Posted December 17, 2013
by Jerry Alatalo
Tax havens are seen by some as a kind of aberration, a practice of a few crooked people who have come to stash their money obtained through drug smuggling, illegal weapons sales, or any number of nefarious ways. If asked, most men and women would not think that any people but criminals would take advantage of tax avoidance schemes to hide dirty money. If the same men and women became informed that tax avoidance through complex accounting schemes was a worldwide industry with top banking, accounting and legal firms devising schemes for very wealthy, very respected people, they would have a hard time believing it.
But this is the truth. Top accounting and legal firms have tax avoidance and tax haven communications every working day, selling tax haven / avoidance retail products on the shelves of their offices, available for purchase by their fortunate multi-millionaire or billionaire clients. The tax haven industry has operated in the open for decades, with competition between the largest banks, accounting firms, and the brightest lawyers around the world – all competing to offer wealthy clients the newest and greatest wealth-preserving schemes/products.
If a corporation or family has accumulated any significant amount of wealth, you can bet that they are utilizing any and all strategies and tactics, with the help of the brightest financial and legal minds they can hire, to avoid having to pay tax to their home nations. Among the top 1% of wealth holders the temptation to take advantage of tax havens and schemes is too much to resist, even though many have been heard delivering numerous patriotic speeches and telling others how loyal they are to their home country.
Hypocrisy and greed are the words that describe a multi-trillion dollar industry. In every nation large and small it matters not when it comes to taking as much as possible, while average folks pay their share without any awareness at all of how enormous the tax haven industry is. After independent journalists, like John Sweeney in the following video, published a massive number of records of individuals’ accounts in the British Virgin Islands leading to an internet explosion, political leaders responded with shock and anger.
However, the industry of tax avoidance and havens has gone like gangbusters for decades.
Until the release of personal tax haven accounts to the public, notably by the International Consortium of Independent Journalists, no politician had ever expressed any shock or anger during the previous decades, when they all knew what was occurring all along. Estimates of the amount of dollars stashed in tax havens around the world range from 20 to 30 trillions or more. The largest corporations and the most wealthy individuals and families on Earth – whether the billions are so-called “old-money” or “new-money” dot-comers – hide as much as possible.
In this 27-minute film by journalist John Sweeney viewers are given an excellent inside look at the ways, tactics, and psychology of the billionaire Barclay twins. I’m not sure how many billionaires there are now on the Earth. Perhaps some operate in the same manner as the Barclays – perhaps a small percentage or large. At any rate I found this short film most insightful and well done – more than worthy to share in the public interest.
( Thanks to Stock Exchange @ YouTube. )
- Tax Haven Expert James S. Henry On “The Pinstripe Mafia” (leagueofbloggers.wordpress.com)
- For All Things Shall Be Revealed Before Heaven. (onenessofhumanity.wordpress.com)
- Latin American politicians, businessmen linked to tax havens (voxxi.com)
- Canada slammed for trailing peers in fight against tax havens as funds stashed offshore hit record $170B (business.financialpost.com)
- Tax-Avoiding Corporations Siphoning Billions from World’s Poorest (commondreams.org)
- Here is our best approximation of where the world’s tax havens are (qz.com)