Today’s Top Stories from GFI – The Tale of ‘Bitcoin Jesus’

 

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NBR set to crack whip on foreign firms’ tax dodging
The Daily Star (Bangladesh), June 17, 2014

By Sohel Parvez

The tax authority is set to crack down on tax evasion and controversial fund transfers by foreign companies through transfer pricing from next fiscal year by implementing a rule for it.

Transfer pricing is an accounting method which allows multinational companies to shift net profits or losses to offshore or low-tax countries to maximise their earnings.

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Tax Havens

‘Bitcoin Jesus’ Calls Rich to Tax-Free Tropical Paradise
Bloomberg (US), June 16, 2014

By Jason Clenfield and Pavel Alpeyev

He’s known as Bitcoin Jesus in the world of cyber-currencies. Though he can’t promise you heaven, he is offering a haven: a condo in the Caribbean that comes with a new passport and almost zero taxes.

Meet Roger Ver, ex-U.S. citizen, ex-convict, millionaire investor, self-described libertarian and founder of Passports for Bitcoin.com.

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Offshore Cash of $2 Trillion Sparks Hunt for Tax-Friendly Deals
Bloomberg (US), June 16, 2014

By David Welch and Manuel Baigorri

What’s greasing the wheels for the rise in mergers by U.S. companies? The tax man.

Two tax-code quirks — one that charges U.S. companies when they repatriate overseas earnings, the other that allows them to claim a foreign domicile without moving their senior leadership abroad — are motivating U.S. companies to buy overseas counterparts in part to lower their bills.

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US Congress to deny federal contracts to Bermuda-based offshore companies — plan
The Royal Gazette (Bermuda), June 17, 2014

By David Fox

Bermuda has again been singled out and labelled “a tax haven” by US legislators as they last week attached an amendment to US federal funding measures, seeking to block federal contracts to former American companies involved in corporate inversions.

A leading publisher of financial information, Bankrate Inc, reported at Bankrate.com: “The effort to make it harder for certain tax haven companies to do business with Uncle Sam was sponsored by two House Democrats, Rep Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Rep Lloyd Doggett of Texas.”

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Money Laundering

Hong Kong banks investigated by HKMA over money laundering breaches
The South China Morning Post (China), June 16, 2014

By Toh Han Shih

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is investigating several financial institutions, including at least one bank, for possible criminal breaches of the city’s anti-money-laundering laws.

The investigations are the first to be made since the strict Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (Financial Institutions) Ordinance, better known as AMLO, was enacted more than two years ago.

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RBI tightens money laundering rules
The Economic Times (India), June 14, 2014

By Atmadip Ray

Reserve Bank of India has tightened the money laundering rules for money transfer companies and has empowered their designated directors to penalise offerders who failed to comply with the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

The regulator has directed these companies to nominate a director on their for this purpose. The directors can issue directive and seek reports from reporting entities time to time and can penalise them if they failed to comply with the rules.

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Terrorist Financing

How an arrest in Iraq revealed Isis’s $2bn jihadist network
The Guardian (UK), June 15, 2014

By Martin Chulov

Two days before Mosul fell to the Islamic insurgent group Isis (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), Iraqi commanders stood eyeballing its most trusted messenger. The man, known within the extremist group as Abu Hajjar, had finally cracked after a fortnight of interrogation and given up the head of Isis’s military council.

“He said to us, ‘you don’t realise what you have done’,” an intelligence official recalled. “Then he said: ‘Mosul will be an inferno this week’.’

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Corruption

Financial corruption on rise in Saudi Arabia: Report
PressTV (Iran), Jun 17, 2014

According to a recent report by the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, nearly 500 cases of money laundering and corruption have been reported in Saudi Arabia in the past two years.

The report said the Saudi Interior Ministry had investigated more than 180 of such cases this year and over 300 others in 2013.

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Donors slash Mozambique aid over corruption claims
The Mail and Guardian (Africa), June 14, 2014

The group of donors who contribute aid directly to the Southern African nation’s coffers pledged $275-million in aid this week – down from $309-million last year.

Norway decided to stop its commitment altogether, joining Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain who all pulled out from direct budget support recently.

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Financial Transparency

‘Govt to ensure transparency in finances of panchayats’
Hindustan Times (India), June 17, 2014

The Punjab government has drawn up a comprehensive programme to ensure transparency in the funding system and audit of past three years of panchayats, said rural development and panchayat minister, Sikandar Singh Maluka, while addressing a press conference in SAS Nagar on Monday.

Maluka added: “The department has already given final touches to the proposals of e-panchayats to bring transparency in the functioning of panchayats. The state government has already ordered digital mapping of villages to save the panchayat lands from illegal encroachment.”

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Global Financial Integrity (GFI) works to curtail illicit financial flows by producing groundbreaking research, promoting pragmatic policy solutions, and advising governments.

For additional information please visit www.gfintegrity.org.


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