Thursday, March 10, 2011

Links Mar 10

Brics becoming billionaire factory Financial Times
Mar 9 - The number of billionaires in leading emerging economies has surpassed the number of those in Europe for the first time and is quickly closing in on the US, according to new figures from Forbes. However, the true wealth of the very, very rich can rarely be fully assessed, as there remains - for now - an illusion of a right and entitlement to hide their assets.

What should a defamation bill contain? The Libel Reform Campaign

Mar 10 - Public interest should be at the heart of the new defamation bill, campaigners and celebrities tell parliamentarians. As observed in Philip Stephens' recent FT article: "English libel laws are among the comforts for those with dirty money who come to London".

Squatters take over Saif Gaddafi's London home The Guardian

Mar 10 - A protest group seizes what it describes as the Libyan government's 'corrupt and stolen assets', stating that they do not trust the government to do the job. The property, the protesters said, was managed by Gaddafi through a holding company registered in the British Cayman Islands.

US tax probe tightens noose on Swiss banks swissinfo

Mar 9 - The renewed offensive by the US tax authorities to protect the U.S. tax system has alarmed the Swiss banking community, sparking fears of a second assault on banking secrecy and rumours regarding which banks may be next to face the music. A former Credit Suisse banker, indicted on tax evasion charges, points out that the bank had always known about his activities. “I always acted in the name of the bank and according to their instructions,” he said. “It’s not the case that I did anything independently.”

Black money: how tax offenders hide their identity India Today

Mar 9 - A former colleague of Heinrich Kieber, who blew the whistle on LGT Bank of Liechtienstien to the German and other tax authoritiies points out: "Not even in your dreams you think that this could be criminal. For instance, dangerous are always names you know. ... all the money may be in his name but all the dealings are made in another person's name. But you will never find out, you will not find out in 20 years."

Black money: tax havens exposed India Today
Mar 9 - Even as the Hasan Ali case (see Links Mar 9) has hit the headlines and the Enforcement Directorate claims that India's biggest tax offender has as much as eight billion dollars stashed away abroad, he is only one of the big tax offenders. How it's done through secrecy jurisdictions: layering of funds, in Hasan Ali's case, through Switzerland, New York and London connections. Revelations of money physically transferred - flown abroad in "special flights" out of Mumbai and Delhi airports to Zurich.

Senior Athens Tax Official Quits Financial Times

Mar 10 - The government’s ability to modernise the tax system and crack down on pervasive tax evasion is seen as a key issue in the battle to avoid a sovereign default.
See TJN on Tax Havens at the Core of the Greek Crisis.

Hungarian tax authorities plan more effective measures against tax evasion

Mar 10 - Tax evaders can expect much harsher retribution in the future when criminal and tax administration procedures will be launched against them at the same time, the National Tax and Customs Office (NAV) has said.

Philippines: Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) optimistic of meeting 2011 revenue goal of P940B GMA News

Mar 10 - The tax authorities say that reforms in the agency will translate into higher collections and enable it to meet this year’s revenue target - the BIR Commissioner explains:“We will meet the target because we’re filing tax evasion charges".

South Korea: 151 professionals under probe for tax evasion The Korea Times

Mar 10 -
The nation’s tax agency Thursday started its investigation into 151 suspected income tax dodgers, most of whom are high earners.Offshore tax evasion by businesses will also be put under increased scrutiny this year.

Thailand: Revenue Dept must chase after millions Bangkok Post

Mar 10 - "Paying taxes is part and parcel of one's civic duty. Yes, more than a few people may feel they receive little value for their taxes. But that does not abrogate their basic responsibility to society. ...Alas, allowing structural and systematic imbalances to continue to fester within the law, will only spur further resentment within society itself, to no good end."

Police search headquarters of Sarkozy's UMP party The Telegraph

Mar 10 - Investigations continue into into allegations involving L'Oreal heiress Lilian Bettencourt, including tax evasion and illegal campaign funding that implicated French Labour Minister Eric Woerth.


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