Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Links Apr 17

The 2012 Pulitzer Prize Winners Explanatory Reporting - The Pulitzer Prizes
"Awarded to David Kocieniewski of The New York Times for his lucid series that penetrated a legal thicket to explain how the nation’s wealthiest citizens and corporations often exploited loopholes and avoided taxes." See David Kocieniewski's work here. Hat tip: Clark Gascoigne.

Swiss seal Austrian tax deal to save privacy laws swissinfo
Apr 16 - "Switzerland and Austria have clinched a bilateral deal aimed at legalising undeclared assets in Swiss banks and introducing a withholding tax ... Switzerland is also negotiating a Rubik accord with Greece, but is having a tougher time convincing the US to accept withholding taxes. Having prised client data from Swiss bank UBS in the past, the US appears intent on getting more client names rather than just their cash."

Swiss Bankers Welcome Tax Deal With Austria Tax-News
Apr 17 - "The Swiss Bankers Association has recently taken note of the signing of the bilateral tax agreement between Switzerland and Austria, and has welcomed the fact that the Confederation’s strategy for tax conformity, defined over two years ago, has now been substantiated with a third European country following the agreements signed with the UK and with Germany."

Court rules in favour of Credit Suisse client swissinfo
Apr 11 - "Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court has ruled in favour of a Credit Suisse client who had complained about his banking data being sent to the United States tax authority."

Banks allowed to reveal staff names to US swissinfo
Apr 16 - "The Swiss government has authorised 11 banks under investigation by the United States over tax evasion issues to release names of employees involved."

Paris court to investigate UBS France swissinfo
Apr 17 - A Paris court has opened a judicial investigation into the activities of UBS in France. The Swiss bank is suspected of helping French clients evade taxes.

U.S.: Tax Fairness Takes a Hit; Senate Defeats Buffett Rule Citizens for Tax Justice
Apr 16 - "Senate minority blocks even minimal tax reform, preserves lower effective tax rates for millionaire investors ... The legislation, proposed by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, would implement the Buffett Rule. It would not affect anyone except taxpayers who have incomes exceeding $1 million and yet manage to pay a smaller portion of their income in taxes than do many people who work for wages and salaries."

See also:
Buffett Rule makes Main Street sense The Hill

Apr 16 -By a small business owner and member of Business for Shared Prosperity "As a music store owner, the Buffett I’m usually concerned with is Jimmy Buffett of Margaritaville. But a bunch of lobbying groups who claim to represent small business are making me mad. They’re trying to scare people into believing that job-creating small businesses like mine won’t hire people unless the “Buffett Rule” is defeated."

U.S.: Tax Dodging Jeopardizes Society at Home and Abroad Huffington Post
Apr 17 - Heather Lowe and Clark Gascoigne comment on how - "civilized society, at home and abroad, is precariously at risk today unless we do something to stem the rampant tax dodging facilitated by tax havens."

Sentencing of former Nigerian politician highlights role of British and US banks in money laundering Global Witness

Apr 16 - "Global Witness calls for a thorough investigation into HSBC, Barclays, Citibank and Abbey National (now owned by Santander) for their roles in the laundering of millions of pounds by James Ibori, former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta State ... The case also shows how money launderers such as Ibori are able to use shell companies spread across different countries to move and conceal their assets."

UK: Conservative peer hired as tax haven lobbyist The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Apr 17 - "A former Conservative minister with close links to the Government is simultaneously sitting as a peer in the House of Lords and lobbying on behalf of a Caribbean tax haven. Lord Blencathra, a former MP and Tory Chief Whip, is being paid by the Cayman Islands’ government to represent the interests of its financial services industry – despite also being able to vote on legislation affecting the territory."

See also:
Revealed: Ex-Conservative minister Lord Blencathra paid to lobby for island tax haven The Independent

Apr 17 - "On the register of Lords' interests Lord Blencathra, formerly David Maclean, declares that he is director of Cayman Islands Government Office in the United Kingdom. But as he himself admitted during a recent visit to the island, the role is effectively one of a lobbyist and he was hired not for his knowledge of the British Overseas Territory but for his political understanding and connections."

Unclear as oil Financial Times

Apr 16 - On a Financial Times investigation in Angola. "Extracting oil in autocratic states is a murky business ... US legislators were right to include in the Dodd-Frank act a provision obliging US-listed natural resources companies to report how much they pay to governments in their annual filing to the SEC. These rules must be fully implemented. In the EU, where the Council is discussing a similar rule being proposed by the Commission, member states should resist calls to water it down."


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