Global Financial Integrity: Income Inequality, Wealth, And Illicit Financial Flows In Asia

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Shell Companies

FACT Coalition Welcomes Introduction of Bill to End Anonymous Shell Companies
FACT Coalition Press Release, August 1, 2013

Transparency Advocates, Small Business Groups, Investors, Labor Unions Hail New Legislation as Key to Curtailing Crime, Corruption, Fraud, Tax Evasion

WASHINGTON, DC – The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition applauded today’s introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. Senate crucial to stemming the flow of dirty money hidden behind anonymous American shell companies. The alliance of civil society organizations, small business groups, investors, and labor unions urged lawmakers to move quickly to pass this critical piece of legislation.

The Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act, sponsored by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Tom Harkin (D-IA), requires corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) in the United States to disclose the natural person(s) who maintain(s) an economic interest in or control over the company at the time it is created (the “beneficial owner(s)”). The bill seeks to put an end to the secrecy of “phantom firms”, anonymous shell companies with no physical presence formed to hold assets and disguise their source or true owner.

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Tax Evasion and Avoidance

UK watchdog ends inquiry into KPMG audits of BAE
Financial Times, August 1, 2013

By Adam Jones

The UK’s top accountancy regulator has dropped a long-running investigation into the auditing of commissions paid by BAE Systems, claiming it would have to delve too far back into the past.

The Financial Reporting Council said it had little hope of securing a misconduct finding against KPMG, BAE’s auditor, because it would have to examine work done before 1997.

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Mobile networks hand small fortune to shareholders – but little to taxpayers
The Guardian, July 31, 2013

By Juliette Garside and Ian Griffiths

On 27 April 2000, after seven tense weeks, the British government’s largest ever auction of a national asset came to a spectacular end.

In the dizzy days of the dotcom boom, five mobile phone networks had offered to pay a total of £22.5bn for the right to operate the 3G licences that would bring the internet to mobile phones.

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Berlusconi’s 1-Year Sentence for Tax Fraud Is Upheld
The New York Times, August 1, 2013

By Rachel Donadio

Italy’s highest court on Thursday definitively confirmed a prison sentence for tax fraud for Silvio Berlusconi, dealing a severe blow to Italy’s most dramatic politician.

But it also called for a re-examination of a ban on his holding public office, a compromise that might stave off an imminent collapse of Italy’s left-right coalition government.

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Tax payment: a moral issue
The Nation, August 1, 2013

By Atle Hetland

It is a long time ago now, 15 or 20 years. It was New Year’s Day. Together with many from the class of the rich and powerful in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, we had joined worshippers in the large Anglican Cathedral.

The Archbishop was the preacher. We had not expected that he would tell us that many of us were sinners, not just small sinners, as all are, but big ones. Because, he said, most of the tax avoidance, evasion and money laundering, too, were done by religious people and even strong believers.

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Tax Havens

Apple, Google Among Top U.S. Companies Parking Cash Offshore To Reduce Taxes, Study Says
Forbes, August 1, 2013

By Connie Guglielmo

Apple may get the brunt of the attention for its use of offshore havens to offset the taxes it pays in the U.S., but it’s hardly alone.

Six of the biggest names in technology — Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Google – ranked in the Top 15 of the 100 publicly-traded companies (as measured by revenue) with the most money held offshore, according to a new report called “Offshore shell Games” by U.S. PIRG, a federation of public interest research groups.

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Spanish Corruption Scandal

Spain PM denies taking illegal funds but admits handling scandal badly
The Guardian, August 1, 2013

By John Hooper

The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, struggled on Thursday to disentangle himself from the tentacles of the funding scandal that has pinned him down since the start of the year by admitting he had handled it badly.

He said his mistake was to have been duped into trusting – and supporting – his party’s jailed former treasurer, Luis Bárcenas. He flatly denied that he or other leaders of his conservative People’s party (PP) had received illegal payments.

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Spain PM Rajoy says will toughen corruption laws
Reuters, August 1, 2013

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told lawmakers on Thursday that his government would toughen up corruption laws and rules for the allocation of public contracts, in the wake of a corruption scandal.

Rajoy earlier said that accusations against himself and the ruling center-right People’s Party in the affair were false.

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Money Laundering

Legendary tycoon John Deuss’s latest exploit is cutting a money-laundering deal with Dutch prosecutors
Quartz, August 1, 2013

By Steve LeVine

A money-laundering settlement in Amsterdam closes the latest chapter in the long career of John Deuss, one of the most successful international wheeler-dealers of recent decades.

Deuss, a 71-year-old Dutchman, agreed to pay $47 million to settle a grueling, seven-year battle with European authorities over an alleged Internet fraud scheme. Apropos to a charmed life on the edge, Deuss admitted no guilt in the July 30 deal. “The settlement is the result of pragmatic considerations,” he said in a statement issued by his office.

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Treasury Imposes Sanctions on Zetas Family Member, Cattle Company
The Wall Street Journal (Blog), July 31, 2013

By Samuel Rubenfeld

The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday it placed Kingpin Act sanctions on the father-in-law of a Zetas cartel leader and the cattle sales company he operates to allegedly launder the cartel’s money.

Treasury targeted Jesus Fernandez de Luna, the father-in-law of Omar Trevino Morales, a brother of Zetas leader Miguel Trevino Morales. Miguel was arrested by Mexican authorities in July.

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Global Financial Integrity (GFI) promotes national and multilateral policies, safeguards, and agreements aimed at curtailing the cross-border flow of illegal money. In putting forward solutions, facilitating strategic partnerships, and conducting groundbreaking research, GFI is leading the way in efforts to curtail illicit financial flows and enhance global development and security.

For additional information please visit http://www.gfintegrity.org.


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