Category Archives: Crime

Martin Armstrong On Proposal To Seize ‘Suspicious’ Cash, Precious Metals, Gems Entering EU

On Tuesday, I blogged about how individuals intending to carry legally-obtained and owned currency, precious metals, and gems into the European Union for their safe deposit boxes may want to take note of proposed rules seeking to enable European Union authorities to seize cash- “to include gold, precious stones and metals”- below the €10,000 threshold temporarily merely on suspicions of criminal activity.

Here’s one take on these rules from economist Martin Armstrong, who blogged yesterday:

The purpose of the rules is now openly being justified to fight against tax evasion, along with moonlighting and terror financing. The government clearly understands that cash is the only way for citizens to protect their savings from access by states and banks and any special levies or wealth taxes. Closing this door merely opens the door to cash investment turning to movable assets particularly shares.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

An insightful post by Armstrong concerning this development across the pond, which you can read here on his company’s website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

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Latest On Proposal To Seize ‘Suspicious’ Cash, Precious Metals, Gems Entering EU

Individuals intending to carry legally-obtained and owned currency, precious metals, and gems into the European Union for their safe deposit boxes may want to take note of a December 5, 2017, press release on the European Parliament web site:

“Cross-border cash movements: tightening up anti-terror and crime checks”

• New rules beefing up rules on cash controls dating back to 2005
New definition of “cash”
• Disclosure declaration required for cash sent by freight

Tougher checks on cash entering or leaving the EU were backed by the Civil Liberties and Economic Affairs committees on Monday.

The new rules repeal the First Cash Control Regulation (CCR) from 2005, which requires individuals to declare sums over €10,000 when leaving or entering the EU. MEPs want to close loopholes exploited by criminals, such as divergent penalties in different member states, travelling with sums just below the declaration threshold or using means of transferring value that are not covered by current rules.

To prevent the proceeds of crime from re-entering the economy or money being used to finance illegal activities, MEPs agreed to:

widen the definition of “cash” to include gold, precious stones and metals, as well as anonymous prepaid electronic cash cards,

enable the authorities to impound cash below the €10,000 threshold temporarily, if criminal activity is suspected, and

• make it mandatory to disclose “unaccompanied” cash sent by cargo.

MEPs also asked the EU Commission to draft legislation to bring about a convergence of cash control penalties in the member states and study the possibility of establishing a Union Financial Intelligence Unit by 2019.

The draft law was adopted Monday evening by 55 votes to 3, with 4 abstentions…

Next steps

The text still needs to be approved by the Parliament as a whole, before MEPs can start negotiating the legislation with EU governments…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Once again, the proposed rules seek to enable EU authorities to seize cash- “to include gold, precious stones and metals”- below the €10,000 threshold temporarily merely on suspicions of criminal activity.

This initiative may sound familiar to regular readers of Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes as I first blogged about it back on December 28, 2016.

You can read the entire press release on the European Parliament site here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

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Daily Express Articles On Safest European Countries To Visit, Safest Nations To Hide Out In Case Of WW3

When it comes to selecting an offshore location for one’s valuables, it only makes sense physical safety of self (planning to visit/inspect belongings?) and wealth is considered. One of the publications I read on a regular basis for my research is the Daily Express (UK), and the paper recently ran two articles on their website related to this topic.

The most recent one, penned by Kara Godfrey and published on December 8, 2017, is entitled, “MAPPED: Safest countries in Europe to travel in 2018.” Only 8 nations made the cut for the “safest countries to visit in 2018.” And only 1 of them is known (by me) to have private, non-bank safe deposit box facilities.

The other piece was posted on November 29, 2017. Francesca Specter reported in “MAPPED: The 10 safest countries if World War THREE breaks out”:

WORLD War Three fears have heightened in recent months as conflict between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump escalates. These are the safest places to hide if world war does break out

(Editor’s note: Bold added for safety)

Of these, 1 is in North America, 7 are in Europe, 1 is in Asia, and 1 in Oceania. 6 are known (by me) to have safe deposit box facilities outside the banking system.

Revealing articles, which you can view here and here respectively on the Daily Express site.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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Casey Research Articles About Gold Coins For Storing Wealth Offshore

Continuing on the subject of gold and storing it offshore, I’d like to bring up two articles I recently read on the Casey Research website. Casey Research was founded by Doug Casey, an American author, publisher, and investor, who also serves as chairman of the Delray Beach, Florida-based investment research firm. Regular readers know I’ve mentioned Casey before on this blog.

Back on May 18, 2017, an article entitled “Doug Casey’s Two Top Ways to Store Wealth Abroad” appeared on CaseyResearch.com. In it, International Man Senior Editor Nick Giambruno (who I’ve also mentioned in the past) asked Casey, “What forms of savings are good candidates to take abroad?” He replied:

Everybody should own gold coins because they are money in its most basic form-something that a lot of people have forgotten. Gold is the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously somebody else’s liability. And if your gold is outside the US, it gives you another degree of insulation should the United States decide that you shouldn’t own it.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“It gives you another degree of insulation should the United States decide that you shouldn’t own it.”

I would add “domestically” to the end of that statement.

More recently, a piece entitled “The Ultimate 4-Step ‘Freedom Insurance’ Plan” appeared on the Casey Research website. In the interview of Nick Giambruno by Chris Lowe, editor of Bonner & Partners’ Inner Circle, gold coins were mentioned again as “the easiest way to lessen the political risk to your savings.” From the October 3 exchange:

LOWE: What form of gold are we talking about- bullion, gold coins, ETFs?
GIAMBRUNO: Physical gold is your best option. Then you don’t have any counterparty risk. Having some gold in your possession in your home country is good. But having another stash in a foreign country is even better. You can either store it at a foreign property. Or you can store it in a non-bank safe deposit box.
LOWE: Why not a safe deposit box in a bank?
GIAMBRUNO: When President Roosevelt criminalized the possession of gold in 1933, federal agents went through bank safe deposit boxes searching for undeclared gold. Today, bank safe deposit boxes fall under the regulations and jurisdictions of banks. If there’s a bank holiday, like the one in Greece… or a bail-in like the one in Cyprus… or any event that shuts down or otherwise affects the banking industry, your bank safe deposit box is at risk. That’s not the case with non-bank vaulting and storage companies.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The subject of transporting gold coins out of the United States came up in the interview. From the exchange:

LOWE: What about gold coins? Can you just hop on a plane to Colombia or Argentina with gold coins in your pocket?
GIAMBRUNO: Well, it’s a gray area. And because it’s a gray area, I wouldn’t recommend taking more than a couple of gold coins with you when traveling abroad. The average TSA agent has probably never seen a gold coin in his life. He probably wouldn’t know what it was if he found one. But, if he thought it was something suspicious, he would confiscate it and let the courts sort it out. And that’s no fun. You’d have to go to court to get your metal back, and that would involve costly legal fees. I’ve taken gold coins across numerous borders, and I haven’t had a problem. But I’ve heard horror stories. And from personal experience, I can tell you that gold coins set off the X-ray machine. So there’s a decent chance the TSA folks- or their foreign counterparts- will find them. And remember, if you take more than $10,000 of “cash” in or out of the US, you need to file a “Report of International Transportation of Currency and Monetary Instruments” with FinCEN, a branch of the Treasury Department that deals with financial “crimes.”

Giambruno ultimately concluded:

You’re better off buying coins when you’re already in your destination country. Taking gold coins with you is just too risky.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Back on March 20, 2014, I blogged about transporting precious metals out of the United States to place in an overseas safe deposit box. In that post, I pointed out offshore expert Mark Nestmann discussed the process in-depth on the Financial Sense website in September 2012. His thoughts on the matter?

While it’s perfectly legal to move precious metals in or out of the United States, you must understand the reporting rules before you begin. Otherwise, your risk confiscation of your metals along with possible civil and criminal sanctions. You’re much better off paying an armored security service such as Brinks or ViaMat to transport the metals for you.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the two articles on the Casey Research site here and here, respectively.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: The mention of a particular individual/business should not be construed as confirmation of services claimed to be provided or any sort of recommendation. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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Crime Wave Has Irish Farmers Using Non-Bank Safe Deposit Box Facilities To Protect Belongings

According to news coming out of Ireland, criminal gangs have been increasingly burglarizing properties in the countryside. And since private, non-bank vaults offering safe deposit boxes are pretty much the only game in town these days, rural residents are reportedly turning to these businesses for safekeeping of their belongings. Ralph Riegel wrote on the Irish Independent website on November 8:

Gardai are battling to curb a renewed blitz of rural burglaries conducted by Dublin-based crime gangs.

More than 40 burglaries have been recorded in one area of Cork since mid-October with suspected burglaries by Dublin gangs also taking place in Tipperary, Waterford, Limerick, Offaly, Laois and Kilkenny.

The Midlands has also witnessed a burglary blitz involving two aggravated raids where residents were threatened during break-ins.

A notorious Limerick gang is believed to have been involved in the brutal aggravated burglary of a 54-year-old Offaly farmer last weekend.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In a related Independent piece published Wednesday, Séamus Fahy, co-founder of Merrion Vaults in Dublin (along with Glasgow Vaults in Scotland and Newcastle Vaults in England), revealed increased demand from rural clients for his safe deposit box service in the Irish capital. Claire Fox reported via the paper’s website:

Seamus Fahy of Merrion Vaults told the Farming Independent that it has seen an increased number of farmers hire its vaults.

“Farmers from all over the country are storing valuables in our vaults. They’re coming from all over the country from Donegal to Kerry,” he said.

Mr Fahy said that the increased number of robberies in rural areas in recent weeks is the reason for the rising demand from farmers.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It was interesting to read the mention of Irish banks getting out of the safe deposit box business, something I blogged about back in November 2015. Fox noted:

In 2015, Ireland’s banks ended their safekeeping vault services with many now availing of private vault companies to store their valuables.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

An insightful article (which you can read here on the Irish Independent site) that further justifies the existence of non-bank safe deposit box facilities in this day and age. For more information about Merrion Vaults, head on over to their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: The mention of a particular business should not be construed as confirmation of services claimed to be provided or any sort of recommendation. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

Source:

Riegel, Ralph. “Calls for fresh crackdown as Gardai battle renewed blitz of rural burglaries conducted by Dublin-based crime gangs.” Irish Independent. 8 Nov. 2017. (https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/agri-business/calls-for-fresh-crackdown-as-gardai-battle-renewed-blitz-of-rural-burglaries-conducted-by-dublinbased-crime-gangs-36297987.html). 24 Nov. 2017.

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Sovereign Man Simon Black: ‘Have Some Non-Reportable Assets’

Regular readers of Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes know I’ve brought up Simon Black of Sovereign Man website-fame occasionally. Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, “permanent traveler”, and self-described “free man.” I’ve been following his work for some years now for his insights on offshore asset protection. And yesterday, a post entitled “100 billion reasons to have non-reportable assets” appeared on his blog. Those “100 billion reasons” referred to a low-end estimate of the billions of dollars Black claims the cash-strapped government of Saudi Arabia will seize in their ongoing anti-corruption purge. He surmised:

Saudi Arabia needs cash. Now.

So over the past few weeks they’ve found their source: theft.

Under the guise of a ‘corruption crackdown’, the government of Saudi Arabia has arrested hundreds of its wealthiest, most prominent citizens, and frozen more than 1700 bank accounts.

Black paralleled the Saudi situation with the United States. He added:

This is really no different than Civil Asset Forfeiture in the Land of the Free, the legal framework where countless federal, state, and local agencies have the authority to seize and freeze every asset you own without even so much as charging you with a crime.

(They can even take your kids away!)

I think there’s a pretty big lesson here: desperate governments almost invariably resort to stealing from their own citizens.

And that’s why one step in a Plan B is to have some non-reportable assets.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

One of those “assets that you’re not legally required to tell them about” mentioned was precious metals.

Black has discussed physical gold- and offshoring it- on the Sovereign Man website before. A little over three years ago I blogged:

Simon Black of Sovereign Man-fame talked about that additional line of defense with storing physical gold overseas. He wrote Wednesday on his site:

I’ve long been an advocate of moving a portion of one’s savings overseas.

After all, what’s the sense of leaving 100% of your assets within a country ruled by a morally and financially bankrupt government that treats you like a dairy cow?

Moving some of your gold abroad to a jurisdiction that prides itself on maintaining a high level of financial security and privacy protects you against legal thievery your government might commit against you.

Sure, it’s a risk that might never come to fruition. But you won’t be worse off for having stashed some of your gold away privately in a safe, stable jurisdiction…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“What’s the sense of leaving 100% of your assets within a country ruled by a morally and financially bankrupt government that treats you like a dairy cow?”

Some would argue this applies to good old Uncle Sam. However, while I believe the American Republic is in real danger of becoming “morally and financially bankrupt”- we’re not quite there yet.

That being said, if we continue down the same path we’ve been on for a while now, that gold of yours could look pretty tempting to the Feds.

All-in-all, another fine piece by Simon Black, which you can read in its entirety here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

(Editor’s note: The mention of a particular business should not be construed as confirmation of services claimed to be provided or any sort of recommendation. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

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OECD Tax Chief: ‘Paradise Papers’ Activity Mostly, If Not Totally, Legal

A parting note to that prior discussion of the so-called “Paradise Papers.” Vanessa Houlder reported the following on the Financial Times (UK) website Monday:

But for tax experts, the conclusions were less clear. They said the structures revealed so far in the new cache were very different from those exposed in a previous leak, last year’s Panama Papers. Pascal Saint-Amans, the top tax official at the Paris-based OECD said: “They are quite different from the Panama Papers.” He said the schemes in question were mostly, if not totally, legal. “Some are not even questionable from a legitimacy point of view.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ll leave readers with this amusing bit from across the pond on the Daily Express (UK) website yesterday. Stephen Pollard wrote:

Take the headlines about the Queen. “Revealed: Queen’s private estate invested millions of pounds offshore” screamed The Guardian. The paper “revealed” that Her Majesty “through the Duchy of Lancaster has held and still holds investments via funds that have put money into an array of businesses, including the off-licence chain Threshers and the retailer BrightHouse, which has been criticised for exploiting thousands of poor families and vulnerable people”.

Are they really suggesting it is inappropriate for the Queen to hold investments anywhere except Britain? What about Bermuda or the Cayman Islands where, er, she is their head of state? She’s not allowed to invest in her own territories?

As for the phrase “offshore”: it is essentially meaningless. Britain is “offshore” for anyone who isn’t in Britain. One of the secrets of our economic success in recent decades is that we are an attractive place to invest money – offshore, that is, for the rest of the world.

If investing offshore is so appalling for the Queen, presumably it is for everyone else too – which means, from the perspective of Britain, everyone else on Earth except for us. Which means an end to all foreign investment in the UK. Then there is the hypocrisy of the reaction. According to Jeremy Corbyn anyone putting money into tax havens should “apologise”. As the Guido Fawkes website pointed out: the Labour Party rents its HQ via a tax exempt property fund based in Jersey. Nothing wrong with that, it’s completely legal…

But the gold medal for hypocrisy surely lies with The Guardian, which published the Paradise Papers and fulminated against people taking advantage of laws to minimise their taxes. Without mentioning, of course, The Guardian’s own “GMG Hazel Acquisition 1 Limited”, which is based in the Caymans– to minimise its tax payments…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Not our circus, not our monkeys, as Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes merely focuses on the secured storage of legally-obtained and owned personal belongings outside the United States for a variety of legitimate reasons. And not offshore finance.

Still, begging to pointed out considering all the hoopla over the “Paradise Papers” in the legacy media these days?

By Christopher E. Hill
Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes (www.offshoresafedepositboxes.com)

Sources:

Houlder, Vanessa. “Paradise Papers spark political backlash over offshore finance.” Financial Times. 6 Nov. 2017. (https://www.ft.com/content/70aca220-c30a-11e7-b2bb-322b2cb39656). 9 Nov. 2017.

Pollard, Stephen. “Hypocrisy over the Paradise Papers is truly breathtaking says STEPHEN POLLARD.” Daily Express. 8 Nov. 2017. (http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/876903/Paradise-Papers-hypocrisy-shocking). 9 Nov. 2017.

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