Friday, May 20, 2016

The Real Panama Papers Story

Remembering the Magna Carta We Kill Because We Can 

Serious side of Australian elections: The Federal Police nbn raid  on Labor Senator Stephen Conroy's office is  "unprecedented" (journalist-union slams raids) in a country proud of its non-politicised security agencies, Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says. Raids at Election Times at Sydney Writer Festival If you care about books do not vote liberal: authors get political

The lighter side of the Panama Papers 

Corruption Currents: American Fraudsters in New Panama Papers

Panama Papers: Canada, Sri Lanka Launch Probe OCCRP
Authorities in France, Australia, Austria and the United Kingdom, among others, have opened investigations or probes related to laundering and fraud over the past several weeks.

 The federal government won't say exactly how it got its hands on the Panama Papers, but investigators are already scouring the leaked files for tax dodging, and criminal charges will eventually be laid if at all possible, Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier says.
The minister confirmed Monday following question period in the House of Commons that the Canada Revenue Agency obtained the full Panama Papers last week and intends to use the documents to launch audits and go after possible tax cheats.
"We are looking into what's going on in these cases with a fine-toothed comb," she said. "If we can lay criminal charges, we will lay criminal charges.… As I've said since the beginning, nobody will be able to hide." Canada Revenue Agency scouring Panama Papers for possible tax cheats

Mapping the Panama Papers middlemen

Do wealth and status turn decent people into incorrigible brutes? An inquiry into the moral conduct of powerful people

Colourful Spanish director Pedro Almodovar broke his silence on the Panama Papers scandal for the first time yesterday at the Cannes Film Festival, saying that he and his brother were "among the least important names" in the leaked documents. "If the Panama Papers were a film," he said, "we wouldn't even be credited as extras." 
Europe To Stop Printing 500 Euro Banknote Panama Papers

SAY “PANAMA” these days and the word “papers” quickly comes to mind. Too bad. I recently visited this small Central American country and saw firsthand what is largely unknown: Panama is a huge economic success story, enjoying an average annual growth rate that’s about the best in the world in the 21st century. Things have “slowed” recently: Growth last year was a tad below 6% but is expected to be a bit above 6% this year. Unlike the numbers coming out of China these days, which are ostensibly slightly higher, Panama’s are the real deal. Its growth is still light-years ahead of that in most of the world’s countries. The Panama Papers? Here's The Real Panama Story

Last year Jennifer Hershon set out to do something none of Mossack Fonseca's clients had ever managed—she was checking out of Hotel California. Hershon, whose late husband Michael was known as Australia's "Brassiere Supremo" while running the Berlei-Hestia lingerie group, was bringing her British Virgin Islands company in from the cold. She wanted Mossack Fonseca to move it home to Australia. It's important to understand why that was such an accomplishment.
It's one aspect of low-tax jurisdictions that the Panama law firm doesn't mention in its sales brochure. It's easy to check in, but no one ever really leaves.

TaxGrrrl, Harry Potter Actress Emma Watson Named In Panama Papers. She is the brightest witch of her age...

Panama Papers links Namibian lawyer to mafia ANCIR

The world’s hidden wealth Prospect. Richard Smith: “Long form must read primer for global tax havens.”
 Panama Papers Reveal Lobbyists from Kremlin ..
Almost lost among the many revelations is the fact that Russia’s biggest bank uses The Podesta Group as its lobbyist in Washington, D.C. Though hardly a household name, this firm is well known inside the Beltway, not least because its CEO is Tony Podesta, one of the best-connected Democratic machers in the country. He founded the firm in 1998 with his brother John, formerly chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, then counselor to President Barack Obama, Mr. Podesta is the very definition of a Democratic insider. Outsiders engage the Podestas and their well-connected lobbying firm to improve their image and get access to Democratic bigwigs.
That’s from John Schindler who also notes that “Sberbank has blown off the Panama Papers revelations as nothing of consequence, but the fact that they are an arm of the Kremlin and they do plenty of shady things in many countries is a matter of record.”
Sberbank — and by extension, the Kremlin — is often in the  news ... 

Corporate Inequality Is the Defining Fact of Business Today HBR

Oxfam stages protest against tax havens in Trafalgar Square International Business Times (John G)
Panama Papers: How Jennifer Hershon checked out of Hotel CaliforniaAustralian Financial Review. Cathy Odgers was a wee bit more polite to Mossack Fonseca than she was to our Richard Smith.
Asia’s War on Drugs The Diplomat (resilc)

Daniel J. Mitchell (Cato Institute), The Necessary and Valuable Economic Role of Tax Havens:
Economists certainly don’t speak with one voice, but there’s a general consensus on two principles of public finance that will lead to a more competitive and prosperous economy.
To be sure, some economists will say that high tax rates and more double taxation are nonetheless okay because they believe there is an “equity vs. efficiency” tradeoff and they are willing to sacrifice some prosperity in hopes of achieving more equality.
I disagree, mostly because there’s compelling evidence that this approach ultimately leads to less income for the poor, but this is a fair and honest debate. Both sides agree that lower rates and less double taxation will produce more growth (though they’ll disagree on how much growth) and both sides agree that a low-tax/faster-growth economy will produce more inequality (though they’ll disagree on whether the goal is to reduce inequality or reduce poverty).
Since I’m on the low-tax/faster-growth side of the debate, this is one of the reasons why I’m a big fan of tax competition and tax havens.
UK tipped off over Swiss bank years before US exposed tax fraud

'The Revolution Will Be Digitized': Panama Papers Leaker Speaks Out

Has the Media Failed the Public on the Panama Papers?

Chinese dominate list of people and firms hiding money in tax havens, Panama Papers reveal

Alan Cole, If Everyone Is a Tax Haven, No One Is (Tax Policy Blog):
The European Green Party today labeled the United States a tax haven, particularly singling out the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. That’s a lot of states, places that most just consider ordinary areas in which to do business.

"I have established contact with Mr. Ahmed Jabouri of Chemic when I was in Amman," Unaoil's Iraq manager Basil al-Jarah wrote to CEO Cyrus Ahsani in an email that month. "My real purpose is getting access to Ahmed's best pal Kareem Leaby [Luaibi] at the Ministry."   Unaoil fixer paid bribes under nose of FBI

The Critical Question. HEY DUDE, WHERE’S MY REFUND? (Robert D. Flach)

News from the Profession. Former CPA Says He Stole From Trust, Filed False Tax Returns To Protect His Wife (TaxGrrrl)

Anti-corruption summit delivers underwhelming response to challenge set by Panama Papers 

This study examines cultural differences in ordinary dishonesty between Italy and Sweden, two countries with different reputations for trustworthiness and probity. Exploiting a set of cross-cultural tax compliance experiments, we find that the average level of tax evasion (as a measure of ordinary dishonesty) does not differ significantly between Swedes and Italians. However, we also uncover differences in national “styles” of dishonesty. Specifically, while Swedes are more likely to be either completely honest or completely dishonest in their fiscal declarations, Italians are more prone to fudging (i.e., cheating by a small amount). We discuss the implications of these findings for the evolution and enforcement of honesty norms.
Here is the research, by Andrighetto,, via Renato De Ra...

Tax office introduces new rules for prestige property owners

 Tax incentives on charity donations 'skewed' in favour of businesses and the wealthy  

   Most US stock market investors don't pay taxes on gains  

Washington Post op-ed:  Are We Ready to Raise Taxes on the Rich? History Says No., byKenneth F. Scheve (Stanford) &David Stasavage (NYU): Economic inequality is high and rising. At the same time, many governments are struggling to balance budgets while maintaining spending for popular programs.

               Panama Papers Tie Mega-Donors to Offshore Tax Loopholes  
                  US SEC Awards More Than $5 Million to Whistleblower