Friday, September 16, 2011

Links Sep 16

U.S. tax-evasion probe turns to Israeli banks Reuters
Sep 16 - "The U.S. pursuit of offshore tax evaders is widening to include Israel, where U.S. authorities are scrutinizing three of Israel's largest banks over suspicions their Swiss outposts helped American clients evade taxes."

Amnesty Program Yields Millions More in Back Taxes New York Times
Sep 15 - "More than 12,000 American taxpayers have voluntarily revealed their secret offshore bank accounts to the Internal Revenue Service as part of the government’s latest tax amnesty program ... The move will allow the United States Treasury to collect at least half a billion dollars in unpaid taxes."

Automatic Information Exchange or Banker’s Pet Scheme: Europe Remains Undecided Task Force Blog
Sep 14 - We've been blogging on the disgraceful bilateral UK-Swiss and German-Swiss tax deals. Here is a good overview of the status within Europe on "Rubik", the final withholding tax concept initially formulated by the Association of Foreign Banks in Switzerland (AFBS) and by Swiss banks to protect banking secrecy against the international moves towards automatic tax information exchange.

See also:

Swiss deals complicate EU tax negotiations
Sep 14 -
"In other words, if Germany and Britain accept the preservation of Swiss banking secrecy, there’s no reason for them to continue to put pressure on Luxembourg and Austria, inside the European Union, to replace the system of withholding tax with the automatic exchange of information between tax administrations."

Licence to loot Economist
Sep 17 - On secrecy of beneficial ownership. A "
high five" for Global Witness - this article will certainly boost awareness of the issue. The Economist has, however, failed to take the necessary next step to say that big OECD countries are themselves tax havens.

The $2 Billion UBS Incident: 'Rogue Trader' My Ass
Rolling Stone

Sep 15 - Commentary on the news of the
$2billion loss for UBS by a rogue trader -" 'rogue traders are treated like bad accidents and condemned everywhere from the front pages to Ewan McGregor films. But rogue companies are protected at every level of the regulatory structure and continually empowered by deregulatory legislation giving them access to our bank accounts." Hat tip Offshore Watch.

And see also, for an interesting take on banking culture:
Ex-UBS trader says Swiss bank was probably trying to cover up its losses
Sep 15 - "Given its track record it’s safer and fairer to assume that UBS is a “rogue bank” than to describe whoever racked up these $2bn losses (and it may well not have been Adoboli) as a “'rogue trader'." Hat tip Offshore Watch


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