Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Criminal Cyprus offshore business caught on camera

Cyprus, like all tax havens, denies being one. It is not a sink for oceans of corrupt and criminal loot from the former Soviet Union and elsewhere, they insist: no, they are a clean, responsible and co-operative international financial centre, which currently holds the EU Presidency, no less.

On 28 August, however, a German investigative TV program called Frontal aired a shocking video with undercover video footage from Cyprus. It shows how corporate advisers and bankers from within Germany and in Cyprus collude in (and pride themselves in) establishing thousands of tax evading structures for Germans. It reports on how Cyprus police, before executing a house raid (on the request of German prosecutors) of an office of a suspicious Cyprus company service provider, tipped off the office two weeks in advance.

For German speakers, take a look - then read on (hat tip: Markus Meinzer).

As we are well aware (see our latest study on this here, these structures usually rely on bank accounts held in the name of a shell company, whose directors and owners are nominees (and so cannot be identified by German or other criminal prosecution and tax authorities.)

The situation in Cyprus is all the more ironic, because Cyprus is now bankrupt and has applied for bailout funds from the EU - while at the same time actively and aggressively undermining its tax base.

Memo: Cyprus is ranked 20th on our Financial Secrecy Index. Take a look at its secrecy facilities, here.


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