Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Michael West

Michael West: MW's website is dedicated to the public interest. Our focus is investigations into big business, particularly multinational tax avoidance, banking and the energy sector Democracy is under fire from powerful interests. 

Global private wealth hit $166 trillion last year, up 5.6% on the year previous. Yet as the rich get richer, reaping the benefits of globalisation opportunities and recovering economies, the rate of growth will accelerate in the coming years, taking total private wealth in the hands of the affluent to over $220 trillion by 2021.

A new report from The Boston Consulting Group explores, among others, the accretion of wealth among the world’s wealthiest people. The reported, titled 'Global Wealth 2017: Transforming the Client Experience', is based on an analysis of global private and covers both current trend and future projections. Private wealth is measured for the affluent as between $250,000 and $1 million; for lower high net worth individuals (HNWI) between $1 million and $20 million; upper HNWI as between $20 million and $100 million; and ultra HNWI as anything over $100 million.

As the Tax Justice Network put it: “This is not the first time the OECD has embarrassed itself by declaring a premature end to tax havens. In 2012, the organisation declared that all countries had taken sufficient measures to remove themselves from their tax haven blacklist.

“And then we had Swissleaks, BVI leaks, Luxleaks and the Panama Papers.”

G20 Los Cabos: take a dip then tee off on a championship golf course

This latest multilateral gabfest in Hamburg marks a rise in global hostilities on tax as the EU has directly challenged the Trump administration on tax evasion and the anonymous ownership of companies and trusts.

Dear readers, we are distressed to inform you that the leadership team of Gilead Sciences in Australia appears to have gone missing in the wilds of “overseas”.
After michaelwest.com.au touched base last week to discuss the tax affairs of the giant US pharma company in Australia, spokesperson Andrea said the team was overseas and unable to be contacted. Days passed.
We expressed concern to Andrea on Friday and yesterday about Team Gilead and inquired as to their whereabouts and well-being. Alas there was no word. They were still completely uncontactable … overseas somewhere.

Did they not have mobile phones and broadband overseas? Surely, they must be in an exotic locale. Could it be the Sahara Desert? Unlikely; mobile communications in Chad and Niger are slow and patchy but the internet is slow and patchy in Australia too. In fact it was very slow and patchy at this very desk last night.
Perhaps the G-Team was climbing Mount Everest and therefore unavailable for comment because there was no mobile reception in the Death Zone. No, we can rule that out. We soon discovered that hanks to Huawei and China Mobile – Everest is now wired all the way to the summit.

Michael West spent two decades working as a journalist, stockbroker, editor and finance commentator before striking out on his own. Having worked for eight years investigating financial markets and big business for Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian and another eight years for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald at Fairfax Media, West has well and truly tested the limits of the mainstream media.
michaelwest.com.au kicked off in July, 2016. Four months later, West was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney’s School of Social and Political Sciences. The role is to work with the School’s Sydney Democracy Network, particularly addressing money in politics and the intersection between government and big business.
His investigations into multinational tax avoidance were instrumental in establishing the Senate Inquiry into Corporate Tax Avoidance in 2015 and subsequent corporate tax reforms by Parliament. His investigations into “gold-plating” in the electricity sector helped to establish the Senate Inquiry into Electricity Networks in 2014. Prior to the global financial crisis his work in exposing the “financial engineers” such as Macquarie Bank, Allco Finance and Babcock & Brown for aggressive business practices had a significant impact on corporate Australia.