Monday, December 13, 2010

Dollars, Euros Laundered And Washed At Reasonable Expense - D.E.L.A.W.A.R.E

Lucy Komisar has an excellent article on U.S. secrecy in the latest edition of The American Interest, looking at places like Wyoming, Nevada and Delaware, and what they provide to crooks around the world. It's a useful overview of the system.

There is a vast and growing American offshore. Foreign crooks prize states such as Nevada, Wyoming and especially Delaware for state laws that don’t require them to list owners or even company officials when a new company is formed. Martin Woods, a former policeman who follows the paper trails left behind by illicit cash for Hermes Forensic Solutions Ltd. in London, recently quipped at a conference, “Internationally, Delaware is an acronym. It stands for Dollars, Euros Laundered And Washed At Reasonable Expense.”

It looks at the Levin-Grassley-McCaskill bill seeking to overturn some of the harm, and the armies of corporate lobbyists trying to stop them -- and the Obama administration, despite Obama's pre-election co-signature of an anti-abuse bill, now appears to be on the lobbyists' side. Komisar notes, crucially, of the disconnect inside the United States, citing TJN Senior Adviser Jack Blum:
half the Treasury wants to stop hot money, the other half wants it to come in because it helps the banking industry. This is the Robert “Cit- ibank” Rubin view. This is typical of the U.S. government, where different interests outside government are mirrored inside of it.
It is the captured state, all over again. Komisar also notes:
The system promotes tax evasion.
That word "promotes" is extremely important. Many people have simply taken the offshore system as a "given" and lay the blame for corruption, tax evasion insider trading elsewhere: at the door of the corrupt dictators, the arms dealers or the cocaine smugglers - and the forces of law and order that fail to stop them. What they strenuously refuse to see is that this system is not a passive and neutral recipient of funds, as they would have us believe. No, the secrecy entitlements are actively making this stuff happen. And powerful forces inside the U.S., now supported by the Obama administration, are making sure that it won't change.


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