court
Suit: Ex-business partner falsely kept man in 'hellish' prison
By Ryan Morgan (Contact)




Friday, January 18, 2008
Photo by Joshua Lawton
Bobby Hammond, of Lafayette, spent six months in a Panama jail after a business partner had him arrested.



A Boulder man who spent six months in a Panamanian prison has sued his former business partner, a Marshall woman who had him imprisoned when a land-development deal went south in 2006.
Robert Hammond and his girlfriend, Tamara Pace, are seeking unspecified damages against Kim Opler. The suit alleges Opler used Panama's corrupt legal system to keep Hammond in prison over what should have been a civil matter -- and that she knew the charges against him weren't true.
Opler didn't return a call seeking comment Thursday.
Hammond's legal problems stemmed from a partnership he formed with Pace and Opler to develop properties in Bocas del Toro, a booming beach community near Panama's border with Costa Rica. The partnership between the couple and Opler soured, and Opler told the Camera in 2006 that Hammond and Pace stonewalled her attempts to recover the money she'd invested in several properties.
In early January 2006, Hammond was thrown into prison. He wouldn't be released until July of that year. At the time, Opler said Hammond hadstolen her property and needed to cooperate.
"It's a bummer, isn't it?" she said. "But what you need to know is that this is not just something where for no reason, out of the blue, this is happening to him, and he's sitting there suffering for no reason."
But Hammond and Pace said no charges were ever brought against him. He was eventually released and allowed to return home.
The six months he spent in a hellish prison were devastating to his physical and mental well-being, Hammond said Thursday. He slipped and fell in the shower early in his incarceration, breaking his collarbone. He said he never received proper medical treatment, and the pain continues today.
"I can't sleep on my right side," he said. "With my shoulder the way it is, I can't stop thinking about it."
The lawsuit -- filed this week in Boulder County District Court -- contends that at the maximum-security prison where he stayed, Hammond was "housed with convicted killers and persons associated with the cartel drug lords." The prison has been criticized in U.S. State Department reports that said prisoners face unduly harsh conditions, including water shortages.
Hammond said he had to fight for basic necessities at the prison such as food, water and a bunk to sleep in.
"I wouldn't want anyone to end up there," he said. "It's the most inhumane situation I've ever seen -- much less had to live through."
Hammond's girlfriend was also detained briefly and later released. Pace spent the next year campaigning for Hammond's release from prison and later to have him taken off of house arrest. She said deciding to sue wasn't easy, but she and Hammond need justice.
"I think Bobby needs some vindication," she said. "His reputation is damaged all over town, people are wondering if he really stole a million dollars. And he wants people to know that he didn't."



--- In Panama_laws_for_expats@yahoogroups.com, "likitikitoo" wrote:
Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:40 am
My self and my boyfriend were arrested last week by PTJ in our home. This
was over a business dispute that at most should have been a civil case. My
Boyfriend, Bobby Hammond, as well as myself were charged with Aggravated
Fraud. I was released with all charges dropped after 32 hours. Bobby was
working with a Boulder Colorado resident, Kim Opler for the last three years
purchasing and developing properties in Bocas. They never had a contract
and there is disagreement about comissions. Until the disagreement was
settled the titles, which were in Bobby's name, were not signed over to Ms.
Opler as she requested. In Ms. Opler's statement her attorney, Nelson
Carreyo, stated that he attempted to reach Bobby about this and couldn't. We
were never presented with any documents to sign.
Previously, we had received threats, both in Panama and Colorado, from her
partner, Dana Gaffin who already has a record in North Carolina for
Harrassing Communications as well as Violence Against Women. He had
also broke into our home in Bocas, stole our private property
to use as his own and threatened our employees.

Bobby is now in a maximum security facility with deplorable conditions. I am
asking for help from anyone in any form. This is not a criminal matter, much
less punishable by imprisonment. There has been no hearing date set. There
has been no bond amount set. Our embassy, which was very helpful in
securing my release has not helped with Bobby's case. Going over the names
on this list, many of you know Bobby and me. I hope you also know that there
is no way we could be guilty of this. If you have any suggestion please write or
call my cell, 011 507 XXXX. Thanks, Tammy Pace.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Panama_laws_for_expats/message/906



Jailed over a contract dispute: Bobby Hammond's and Tammy Pace's story

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Economist: The G20 and tax - Haven hypocrisy

http://www.economist.com/finance/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13382279

Finance and economics

The G20 and tax

Haven hypocrisy

Mar 26th 2009 | BERLIN
From The Economist print edition

Big economies are leaning on offshore tax havens. But greater abuse may be taking place at home


MONEY launderers are moved by greed, unlike Jason Sharman, a political scientist at Australia’s Griffith University. Yet with a budget of $10,000 and little more than Google (and the ads at the back of this paper), he showed how easy it was to circumvent prohibitions on banking secrecy, forming anonymous shell companies and secret bank accounts across the world. In doing so he has uncovered an uncomfortable truth for many of the leaders of Group of 20 nations meeting on April 2nd to discuss, among other things, sanctions against offshore tax havens. The most egregious examples of banking secrecy, money laundering and tax fraud are found not in remote alpine valleys or on sunny tropical isles but in the backyards of the world’s biggest economies.

Panoramic Images Wyoming, the Switzerland of the Rocky Mountains

At issue is not banking secrecy as the Swiss once knew it, where discreet men in plush offices promised to take the names of their clients to the grave. This is a more insidious form of secrecy, in which authorities and bankers do not bother to ask for names, something long outlawed in offshore tax centres such as Jersey and Switzerland but which has persisted in America. For shady clients, this is a far better proposition: what their bankers do not know, they can never be forced to reveal. And their method is disarmingly simple. Instead of opening bank accounts in their own names, fraudsters and money launderers form anonymous companies, with which they can then open bank accounts and move assets.

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in America. Take Nevada, for example. Its official website touts its “limited reporting and disclosure requirements” and a speedy one-hour incorporation service. Nevada does not ask for the names of company shareholders, nor does it routinely share the little information it has with the federal government.

There is demand for this ask-no-questions approach. The state, with a population of only 2.6m, incorporates about 80,000 new firms a year and now has more than 400,000, roughly one for every six people. A study by the Internal Revenue Service found that 50-90% of those registering companies were already in breach of federal tax laws elsewhere.

A money-laundering threat assessment in 2005 by the federal government found that corporate anonymity offered by Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming rivalled that of familiar offshore financial centres. For foreigners, America is a particularly attractive place to stash cash, because it does not tax the interest income they earn. Thus with both anonymity and no taxation, America offers them all the elements of a tax haven.

Change may be coming in America, but slowly. In March Senator Carl Levin proposed a law forcing states to identify the beneficial owners of corporations. “For too long, criminals have misused US corporations to hide illicit activity, including money laundering and tax fraud,” said Mr Levin. “It doesn’t make sense that less information is required to form a US corporation than to obtain a driver’s licence.”

Yet a similar bill introduced last year died a quiet death in committee.

America is not the only rich nation Mr Sharman tested. He tried to open anonymous shell companies and bank accounts 45 times across the world. These were successful in 17 cases, of which 13 were in OECD countries. One example was Britain, where in 45 minutes on the internet he formed a company without providing identification, was issued with bearer shares (which have been almost universally outlawed because they confer completely anonymous ownership) as well as nominee directors and a secretary. All was achieved at a cost of £515.95 ($753).

In other cases Mr Sharman formed companies by providing no more than a scanned copy of his driving licence. In contrast, when trying to open accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland, he was asked for documentation such as notarised copies of his birth certificate. “In practice OECD countries have much laxer regulation on shell corporations than classic tax havens,” Mr Sharman concludes. “And the US is the worst on this score, worse than Liechtenstein and worse than Somalia.”


Back to top ^^

Readers' comments

The Economist welcomes your views.


Dirk Gently wrote:

April 2, 2009 8:06

The article seems to provide useful tips for anyone wanting to hide wealth. I only wish I were wealthy enough to take advantage of it!

However, some comments here have suggested that the article is misleading and that the USA (for example) is less of a tax haven than it implies. I don't know the truth of the matter, but I suppose we shouldn't believe everything we read, even in The Economist.

danwun wrote:

April 1, 2009 17:29

I just found proof of the UK tax hypocrisy. Right on the Economist's main page, right at the bottom of classified ads, there is this link:

http://www.scfgroup.com/

Offshore & UK Companies
Wealth Protection
Confidential Banking
Trusts and Foundations
By UK lawyers and Accountants

Again, outrage over so much lies and hypocrisy! But don't worry UK and US, it will be your turn to be the scapegoats soon! I really cannot believe this, it's absolutely outrageous! No wonder the US and UK could cheat the world into the Irak war, just keeping telling lies without blushing.

Petlura wrote:

April 1, 2009 8:13

Dear Geri964 - Maybe the US can find the US$300 bln leakage by overhauling the tax system. Simple and lower taxes is a great incentive to compliance. The second thing is using those tax US$s wisely and not on a vendetta war. There you go, I found your US$300 bln.

danwun wrote:

April 1, 2009 5:15

Congratulations, Economist! Once again, we can see which magazines and newspapers offer quality journalism. And which ones just aggravate the scapegoat spiel of the OECD. The Financial Times is a very bad example of the latter.

As a Swiss, I both feel deeply shocked by what sort of criminal bankers our bank secrecy managed to cover. It was really hard to believe, we feel deeply ashamed. Frankly, I am also outraged, however, by the hypocritical bashing of non-G20-"tax havens". A lot of people in Switzerland, Austria and other so-called tax havens see the global crackdown on tax havens as just a forceful way of financial protectionism, chiefly by the US and the UK. I'm sure other people in other nations realize this, too. E.g. the German magazine Spiegel had an article on UK tax haven hypocrisy, too.

poiu qwer wrote:

March 31, 2009 23:40

I hope honourable delegates at the G20 summit will read this article and analyze their own shortcomings. It is much harder to clean up at home than bashing so called tax heavens. Probably populism will prevail.

Geri964 wrote:

March 31, 2009 19:33

"G-20 Summit by Jonathan Weisman, Wall Street Journal: U.S. officials preparing for the group of 20 economic summit on Thursday in London are playing down fiscal-stimulus targets and focusing on objectives such as new rules for TAX HAVENS and coordination of financial regulation."
Financial resources are limited and when too much is siphoned off due to income tax evasion (U.S. alone $300 billion) and stashed away in offshore tax havens, the entire economic system collapses. Economic disparities and imbalances do count because all resources, including financial ones, are limited.
The only way to get the worldwide economy going again is to collect all of the back taxes and penalties and get this money back into circulation. There is no other way.
If Switzerland is doing nothing wrong, then they should having nothing to hide and be willing to disclose banking information. It is Switzerland's own fault that they have been designated as a tax haven for many decades. If they didn't want to be designated as a tax haven, then they should never have engaged in tax haven activities.

sammy yuka wrote:

March 31, 2009 10:44

The USA cannot bow to the wishes of the EU and their high tax regimes. the reason why they want the Swiss banks out of the picture is so they can raise taxes. Soon, we will follow. Those rich people would gladly pay some taxes. But not when the taxes are spent by a bunch of liberal baffoons.
The other banks in the world should emulate the Swiss, not try to destroy them. If all countries were "tax havens", the citizens would keep their money at home.
All these high tax liberal socialist countries would rather destroy the Swiss banks than to COMPETE with them. What happened to the US competitive spirit. Our desire to be competitive has been the reason why we are so great. Let's COMPETE with the Swiss. Let's have an incentive for our US citizens to keep their money in the USA. Let's beat the Swiss at their own game.
Senator Levin spent years trying to force the Swiss to give up the names of US citizens that have accounts at Swiss banks. If he would have spent all that time and our taxpayer money finding ways to COMPETE with them, we wouldn't be talking about it today .And besides that, let the USA once and for
all quit meddling in the affairs of another country.
If the Swiss have no privacy, look for a WORLD WIDE SURGE IN TAXES

Danila_FTC wrote:

March 30, 2009 7:28

BankingITGuru wrote: "Money from poor countries is hashed away in swiss banks which are deploying that money in the developed world thus funding credit and growth".
It is partly rightly, of course, especially for money of individuals. But don't forget that in vast majority of cases hidden and washed money returns back to developing countries in a view of foreign investments. In relation of corporation in emerging country and not just, final beneficiary in either case is not offshore-based holding company, but shareholders in country of operating.
Moreover, tax evasion and so-called "tax avoidance" (agressive tax planning's shemes) are different terms.

BankingITGuru wrote:

March 30, 2009 4:30

Tax evasion is the value proposition of these havens for developed economies only. For the third and under developed world's rich, the proposition is 'hiding away' ill-gotten money.

There is an urgent need to unlock these depositors to ensure the developmental plans of world bodies and governments are effectively applied.It is so painful to realise that money swindled by the exploitative rich of the 3rd world (that is sorely needed for the developing world) is in the coffers of a few swiss banks.

It is all a wonderful cycle. Money from poor countries is hashed away in swiss banks which are deploying that money in the developed world thus funding credit and growth. (One cant expect the cash to be in lockers). Poor countries then 'borrow' from IMF etc. Its a bit quirky to know who is funding whom.

It is high time that something is done about this.

Danila_FTC wrote:

March 29, 2009 20:47

I don't think it is a best time to tussle with an offshores in the current economic climate. In either case, it will not give short-term effect for both G20 countries' budgets and companies. Even vice versa: when many companies are looking for any ways for cost reduction, maybe, efficiency of tax structure can be a top-of-the-table point which will allow it to stay alive? It should be in spotlight to improve transparency and attractiveness of your own tax system. But internal offshores are separate theme, of course.

jterry wrote:

March 29, 2009 19:29

Finally Bermuda is getting some good press for its status as a tax haven. T

jterry wrote:

March 29, 2009 19:29

Finally Bermuda is getting some good press for its status as a tax haven. T

bornhoaxer wrote:

March 29, 2009 18:34

this can be a wake up call for everyone concerned in the rich developed world....it is indeed surprising to know the shockingly low level of scrutiny that is exercised in the opening up of companies.....

nino01 wrote:

March 29, 2009 1:28

It is a simple law of arithmetics. Hiding 100 millions dollars in a large economy like the USA , and moving it around should be more easy that in Lichtenstein, where the day you make such a deposit , the whole town will know.
The story of tax heavens have been popularized by the film industry . Sure there have been famous cases like dictator Marco from the Phillipines, but I doubt that tax heavens are used by the drug mafias of the world.
I think that law enforcements just do not know. As usual the criminal gangs are a few steps ahead of the law.

Scott Free wrote:

March 28, 2009 18:39

This article is interesting but misleading. These US States offer easy and economical company incorporation in line with that of tax havens. However to avoid USA controls and taxation they tend to have bank accounts offshore and are managed outside of the USA (normally from a tax haven). It is the offshore tax haven that is the operational arm of these corporations. Only the registered office remains in the US State.

Davesh wrote:

March 28, 2009 13:11

The author has rightly pointed out the double speak on the issue.as a bigger country/economy first they should clean their backyards before preaching others. Yes there should not be any place called tax heaven. Also ther should be standard procedure to be followed by all financial institutes in the world regarding customers. yes, we can not move in haste but with a resonable time frame to adopt those standard procedure. World is in a great financial mess .we have to work towards new financial order for the world..

M.L.Jones wrote:

March 27, 2009 20:11

As the former owner of a Delaware company, I am a little puzzled on how one can hide money from taxation without violating various US tax laws - perhaps lax enforcement is the real issue. In order to open a bank account, I needed a corporate tax id. While this could be done over a lawyers name, once the id number is issued, the corporation itself must pay income tax on any income, or if an S corp provide reports to the IRS on who got the income so that they can be taxed.

t309494 wrote:

March 27, 2009 17:22

Very interesting:Mr Obama and his fellow Sen Levin need a lot of nerve to denounce Switzerland es a tax havens in front of the G 20 without looking behind their back the mist in their country.

Petlura wrote:

March 27, 2009 7:13

The hypocrisy of all gov'ts targeting tax havens is appalling!! If their tax systems were fair in the first place and most citizens believed in the way the money was being spent, there would be no need for tax havens. God help us all if gov'ts ever succeed in eliminating tax havens. Then they will have a free hand in taxing us al the way to the moon and back!!

paul mason wrote:

March 27, 2009 6:40

So is the Economist going to knock back those ads in future? It would be a tad hypocritical not to.