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Money Laundering

The Government’s Perilous Bitcoin Chase
The Daily Beast, July 25, 2013

By Michelle Cottle

Nothing can strip the shine off a cool trend as quickly as national security officials sharing how it is poised to become a cutting-edge tool in terrorists’ ongoing death-to-America project.

As such, I want to thank David Cohen, the Treasury’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, and John Carlin, acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security—distinguished and otherwise delightful members of a panel I moderated at the Aspen Institute’s National Security Forum this past weekend—for casting a sinister shadow over what I had previously assumed to be the harmless if quirky Bitcoin craze.

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U.S. seeks asset forfeiture, money laundering fines from SAC
Reuters, July 25, 2013

U.S. prosecutors filed civil charges on Thursday against SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund seeking forfeiture of what they said were illegal profits made from insider trading, according to court documents.

It also calls for SAC to pay penalties for money laundering.

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FCA slams banks with £13m money laundering fine
Mortgage Solutions, July 25, 2013

By Julia Rampen

The Financial Conduct Authority has fined four banks more than £13m in the past two years for failing to manage money laundering risks.

In 2013, the regulator also warned a further four banks they were vulnerable to money laundering.

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Tax Evasion and Avoidance 

Minimise this: A plan for curbing tax avoidance begins to take shape
The Economist, July 27, 2013

It may not have the snappiest of names, but the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, crafted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a club of 34 mostly rich countries, marks a potentially important moment in the fight against vigorous tax avoidance. There is, however, a long way to go before the plan can live up to its billing by Ángel Gurria, the OECD’s secretary-general, as “a turning-point in the history of international tax co-operation”.

As public ire has grown over tax-planning ruses that allow many multinationals to pay rates of income tax far below the statutory level, pressure has mounted on policymakers to move beyond their “pay your fair share” rhetoric. The Group of 20 countries (the world’s most advanced economies plus some large emerging markets) asked the OECD to draw up proposals for reforming the current patchwork of rules and tax treaties, which big business can easily game. The result, unveiled on July 19th, was promptly endorsed by the G20’s finance ministers.

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Dell Considered Novel Tax Strategy in Buyout
Dealbook, July 24, 2013
By Lynnley Browning

In the proposed buyout of Dell by its founder, the company considered but rejected as too risky a novel strategy that tweaks the now-curbed practice of corporations moving overseas to take advantage of lower taxes.

The strategy, drafted by JPMorgan Chase and disclosed in Dell’s regulatory filings in recent months, proposed a fresh twist on that practice, which has largely been banned by the Internal Revenue Service. In slides of a presentation dated last October, JPMorgan cited a “lack of precedent” for the strategy, calling it a “new structure — has not been executed publicly.”

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Tax Dodgers Sans Frontières
The Global Mail (Australia), July 24, 2013

By Mike Seccombe

It is more truly global than the “global war on terrorism”, more quixotic than the global war on the drug trade, and vastly more costly than either of these.

We’re talking about the global struggle between governments and multinational corporate tax dodgers.

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Customs broker, 2 CPAs slapped with P15.6M tax evasion charges
Philstar.com, July 25, 2013

By Jovan Cerda

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares announced on Thursday the filing of P15.6-million tax evasion charges against a customs broker and two certified public accountants (CPAs).

Customs broker Imelda Suba, and CPAs Miguel De Leon Garcia and Josephine Yopo were charged for their willful attempt to evade tax, failure to supply correct and accurate income tax returns, failure to register as value added tax (VAT) payer and failure to file VAT returns for taxable years 2009 to 2011, Henares said.

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U.S. IRS pursuing ‘stateless income’ tax enforcement -official
Reuters, July 24, 2013

By Patrick Temple-West

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is pursuing tax enforcement cases against companies over the issue of “stateless income,” a senior agency official said on Wednesday in a reference to corporate profits that are not taxed by any country.

Erik Corwin, an IRS deputy chief counsel, said there were international tax disputes with companies, “most involving consequences of complex restructurings designed either to create stateless income or to affect a tax efficient repatriation.”

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Corruption 

Tackling Corruption in Tunisia: An uphill struggle
The Economist (Blog), July 25, 2013

On the eve of their revolution two and a half years ago, Tunisians scorned the grip that their president’s in-laws held on the nation’s economy: “The Trabelsis have eaten everything!” they complained. Since then, in Tunisia and elsewhere in the region, governments have been under increased pressure to tackle the scourge of corruption. But progress has been painfully slow.

Samir Annabi, head of Tunisia’s anti-corruption commission, says his agency has a staff of just 17 and does not boast a single forensic accounting expert. Such limited resources allow only for basic “fact-finding”, before cases are referred to the public prosecutor. The commission and its predecessor body, set up within days of Mr Ben Ali’s departure, have referred more than 100 cases to the judiciary. Yet few big cases have come to court, with the exception of the brief, theatrical trials of Mr Ben Ali, his wife, Leila Trabelsi, in absentia, and other family members.

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Banking Secrecy

Credit Suisse Says No Guarantee of U.S Tax Settlement This Year
Bloomberg Businessweek, July 25, 2013

By Giles Broom

Credit Suisse Group AG said it can’t guarantee resolving a dispute with the U.S. Justice Department this year as Switzerland’s second-biggest bank prepares to hand over data on former American clients suspected of tax evasion.

While “actively seeking” a resolution, “I don’t think we could make a commitment or a forecast that it necessarily will be resolved in the second half of the year,” Chief Financial Officer David Mathers told reporters on a conference call today.

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