Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New Zealand offshore company agents Mossack Fonseca is far from alone

 A middleman is allegedly responsible for helping an Italian energy firm win $10bn worth of contracts in Algeria  Panama Papers: Mossack Fonseca linked to offshore deals in Africa worth billions in natural resources

The late Kerry Packer famously said, "I don't know anybody that doesn't minimise their tax … Of course I'm minimising my tax. If anybody in this country doesn't minimise their tax they want their head read. As a government I can tell you you're not spending it that well that we should be paying extra". Melissa Browne: The difference between tax minimisation and tax avoidance

The words "Mossack Fonseca” are now infamous.
The Panamanian law firm that incorporates companies and trusts is at the centre of the so-called Panama Papers. Millions of files were leaked (or hacked) from its database and given to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, and from there to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Here’s Mossack Fonseca’s response to the Panama Papers.
In New Zealand, journalists from Radio NZ, TVNZ, along with Nicky Hager, were eventually given access to the Panama Papers. From them, and via reports from AustraliaMalta and the US, we heard about the use of NZ companies and NZ foreign trusts, in ways that simply don’t paint NZ in a good light.

Did the reforms work? Certainly, the Companies Office’s almost total demolition of two large rogue incorporation franchises, GT Group and The Company Net, which took place between 2008 and 2011, does seem to have put the brakes on the NZ shell co business. GT Group and The Company Net fronted for a variety of dubious international agents and their even more dubious clients.
Isolated slip-ups by the Companies Office emphasize the stakes: here’s a 2014 story about a GT Group company that, because of an oversight, didn’t get wiped off the register, at a cost to someone, somewhere in the former Soviet Union, of $600 million.
More recently there’s also Fennas Finance Ltd, which helped a shady offshore entity use an ANZ bank account as a Ponzi scheme depository.
But the reforms, which include the Companies Amendment Act 2014 covered in our previous story, have certainly not snuffed out all the problems.
The continuing “ability of persons based overseas to register companies in New Zealand via the internet, with no apparent intention of operating in New Zealand”, continues to be evidenced by the never ending saga of offshore NZ financial services providers.
The evidence is live 
If you want evidence of the continuing “promotion of New Zealand-incorporated companies to wholly overseas interests by New Zealand and overseas company formation agents and brokers”, look at our map to see the offerings on live websites.
New Zealand offshore company agents Mossack Fonseca is far from alone 

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Ur-Fascism Umberto Eco, NYRB

Fighting for Seats at the Table: A Poor People’s Movement in a Rustbelt TownTruthout

Can sex triumph over patriarchy? Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

The Tax Office is targeting the growing number of people making a living or supplementing their regular income from the sharing economy.
 "We have a team of data doctors developing the sophisticated tax return analysis we do," says Tax Office assistant tax commissioner Graham Whyte.
The sharing economy is in the Taxman's crosshairs this year