Friday, August 05, 2016

New Zealand and Its Mysteries - Cowen on Inside Traders

Eddie Obeid taken to hospital after suffering a stroke ...
Like with most money making mysteries the tax haven type arrangements were well and alive in the West for many, many years, but the Communist Soviets perfected it in mid 1980 and the Czechoslovak Communists followed the trend of socialising losses and privatising profits on various treasure islands ...
New Zealand Foreign Trusts: Chickens Coming Home to Roost ...
New Zealand foreign trusts and the Unaoil scandal more chickens coming home to roost and they are big...

Stanford, of course, is far from alone in embracing the secrecy and asset protection offered by NZ foreign trusts. There’s the Monaco-based Unaoil, a company at the centre of a global oil industry bribery network, according to Fairfax and The Huffington Post. Fairfax reported Auckland’s UnaEnergy Trustees as an important link in the chain.
Others publicly highlighted recently include Maltese Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Maltese Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri. As reported by a journalist with access to the massive leak from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, The Australian Financial Review’s Neil Chenoweth: (by the way Neil's book on Packer's Lunch is worth reading for offshore typologies all ELs and SES worth their salt tend to know it word for word)
Just weeks earlier, Muscat’s chief-of-staff, Keith Schembri, and Malta’s energy minister, Konrad Mizzi, had used New Zealand’s secrecy laws to set up two offshore trusts. These were to be linked to a secret Dubai bank account and to two Panama companies that Schembri and Mizzi had set up in 2013 through a Panamanian law firm.
The revelation of the New Zealand trusts has triggered ongoing crisis for Muscat’s government, but it also increases pressure on New Zealand to tighten its tax loophole for foreign trusts.
New Zealand’s 12,000-plus offshore trusts pay no New Zealand tax on foreign earnings. Their beneficiaries are not registered and their accounts are not filed with any public body. New Zealand regulators may demand this information, but it is not disclosed to foreign governments.

New Zealand foreign trusts the scandals the reforms and throat clearing from the EU 

Tyler Cowen has a thoughtfull story as always on the mystery of Rene Rivkins of this and past worlds:

"Insider trading has long captured the public imagination, featuring in headlines, television and movies ranging from Wall Street in 1987 to the more recent TV series Billions. It's thus worth asking: To what extent does all the drama correspond to what insider traders actually do?"
What Do We Really Know About Inside Traders..., based on the research of Kenneth R. Ahern at USC.  Here is to me the most interesting bit:
Some aspects come pretty close to what we see in the movies. The average insider trader is 43 years old, and nine out of 10 are male. The practice also seems correlated with some features of recklessness: Insider traders are younger than their associates, less likely to own real estate, and have fewer family members on average. More than half have criminal records, with almost all charges stemming from traffic violations.

How a Sunshine Coast financial planner’s death exposed a $100m deception: Mr Halgryn ran a trading syndicate that promised investors returns of up to 24 per cent

Wall Street Journal, Big Win for Tax Whistleblowers as Pair Gets $17.8 Million:
The U.S. Tax Court awarded $17.8 million to a pair of whistleblowers in a decision that significantly expands the scope of what can be claimed in such cases. The ruling for the first time allowed the whistleblowers to get a portion of criminal fines and civil forfeitures in addition to part of the taxes the government recouped because of information they provided...

In Whistleblower 21276-13W v. Commissioner, 147 T.C. ___, No. 4 (2016), here, the Tax Court interpreted the term "collected proceeds" which is the base to which the Whistleblower award percentage is based under § 7623(b) to include the following:

tax restitution $20,000,001
criminal fine $22,050,000;
civil forfeiture $32,081,693

Total $74,131,694

via  the brilliant distiller Jack Townsend Tax Court Includes Title 18 Fines and Forfeitures from Tax Crimes in Whistleblower Collected Proceeds


Your over-length appellate brief is chubby and fat: Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski uses some colorful language in a dissent from an order granting permission to file an oversized appellate brief issued today.

Judge Kozinski's dissent concludes:
For my part, I don't feel bound to read beyond the 14,000 words allowed by our rules, so I won't read past page 66 of the state's brief. If counsel for the state wishes me to consider any argument in the remaining portion of her brief, she should feel free to file a substitute brief, no longer than 14,000 words, which I will read in lieu of her oversized brief, so long as it is filed no later than 7 days from the date of this order.


US: 100 days and who's counting ...

On Saturday, the U.S. presidential race reached the 100-days-until-Election-Day mark, which traditionally is a popular time to look forward (or backward) in American politics. What do political writers predict? "It’s going to be the nastiest 99 days you have ever seen in a political campaign," wrote The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza on Sunday. Fact-checkers are chasing down the facts behind "outrageous" claims in political ads.  Journalism experts have advice for fact-checkers entering the battle. The co-founder of Snopes says "the bilge keeps coming faster than you can pump" these days. And The Hill says the only winner so far is the pocket-sized version of the U.S. Constitution.