Tag Archives: Paradise Papers

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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‘Paradise Papers’ And Offshore Asset Protection Going Forward

Some time ago, an overseas safe deposit box facility contacted me about removing them from that list of offshore private vaults I maintain on this blog’s sister site.

The concern was over the use of the word “offshore” with the website- and the negative connotation associated with it these days.

I sympathized with the vault operator and happily complied with the request.

I was already well-acquainted with the demonization of pretty much anything having “offshore” attached to it while creating/naming the Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes blog and Offshore Private Vaults website four years ago. However, I was comfortable with the use of the word with these projects since the secured storage of lawfully-obtained/owned, privately-held belongings outside the United States (plenty of legitimate reasons to do so, and perfectly legal per Uncle Sam) is different from offshore banking (no financial transactions are being conducted).

Offshore finance is under attack today as the so-called “Paradise Papers”– “a huge leak of financial documents that throw light on the top end of the world of offshore finance” as BBC News calls it- makes headlines in the legacy media.

But note what the BBC also said concerning this material. Tucked away in a “Paradise Papers reporting team” web article yesterday:

The vast majority of the transactions involve no legal wrongdoing.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And there’s this “pop-up” accompanying a piece by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reportedly overseeing the investigation:

Please read the statement below before searching. There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While the “Paradise Papers” may result in additional vilification of anything “offshore” among consumers of mainstream media, likely users of offshore products could shrug it off (while keeping in mind the importance of following the law). It’s conceivable this group ends up dismissing the matter after they contemplate/investigate potential agendas and/or influences.

I leave readers with this, which I posted on April 5, 2016, with the release of the “Panama Papers”:

Even though offshore corporate structures, offshore banking, and the like aren’t exactly my forte and not really areas this blog and sister site Offshore Private Vaults focus on, I feel I too should emphasize “offshore” doesn’t necessarily mean “criminal.”

The secured storage of legally-obtained and owned assets in bank and private, non-bank safe deposit boxes located outside the United States is perfectly within the law. And as regular readers of this blog know, Americans do it for a variety of reasons, including:

• Securing and having convenient access to valuables while residing, studying, travelling, and working overseas
• Geographically-diversifying wealth per the advice of financial/investment advisers
• “Prepping” for potential nationwide emergencies/disasters, where domestic access to privately-owned assets becomes impossible
• Protecting assets should “Uncle Sam” ever go rogue and join the growing wealth confiscation movement across the globe

While both the blog and website are aimed at the law-abiding, I still go so far as to communicate the following to visitors:

“Offshore Safe Deposit Boxes strongly condemns any attempted use of these overseas storage containers for illegal purposes.”

“Offshore Private Vaults strongly condemns any attempted use of these private vaulting facilities and their safe deposit boxes/lockers for illegal purposes.”

As it concerns U.S. government reporting requirements, just last week I blogged:

If “Uncle Sam” requires precious metals in an offshore bank safe deposit box to be reported, then by all means, you should do it.

And should taxes be involved, the way I see it, it’s like The Good Book says:

Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…

In conclusion, who knows how far the fallout from the “Panama Papers” will extend. But it would be a real shame if offshore asset protection , and in particular the tool of the offshore safe deposit box, gets thrown under the bus from this event despite it being beneficial and legal for Americans to pursue.

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 information 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.)

Sources:

Paradise Papers Reporting Team. “Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed.” BBC News. 6 Nov. 2017. (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41876942?ocid=socialflow_twitter&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=twitter). 7 Nov. 2017.

“Offshore Trove Exposes Trump-Russia Links And Piggy Banks Of The Wealthiest 1 Percent.” International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. 5 Nov. 2017. (https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/paradise-papers-exposes-donald-trump-russia-links-and-piggy-banks-of-the-wealthiest-1-percent/). 7 Nov. 2017.

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