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Journalists Expose Global Tax Evasion by Rich Elite : " Offshore Leaks: Vast Web of Tax Evasion Exposed," by Marc Pitzke

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    ICIJ = International Consortium of Investigative Journalists ... From: Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S. Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2013 5:38 PM Subject:
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4, 2013
      ICIJ = International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

      ----- Forwarded Message -----
      From: Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S.
      Sent: Thursday, April 4, 2013 5:38 PM
      Subject: Journalists Expose Global Tax Evasion By Rich Elite : " Offshore Leaks: Vast Web of Tax Evasion Exposed," by Marc Pitzke


      The following are but a few examples cited in ICIJ's reporting.
      • ICIJ partner Süddeutsche Zeitung in Germany reported allegations on Thursday that Gunter Sachs, who committed suicide in May 2011, had not declared the entirety of his alleged assets with tax officers before his death. At issue are two companies and five trusts based on the Cook Islands. Sachs reportedly had similar "constructs" in Panama, the British Virgin Islands and Luxembourg. The executor of his estate has denied the allegations, claiming the companies had already been disclosed "during his lifetime."
      • German public broadcaster NDR has reported that another prominent offshore client on the British Virgin Islands was top Russian oligarch and multibillionaire Mikhail Fridman. It claimed the most important man behind his construct of firms was Franz Wolf, the 60-year-old son of former East German spy chief Markus Wolf. NDR reported the Wolf refused to answer any questions from journalists with the broadcaster about the allegations.
      • ICIJ also explored Greek tax evaders and found that just four out of 107 offshore companies present on the British Virgin Islands it investigated are registered with tax authorities. "The companies' owners are a surprising cross-section of Greek society, from the richest districts in Athens to remote northern villages," it noted.
      • The list also includes Imee Marcos, the governor of the Philippines' Ilocos Norte province and the eldest daughter of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She is believed to hold secret trusts on the British Virgin Islands. ICIJ reports that Filipino authorities now want to investigate whether some of the billions in assets Marcos is believed to have taken out of the country are parked in the tax haven.
      • The wife of Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, as well as two top executives of Gazprom, are also included on the list of alleged tax evaders, according to the ICIJ reporting. They, too, are alleged to hold stakes in companies based in the British Virgin Islands. All declined to comment to the consortium.
      • Meanwhile, Leyla and Arzu Aliyeva, the daughters of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, appear several times in the records. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has reported that they have three holdings on the British Virgin Islands.
      • ICIJ also questioned the deputy speaker of Mongolia's parliament, Bayartsogt Sangajav, about records showing he has an offshore company and a secret Swiss bank account in which he had deposited over $1 million for a time. "I shouldn't have opened that account," he told ICIJ reporters. "I probably should consider resigning from my position."
      • The list of names from Spain includes baroness and art collector Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, who is identified in the documents as using a company based in the Cook Islands to buy artwork through auction houses like Sotheby's and Christie's. According to ICIJ, her attorneys acknowledged that she gains tax benefits by holding ownership of her art offshore, "but stressed that she uses tax havens primarily because they give her 'maximum flexibility' when she moves art from country to country."
      • Also featured in the list, which includes some 4,000 people born in the United States, is composer Denise Rich, who has written hits for stars like Celine Dion. According to the records obtained by ICIJ, she had $144 million in April 2006 in a trust in the Cook Islands at the time. The trust's holdings included a yacht called the Lady Joy. Rich's ex husband, hedge fund manager Marc Rich, was prosecuted in the United States in 1983 for tax evasion. In a highly controversial move, former President Bill Clinton pardoned Rich during his last day in office. Denise Rich gave up her US citizenship at the end of 2011 and lives in Austria today.

      Sincerely yours,
      /s/ Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S.
      Private Attorney General, 18 U.S.C. 1964
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