Saturday 4th of December 2021

another papier...

briggsbriggsLeaked papers appear to show how some of the world’s elites accumulate property empires while avoiding millions in taxes, with reports focusing on European, Middle Eastern and South American leaders, and world-famous celebrities.  

Obtained from 14 offshore banking institutions and analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the ‘Pandora Papers’ reveal the financial chicanery of more than 100 billionaires, 35 current and former world leaders, and 300 public officials. The first round of information, handed to a select list of international outlets and studied by “600 journalists,” was published on Sunday.

According to the ICIJ, King Abdullah II of Jordan is a prolific user of shell corporations to manage his global property empire. The monarch reportedly used 36 of these companies from 1995 to 2017 to purchase 14 luxury properties in the US and UK worth more than $106 million. The king’s lawyers say he used these stand-in companies to maintain his privacy rather than to dodge any taxes.

Azerbaijan’s ruling Aliyev family has traded almost $500 million worth of British property in recent years, according to the leaks. One of these properties was sold by an Aliyev-owned front company to the Queen’s crown estate for a sizable $90 million.

Two EU leaders are named in the leaks: Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, who used an offshore investment company to acquire a $22 million château in the South of France, and President Nicos Anastasiades of Cyprus, who founded a law firm accused of hiding a Russian billionaire’s wealth.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie are mentioned, with the pair allegedly having dodged $422,603 in property taxes when they purchased an $8.8 million London office partially owned by the family of a prominent Bahraini lawmaker. The Blairs were apparently able to circumvent these taxes by purchasing the foreign holding company that owned the office.

The list of leaders is extensive, and also includes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of Dubai and vice president of the United Arab Emirates.

Despite featuring an image of Vladimir Putin front and center on their introductory piece, and mentioning Putin nearly 50 times in a spin-off article about the “hidden riches of Putin’s inner circle,” The Guardian had to admit in its reporting that the Russian president “does not appear in the files by name.” Instead, the paper focused on Putin’s “friends,” including billionaire businessman Gennady Timchenko, and Putin’s rumored past “girlfriend.”

A number of celebrities are mentioned in the leaks, including pop star Shakira and former cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar of India. Lawyers for both stress that their offshore holdings were legitimate and declared to the tax authorities.

Offshore banking is not illegal, and is often used by the wealthy to avoid taxes, while shell companies are frequently used to distance the rich from their holdings for political reasons or reasons of public image. However, such mechanisms make it easier to hide ill-gotten gains from the eyes of law enforcement or regulators.

“There’s never been anything on this scale and it shows the reality of what offshore companies can offer to help people hide dodgy cash or avoid tax,” Fergus Shiel of the ICIJ told the BBC. “They are using those offshore accounts, those offshore trusts, to buy hundreds of millions of dollars of property in other countries, and to enrich their own families at the expense of their citizens.”

However, the leaks reveal a status quo that few would find surprising, especially since the 2016 Panama Papers and 2017 Paradise Papers offered readers a look into the world of offshore banking. 

Despite the major names listed in the latest document trove, the journalists behind the leaks don’t expect anything to change. “When you have world leaders, when you have politicians, when you have public officials, all using the secrecy and all using this world, then I don’t think we’re going to see an end to it,” ICIJ Director Gerard Ryle told The Guardian.


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Note: if Shakira is in the Australian Masked Singer, this would make some interesting Vampire...


And of course NO MENTION OF SOROS who makes his MEGA-money by manipulating countries currencies... nor that the City of London controls about 50 per cent of the tax havens...



britain's second empire...

The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire

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The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire is a documentary released in Mexico in July 2017 which details the transformation of the UK as a colonial super power to a global financial power. It suggests that the City of London Corporation and its banks have done tremendous damage to the world economy since the 1960s and that up to half of all offshore wealth (globally) is hidden in one of many British offshore jurisdictions. With contributions from leading experts, academics, former insiders and campaigners for social justice, the film claims to highlight how in the world of international finance, corruption and secrecy have prevailed over regulation and transparency, and the UK is right at the heart of this.[1][2]

The film was co-produced by Tax Justice Network[3] founder John Christensen, and is based in part on the book, Treasure Islands, by expert on British offshore havens Nicholas Shaxson; an interview with Shaxson is one of its major elements. Christensen was an advisor to the Queen’s government of the island of Jersey for a number of years.[4]


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the jordanian...


Why the Pandora Papers may hurt King Abdullah most of all  

Jordanians are living in desperate straits, depending on huge sums of foreign aid. So evidence of his high living isn’t going over well.


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According to the data leaked in the explosive Pandora Papers, King Abdullah II of Jordan has secretly purchased luxury homes in the U.S. and UK, the combined value of which exceed $100 million. 

This might seem fairly normal for an Arab ruler, but Jordan differs from the wealthy Gulf monarchies. Jordan lacks oil reserves as well as adequate water resources, and approximately 16 percent of Jordan’s population lives in poverty. Jordan’s economy depends heavily on foreign aid, much of which Jordan receives to help support the millions of refugees who have fled from the successive conflicts that have convulsed the Middle East: Palestinians, Iraqis, and Syrians in particular. Due to the impecunity of the local population, the kings of Jordan have tended to avoid ostentatious displays of wealth that a well-fed Qatari or Emirati citizen might find less galling.

The revelations that King Abdullah has quietly amassed properties in Malibu, London, and Ascot — some of the most expensive real estate in the world — contradict his efforts to cultivate an image as a responsible and relatable leader. Abdullah, his wife Queen Rania, and their four children are frequently presented on social media as a normal family: Queen Rania’s Instagram page tends to highlight her charity work, as well as photos of her family in casual clothes. The more lavish aspects of the royals’ lives are eschewed in a manner that might bemuse an al-Saud or even a Windsor.

In addition to the need to avoid the appearance of overt wealth in the eyes of a strapped population, the careful image management likely reflects the fact that King Abdullah has struggled to fill the shoes of his father, King Hussein, who ruled Jordan from 1952 to 1999. Hussein navigated Jordan through many challenges, including two wars with Israel in 1967 and 1973, a brief civil war against the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1970, and an eventual peace treaty with Israel that antagonized his people but earned him millions of dollars in annual U.S. military aid. King Hussein is remembered fondly in Jordan as a man of the people and a true Jordanian. In contrast, Abdullah resembles his British mother more than his popular father, and unlike the late Hussein, generally prefers to appear in military uniform rather than traditional Jordanian garb.


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offshore is easy...


Philippe Houman, l’avocat suisse de Jérôme Cahuzac......





Condemned by the French courts for his role in the assembly of tax evasion by the former budget minister, the intermediary [Philippe Houman] continues to offer his services to a wealthy emirate clientele.

We saw him in Paris, in February 2018, at Jérôme Cahuzac's appeal trial, when he expertly explained to the court, that offshore is easy. "I understand that the diagram in front of you is puzzling, but there is nothing very complicated," said Swiss lawyer Philippe Houman, teasing the audience. The very one that the criminal court had called "the linchpin" of the scholarly scheme put together by Cahuzac, the former socialist budget minister, to evade tax authorities. Through shell companies in the Seychelles and the Samoan Islands, Mr. Houman had enabled Mr. Cahuzac's hidden money to be transferred from Switzerland to Singapore. His 2016 sentence to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a € 375,000 fine was upheld on appeal two years later.



What are the "Pandora Papers"?

"Pandora Papers" is a collaborative investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in partnership with 150 international media outlets, including Le Monde. It is based on the leak of nearly 12 million confidential documents, transmitted by an anonymous source to the ICIJ, from the archives of fourteen firms specializing in the creation of offshore companies in tax havens (British Virgin Islands, Dubai, Singapore, Panama, the Seychelles…).

Five years after the "Panama Papers", the investigation reveals the extent of the abuses of the offshore industry and its limited companies. She shows how this system benefits hundreds of policymakers, and how new tax havens are taking over as old ones convert to transparency.


To read: "Pandora Papers": a world dive into the secrets of offshore finance

Easy, offshore? Three years later, the facts prove the intermediary [Philippe Houman] right. Because, despite the scandal and the tightening of laws against banking secrecy, tax fraud and optimization, we find him today at the head of a flourishing business of administration of companies created in all the tax havens of the planet. His small company, Monfort Capital Partners, is based in Dubai, opposite the island of Palm Jumeirah, in a sought-after area of ​​the flamboyant Emirate, bristling with steel and glass skyscrapers.


This is a second home, possibly less showy, for this former lawyer of the Geneva bar specialising in company administration, who left Switzerland around 2009, when banking secrecy began to falter. “After the scandals, many Swiss lawyers gave up this offshore activity. But some decided on the contrary that it was a carrier and continued it," says Carlo Lombardini, himself a lawyer at the Geneva bar and professor of law. "They probably feel protected by moving to faraway states."


Too cumbersome partner


5,000 kilometers from Switzerland, Philippe Houman is discreet. Barely a showcase site for Monfort Capital, "doing business" with only a phone number and an e-mail address. Admittedly, the Cahuzac affair destroyed Philippe's relationship with Mossack Fonseca, the "Panama Papers" firm, which had preferred to sever ties with this now exposed partner. But the "Pandora Papers" attest to the vitality of his firm. In connection with other offshore companies in Cyprus, Panama or the British Virgin Islands, Monfort Capital has managed in recent years more than a hundred offshore companies for a diversified international clientele whose assets number in the millions — of euros, dollars and rubles. Mr. Houman has also directly acted as a director of some of his clients' companies, keeping them from appearing in public.


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Translation by Jules Letambour


READ FROM TOP. See also: no american got hurt...



invest in sioux falls....

There’s no telling where the vast fortunes hide on tree-softened Phillips Avenue here in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

No billionaires in Brioni tuck into the gravy-drenched roast beef sandwich at the Diner. No dark-windowed Escalades cruise past the Child’s Play Store, where the owner sports a pin that proclaims her a “glow getter.”

Yet the money is here, mind-boggling sums of it, along this avenue in South Dakota, as the wider world discovered one sunny Sunday in October.

Somehow, millions of private financial records — known as the Pandora Papers — had landed in the hands of journalists. They laid out how wealthy and powerful people with chequered pasts exploit the US financial system to store assets. One of their favourite spots: Sioux Falls.


State data show South Dakota holds $US500 billion ($674 billion) of wealth in trusts. A significant chunk has its legal home at one of the more than 50 chartered trust companies headquartered within a block or two of this strip of Phillips Avenue.

Many outsiders were taken aback. Was South Dakota — a state home to less than 1 million people and hardly accustomed to a second glance, if even a first one — really a financial haven for the rich?


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