Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?, by Joh

Those old enough to remember when President Clinton's penis was a big news item will also remember the "Peace Dividend," that the world was going to be able to cash now that that nasty cold war was over. But guess what? Those spies didn't want to come in from the Cold, so while the planet is heating up, the political environment is dropping to sub-zero temperatures. It's deja vu all over again.

Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?, by Joh

Postby admin » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:19 pm

Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?
by John Cassidy
April 5, 2016

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Who is the odd person out from this list: Ayad Allawi, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Bashar al-Assad, David Cameron, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Mauricio Macri, Lionel Messi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Marianna Olszewski, Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin?

If you picked Olszewski, you’re right.
In the initial wave of stories about Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm whose internal documents—2.6 terabytes worth—were leaked by an anonymous source to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, she was about the only American citizen I saw mentioned. The leaked documents, which Süddeutsche Zeitung shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (I.C.I.J.), a New York-based public-interest organization, reveal that family members, associates, and financial advisers of some of the world’s most powerful people enlisted Mossack Fonseca’s services to set up offshore shell companies, which can be used to hide money and assets from the prying eyes of tax inspectors and other government agencies.

According to a report by the BBC, Olszewski, a thirty-nine-year-old investment adviser and the author of the book “Live It, Love It, Earn It: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Freedom,” also had dealings with Mossack Fonseca. The BBC story alleges that the law firm created an elaborate scheme to help Olszewski retrieve $1.8 million that she had invested in an offshore vehicle, without revealing her identity to the bank that was holding the funds. (Mossack Fonseca told the BBC, “Your allegations that we provide structures supposedly designed to hide the identity of the real owners, are completely unsupported and false.” Olszewski did not respond to the BBC’s requests for comment, or to mine.)

The BBC story illuminated the fact that much of the work done by firms like Mossack Fonseca involves people who aren’t particularly well known, and sums of money that aren’t huge. Moreover, the use of offshore accounts can be perfectly legal, and Olszewski’s financial affairs would appear to be of no great import to anyone but herself and the Internal Revenue Service. She doesn’t really belong on a list of prominent names associated with the leak, alongside the leaders of Argentina, Iceland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But why weren’t more Americans named?

One possible explanation, which we can dismiss immediately, is the notion that this sort of thing couldn’t happen here. To the contrary, the United States is widely recognized as a leading source of offshore money: during the Union Bank of Switzerland tax-evasion scandal, it emerged that, at that bank alone, U.S. clients had almost twenty thousand Swiss-based accounts. In the hedge-fund industry, it is considered perfectly normal and entirely legitimate to domicile funds in tax havens like Grand Cayman or the British Virgin Islands. In addition, as Bloomberg’s Jesse Drucker reported earlier this year, America is also, thanks to its relatively lax disclosure laws, emerging as a major tax haven and destination for offshore funds. Anonymous money is moving in and out of the United States all the time, with American lawyers and financial intermediaries helping to facilitate the flow.

A more convincing explanation is that the journalists who are researching the leaks are still pursuing American clients of Mossack Fonseca. In fact, we now know this to be the case. On Monday, a piece published by Fusion, one of the U.S. media organizations that has access to the leaked material, said, “So far, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has only been able to identify 211 people with U.S. addresses who own companies in the data (not all of whom we’ve been able to investigate yet). We don’t know if those 211 people are necessarily U.S. citizens. And that figure covers only data from recent years available on a Mossack Fonseca internal database—not all 11.5 million files from the leak.”

In an article published on Monday evening, McClatchy, another news organization working with the I.C.I.J., identified more American citizens for whom Mossack Fonseca registered offshore companies. The people named didn’t include any politicians or other well-known figures. “Some appear to be American retirees purchasing real estate in places like Costa Rica and Panama,” the McClatchy report said. But it also mentioned at least four people who have been charged with serious financial crimes: Robert Miracle of Bellevue, Washington, who was convicted of running a sixty-five-million-dollar Ponzi scheme; Benjamin Wey, the president of the New York Global Group, who was indicted last year on charges of securities fraud (his lawyer denied the charges in an email to the Times); Igor Olenicoff, a Florida real-estate mogul, who was convicted of tax evasion in 2007; and John Michael “Red” Crim, a financial adviser from Pennsylvania, who was convicted in 2008 of plotting to help people evade taxes.

So much for individuals. What about U.S. banks, financial advisers, law firms, and other intermediaries? Data compiled by the I.C.I.J. consortium indicates that, of the roughly fourteen thousand intermediaries—banks, law firms, company-incorporation firms, and other middlemen—with which Mossack Fonseca worked over the years in order to set up companies, foundations, and trusts for its customers, six hundred and seventeen were based in the United States. That’s a lot.

On the other hand, other countries appear to have provided Mossack Fonseca, which has thirty-six offices on three continents, with much more business than America did. In the past, the firm had at least one office in the United States—in Las Vegas—but it doesn’t currently have any. According to charts published by the I.C.I.J., the United States isn’t among the ten countries for which Mossack Fonseca created shell companies. (Hong Kong, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom held the first three places). And no American banks appear among the list of the ten financial intermediaries that most often requested offshore companies for their clients.

There are several reasons why the United States might not have been a major source of clients for the Panamanian law firm, relatively speaking. Perhaps it deliberately avoided having a large presence in the United States, so as not to attract the attention of U.S. authorities. Or perhaps there was too much competition. An article published in The Economist in 2012 pointed out that the business of setting up shell companies in tax havens is competitive and includes a number of well-established firms, such as the Hong Kong-based Offshore Incorporations Ltd., the Isle of Man-based OCRA Worldwide, and Morgan & Morgan, of Panama. In other words, wealthy Americans have many options for structuring their offshore holdings.

Eoin Higgins, a writer from Massachusetts, suggested another possible factor as well: the diplomatic relationship between Washington and Panama. In many cases, the entire point of setting up a shell company is to hide things. But, in 2010, the United States and Panama signed a trade-promotion agreement that, among other things, obliged Panama to provide to the U.S. authorities, on request, “information regarding the ownership of companies, partnerships, trusts, foundations, and other persons, including . . . . ownership information on all such persons in an ownership chain.” Higgins pointed out, “If Panama had ever been an attractive destination for American offshore storage of funds, this agreement shut the door on that possibility.”

Going forward, more Americans may well be named in stories arising from the leak. In the meantime, at least one observer, Craig Murray, a former British diplomat, has suggested that the journalists investigating the leak may be overemphasizing the role of non-Western figures, such as Putin and Assad. “What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on every listed company in the western stock exchanges, and on every western millionaire they could trace?” Murray wrote in a blog post on Monday. “That would be much more interesting. I know Russia and China are corrupt, you don’t have to tell me that.”

Murray’s last point is well taken. But crony capitalism and tax evasion are huge problems for poor and middle-income countries: according to the International Monetary Fund, it costs them hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenues each year. In detailing how this process works, the Panama Papers stories that have been released thus far have already performed an important public service. And the journalists have already netted some Western figures, including Gunnlaugsson, the Icelandic Prime Minister, and Ian Cameron, the late father of David Cameron, the British Prime Minister. Gunnlaugsson resigned on Tuesday, while 10 Downing Street is refusing to say whether the Cameron family still has any money in offshore tax havens.

In response to speculation about the dearth of American names, Stefan Plöchinger, an editor at Süddeutsche Zeitung, said in a tweet on Monday, “Just wait for what is coming next.” After other reporters picked up on this message, Plöchinger clarified that he wasn’t referring specifically to the United States. “No, it just means: relax,” he said. “What’s in the files will be published without fear or favor.”
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Re: Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?, by

Postby admin » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:19 pm

Panama Papers The Power Players
by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
April 5, 2016

• All
• Algeria
• Angola
• Argentina
• Azerbaijan
• Belgium
• Belize
• Botswana
• Brazil
• Cambodia
• Chile
• China
• Colombia
• Congo
• Congo, The Democratic Republic of the
• Côte d'Ivoire
• Ecuador
• Egypt
• Finland
• France
• Georgia
• Ghana
• Greece
• Guinea
• Honduras
• Hungary
• Iceland
• India
• Iraq
• Italy
• Jordan
• Kazakhstan
• Kenya
• Luxembourg
• Malaysia
• Malta
• Mexico
• Morocco
• Nigeria
• Pakistan
• Palestine, State of
• Panama
• Peru
• Poland
• Portugal
• Qatar
• Russian Federation
• Rwanda
• Saudi Arabia
• Senegal
• South Africa
• Spain
• Sudan
• Switzerland
• Syrian Arab Republic
• Ukraine
• United Arab Emirates
• United Kingdom
• Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
• Zambia

Country leaders/Politicians/public officials

President of Argentina

Former prime minister of Georgia

Iceland's prime minister

Ex-prime minister of Iraq

Former prime minister of Jordan

Former prime minister of Qatar

Former Emir of Qatar

King of Saudi Arabia

Former president of Sudan

UAE President, Abu Dhabi emir

Convicted former Ukraine prime minister

President of Ukraine

Relatives/associates of country leaders

Azerbaijan's first family

Brother in law of China President

Daughter of former Chinese Premier

Childhood friends of Russian President Putin

Close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin

Cousins of Syrian President Bashar Assad

Father of British prime minister

Son of former Egyptian president

Personal secretary to the King of Morocco

Children of Pakistan's prime minister

Son of Ghana's former president

Son of Malaysia's prime minister

Aide to former Argentine presidents Kirchner

"Favorite contractor" of Mexico's president

Former king of Spain's sister

Associate of Cote d'Ivoire's former president

Nephew of South African president

Widow of Guinea's former dictator
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Re: Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?, by

Postby admin » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:30 pm

Here are the famous politicos in ‘the Wikileaks of the mega-rich’
by Fusion Investigative Unit
April 3, 2016

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It’s being called the “Panama Papers” — a trove of 11.5 million leaked internal documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, showing how hundreds of thousands of people with money to hide used anonymous shell corporations across the world. Fusion’s investigative unit was one of the more than 100 media organizations that dove into the files — and found drug dealers, arms traders, human traffickers, fraudsters. We also found no shortage of politicians or their family members.

Here is a listing of current and former world leaders connected to the files. Check out Dirty Little Secrets, Fusion’s full investigation into the leak and the underworld it exposes.

For additional information on these names and more, read “The Power Players,” an interactive presentation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), from which much of this information is gleaned.

MAURICIO MACRI
President of Argentina


Macri — who as president has vowed to fight corruption — is listed, with his Italian tycoon father Francisco and brother Mariano, as a director of Fleg Trading Ltd., incorporated in the Bahamas in 1998 and dissolved in January 2009 — a financial connection Macri didn’t disclose on asset declarations when he was mayor of Buenos Aires. His spokesman said he didn’t list Fleg Trading Ltd. as an asset because he had no capital participation in the company. The company, used to participate in interests in Brazil, was related to the family business group. “This is why Maricio Macri was occasionally its director,” he said, reiterating that Macri was not a shareholder.

AYAD ALLAWI
Former Iraqi PM


A wealthy Iraqi exile who helped lead the push for war with Saddam Hussein, Allawi returned to Iraq to serve as prime minister in 2004. He also served as vice president as recently as last year. From 1985 to 2013, Mossack Fonseca helped run his Panama-registered company I.M.F. Holdings Inc. I.M.F. owned a house in Kingston upon Thames, England worth roughly $1.5 million, and another offshore company of his, Moonlight Estates Ltd., held a property in London. Representatives for Allawi confirmed that he “is the sole director and shareholder of Foxwood Estates Limited, Moonlight Estates Limited and IMF Holdings Inc.,” adding that he ran many of his house purchases through anonymous offshores “in light of an assassination attempt on him.” Indeed, he survived an attempt on his life in 1978, presumably by Saddam Hussein.

SIGMUNDUR DAVID GUNNLAUGSSON
PM of Iceland


A radio personality who led the Progressive Party to victory after the financial crisis of 2008, Gunnlaugsson and his wealthy wife owned a British Virgin Islands shell company called Wintris Inc., that held nearly $4 million in bonds in Iceland’s three major banks. He failed to declare his ownership of Wintris on entering the Parliament in 2009. In March, a TV interviewer asked Gunnlaugsson if he had ever owned an offshore company. “Myself? No,” he said, adding: “Well, the Icelandic companies I have worked with had connections with offshore companies.” A spokesman told the ICIJ that Gunnlaugsson and his family had followed all Icelandic laws.

KING SALMAN BIN ABDULAZIZ BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL SAUD
King of Saudi Arabia


Through a series of British Virgin Islands shell companies, the Saudi king appears to have taken out several luxury mortgages for houses in London — at least $34 million worth — and held “a luxury yacht the length of a football field.” The king did not answer the ICIJ’s requests for comment.

PETRO POROSHENKO
President of Ukraine


Known as Ukraine’s billionaire “chocoloate king,” Poroshenko swept into office in 2014 vowing reforms that have not yet come. He became the sole shareholder of Prime Asset Partners Limited in 2014, as Russian troops invaded Eastern Ukraine. The following year, Poroshenko vowed to sell most of his assets; news reports said they ultimately ended up in “Prime Asset Capital.” His spokesman told the ICIJ said that “creation of the trust and related corporate structures had no relation to political and military events in Ukraine,” adding that his assets held by an independently managed fund — Prime Asset Capital.

RAMI AND HAFEZ MAKHLOUF
Cousins of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad


“For years, any foreign company seeking to do business in Syria had to be cleared by Rami, who controlled key economic sectors such as oil and telecommunications. Hafez, a general in charge of Syria’s intelligence and security apparatus, has been suspected of helping his older brother intimidate business rivals.” The cousins have been subjected to international financial sanctions and appear to have used multiple offshore accounts to siphon wealth from Syrian industry and avoid freezes on their assets. In early 2011, emails show employees at Mossack Fonseca discussing U.S. sanctions and allegations of bribery and corruption made against members of the Makhlouf family. By that June, Mossack had cut its ties with the Makhloufs.

KOJO ANNAN
Son of ex-U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan


Then only son of former U.N. head Kofi Annan courted controversy in 1998, when a firm of his won a big contract under the U.N.’s Oil-for-Food humanitarian program in Iraq. An inquiry eventually cleared father and son of any corruption in the deal. Internal Mossack Fonseca documents show Koji Annan has held several offshore shell companies, using one to purchase a half-million-dollar apartment in central London. A spokesman for Annan said his business was for “normal, legal purposes of managing family and business matters and has been fully disclosed in accordance with applicable laws.”

FAMILY OF NAWAZ SHARIF
PM of Pakistan


For years, Sharif, a longtime presence in Pakistani politics, has had to answer questions about his family’s “riches from a network of businesses that include steel, sugar and paper mills and extensive international property holdings,” ICIJ says. Mossacks’ documents show a series of offshore companies operated by Sharif’s children, Mariam, Hussein and Hasan, including one to hold “a UK property each for use by the family” and others that moved millions in assets. Mossack Fonseca resigned from a company Hasan directed in 2007, calling him “a politically exposed person.” The Sharif family did not respond to the ICIJ’s requests for comment.

ARKADY AND BORIS ROTENBERG
Lifelong friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin


The billionaire brothers grew up with Putin and have benefited richly from his turns as Russia’s president and prime minister. The U.S. has sanctioned their wealth over alleged corruption, particularly allegations they profited over contracts from the 2014 Sochi Olympics. They ran at least seven British Virgin Islands shell companies “involved in everything from investing in a major pipeline construction company… to buying equipment for the construction of an Italian villa in Tuscany for Arkady’s son.”

SERGEY ROLDUGIN
Close personal friend of Putin


Widely known as one of the world’s better cellists, Roldugin has been close to Putin since the 1970s, when the future president worked in the Soviet KGB. Documents show Roldugin owned three shell companies, two of which were funded by a Russian organ that the U.S. government calls “Russia’s ‘personal bank for senior officials.'” Through those companies, Roldugin appears to hold significant shares of Kamaz, Russia’s largest truckmaker, and a major state media corporation.

IAN CAMERON
Father of David Cameron


The father of Great Britain’s current Conservative Prime Minister died in 2010, having amassed a fortune in smart investments. According to the documents, “Cameron helped create and develop Blairmore Holdings Inc. in Panama in 1982 and was involved in the investment fund until his 2010 death.” Blairmore was valued at $20 million in 1998 and was promoted to investors in brochures as “not liable to taxation on its income or capital gains.” The promotional literature added that Cameron’s fund “will not be subject to United Kingdom corporation tax or income tax on its profits.”
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Re: Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?, by

Postby admin » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:43 pm

What Do the 'Panama Papers' Mean for Vladimir Putin?
by Matt Clinch
CNBC
April 4, 2016

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The massive anonymous leak of financial documents on Sunday has left political experts contemplating what it could mean for Russia ahead of elections this year.

A team of journalists from around the world published what they called the "Panama papers" on Sunday —more than 11.5 million encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm.

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, is not named in the documents, but there are allegations of a billion-dollar money-laundering ring controlled by a Russian bank that has links to associates of the Russian leader. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), one of the teams that has been analyzing the data, told CNBC the papers show Putin's close aides were involved in a $2 billion money trail with offshore firms and banks.

'Friends earned millions'

"We've found a network of people around Vladimir Putin," ICIJ's Jake Bernstein told CNBC Monday.

"It's extraordinary, they are moving hundreds of millions of dollars at a time, they are taking money from a subsidiary, a Russian state bank, they are grabbing interests in major Russian companies and although we never see Vladimir Putin's name in the documents themselves, these are people who are very close to him," he added.

The U.K.'s Guardian newspaper — one of the publications that simultaneously published their findings on Sunday — added that Putin's "friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage."

Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, did not immediately respond to CNBC when asked via email for a response. However, a response published in Russia's TASS new agency showed that he was disappointed by the lack of professionalism in the investigation.

"Informational exercises against the president continue. We expected it, we announced it. These attacks continued. I admit that we expected more professional results of the work of this journalistic community," Peskov said, according to the TASS website.

The Kremlin has also spoken of a smear campaign in recent months against Putin ahead of legislative elections in September and presidential elections in 2018, according to reports.

Embarrassing, not damaging?

Timothy Ash, the head of emerging markets at Standard Bank, told CNBC by email that we wasn't sure the leak told us "anything we did not know already." Zach Witlin, an analyst at Eurasia Group, also doubted that it would lead to much pressure on the Russian leader as "part of Putin's power in Russia rests on his ability to always remain above the follies of any other official or associate."

Chris Weafer, senior partner at Macro-Advisory, told CNBC via email that it was embarrassing for Putin rather than damaging.

"The story comes at a time when the government is tackling the worst recession in the country since Putin became president in early 2000 and he has been waging a campaign against waste and excessive spending by state officials while promoting the message that 'we are all in this together,'" Weafer said.

"The government has also been trying to tackle money-laundering with the so-called de-offshorization legislation which has had very little success so far."

Meanwhile, Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer warned that the revelations could threaten the stability of some regimes like Russia.

"Vladimir Putin is directly caught up in this," he told CNBC Monday, claiming that the $2 billion could be "a tiny fraction of how much the Kremlin has actually been laundering."


Russia, in particular, could respond aggressively, Bremmer added. Given that the ICIJ was partially funded by billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundation, the Kremlin may wish to respond, he noted.

"I feel fairly confident that the Kremlin will be going after the U.S., Soros, the CIA and this is going to make Russian policy towards the U.S. actually much more sharp and antagonistic," he said.

"That's the kind of thing authoritarian governments need to do to take forced transparency that makes them look bad at home, they have to gin up trouble with enemies abroad."


'Perfectly coincidental'

Putin still remains a hugely popular figure at home despite criticism from some of the Western powers. He has recently been buoyed from a brief intervention in Syria with Russian airstrikes taking place on terrorist positions. A poll on Russia's VCIOM website shows that 68 percent of respondents would vote for Putin if presidential election were held next Sunday.

ICIJ's Bernstein said the timing of the "Panama papers'" release and the Russian elections was "perfectly coincidental." He told CNBC that he did not even know there were elections in Russia this year and highlighted that other global leaders had been implicated.

It is important to note that owning an offshore company is not illegal in itself, and CNBC has not been able to independently verify the allegations.

Mossack Fonseca told the BBC, which also released the leaked information Sunday, that it had always complied with international protocols to ensure the companies it incorporates are not used for tax evasion, money-laundering, terrorist financing "or other illicit purposes."

—CNBC's Nyshka Chandran contributed to this report.
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Re: Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?, by

Postby admin » Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:05 pm

Panama Papers: Where have all the Americans gone?
by pravdareport.com
April 4, 2016

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There are a few interesting aspects in the story of "Panama Papers" - the materials released to compromise a great deal of politicians and their offshore assets - that deserve special attention.

The materials were released by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism. However, as it appears, this consortium is "not quite international." There are many public figures and policy-makers in the papers indeed, including Putin's acquaintances, Ukrainian President Poroshenko, British politicians and so on. The question is about those figures whose names do not appear in the papers.

Most honest officials live in the USA

The Panama papers do not include any names of US officials. Looks interesting, does it not? One shall assume that the United States of America is home to world's most honest, incorruptible officials, who have absolutely no money anywhere and no offshore accounts either.

This idea may come to mind to many people especially when they think of recent scandals with Hillary Clinton and her efforts to protect a Swiss bank from the IRS.

The authors of the investigation were sponsored by USAID. Naturally, it is very uncomfortable to investigate the deeds of sponsors. This is the key to the "American silence."

The results of the investigation conducted by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism appear raw. The authenticity of the provided documents has not been established, plus the whole report makes references to "very anonymous and reliable" sources. It is hard to understand whose accounts appear in the papers. Oh, and the icing on the cake, is "the secret friend of Putin, a cellist."

Why not an accordion player or a toast master? Noteworthy, Drew Sullivan, one of the "authors" of all this "universal reveal" was a stand-up comedian in the past, who had received millions from the State Department.

"Sullivan is the founder of Journalism Development Network. It is not quite clear what this agency deals with exactly -- it has no official website. However, it is known that this organization not just regulates the OCCRP (Organized Crimea and Corruption Reporting Project), but also acts as a financial seal between the latter and the US government," investigator Roman Golovanov wrote.

"In general, Journalism Development receives huge funds from both the USAID and the US State Department," he continues while publishing reports about multimillion-dollar grants that the organization had received.

"As we can see, this is a typical example of a grant-eater and its founder, who is firmly addicted to the financial needle of the State Department and the USAID, and therefore acts as an instrument of the US-led foreign policy. It is worthy of note that Sullivan's organization not only masters the funds of US taxpayers but also directs financial flows in Russia," the expert wrote. Specifically, the money comes to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, which the author recommends for inspection to at least six tax agencies.

Panama Papers: Another information attack on Russia

"The widely publicized investigation about Putin has gone down the drain as a collection of substantiated charges that do not reveal anything. In fact, they have made news out of thin air to promote it through "loyal" and simply Russia-unfriendly media," he said.

"This is an information attack, rather than journalism. Key publications on the website of the primary source (ISIJ) and the international media (The Guardian, The USA Today, etc) say a lot about the Russian president, but much more substantiated allegations against Poroshenko, Xi Jinping's family members and other personas do not appear to raise any interest with anyone," Golovanov adds.

"Why this attack has come at this particular moment is clear as well. There are large federal elections coming up, and this is a brainwashing attempt to discredit reputable individuals. Have you paid attention to the fact that there are no Americans in the report? Is it because the sponsors of this "investigative organization" are in Washington? This is a moth-eaten story of he who pays the piper calls the tune," he suggests.

Russian bloggers continue. Stanislav Yakovlev, for example, wrote the obvious: "The concept of "confidential" is now either just a word or a bad joke."

"A "leak" appears to be a legal and socially approved way of obtaining information. Starting from yesterday, working with "information leaks" has officially become noble and even heroic work," he wrote.

In general, we are witnessing not just a method of information warfare, but, a global and national standard of democratic politics. What is the most democratic state in the world today, the stronghold of democracy? This is the USA, of course. In this country, an organization of the US State Department uses this type of "investigation" as a method of work. This organization showed everyone a bag and said that there was a cat inside that bag - this is how this investigation can be described.

Many may now want to dig something up for American officials. Monica Lewinsky's act in the Oval Office and Hillary Clinton's financial scandals will seem to be baby talk in comparison.

The USAID has opened a Pandora's box without realizing what consequences these actions may lead to.
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Re: Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?, by

Postby admin » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:10 pm

Panama financial scandal blows up into Democratic skirmishing over trade
by David Nakamura
April 7, 2016

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Image
President Obama signs the Korea, Panama and Colombia free-trade agreements and the renewal of trade adjustment assistance for workers in the Oval Office in 2011. (Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg News)

The Panama Papers’ detailed revelations of a massive international tax-haven scheme have snowballed this week into a fierce debate among Democrats over President Obama’s trade policies with the tiny Central American nation and again laid bare sharp divisions within the party over such agreements.

Trade critics lambasted the administration as failing to heed their prior warnings and win sufficient financial reforms from Panama before signing a landmark free-trade deal in 2011, missing a chance to disrupt the elaborate financial arrangements disclosed in a massive leak of private data last weekend.

But Obama aides and their allies responded forcefully Thursday, defending the U.S.-Panama trade pact as an instrument that the administration used to exert leverage and bring greater transparency to Panama’s shadowy offshore banking system.

Although trade deals do not typically address tax issues, U.S. officials said, the Obama administration won a separate agreement that gave financial regulators greater access to information on Panamanian bank accounts.

“We fought time and time again,” said Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-Mich.), who supported the trade deal, “and I was personally involved in making clear to the Panama government that no matter what else was in the free-trade agreement” it would not win support from Congress without additional transparency rules.

Consumer advocates who have fought U.S. trade policies said the administration and its allies are trying to claim credit for reforms in Panama without accepting responsibility for the revelations in the unfolding Panama Papers scandal about potentially widespread tax avoidance. High-ranking political leaders in a dozen countries have been implicated, and nearly 215,000 offshore shell companies and more than 14,000 people have been tied to the unfolding scandal.

“The Panama Papers just show once again how entirely cynical and meaningless are American presidents’ and corporate boosters’ lavish promises of economic benefits and policy reforms from trade agreements,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. The Panama free-trade deal’s “investor protections and official U.S. stamp of approval made it safer to send dirty money to Panama,” she said.

The debate highlighted the depths of antipathy toward trade agreements on the 2016 campaign trail, where candidates in both parties have responded to the economic anxiety of voters who have come to doubt the benefits of globalization.

The Obama administration has sought to use trade deals, including the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is awaiting congressional ratification, to win commitments from foreign partners on a host of issues including labor rights and environmental protections.

But opponents have denounced the concessions as paltry and difficult to enforce.

On Wednesday in Philadelphia, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, blasted the Panama trade deal and accused rival Hillary Clinton of not being “qualified” for the White House.

The Panama free-trade agreement was initially negotiated by the administration of President George W. Bush, but it stalled in Congress — along with separate trade pacts with South Korea and Colombia — amid concerns among lawmakers over various provisions.

In 2010, the Obama administration moved to resurrect the deals by obtaining additional provisions in each to win congressional support. Critics of the Panama deal had warned the administration about entering into an economic arrangement with a nation with a history of shady offshore tax shelters where large corporations and powerful foreign leaders allegedly stashed hundreds of millions of dollars.

Panama had refused since 2002 to sign a financial-transparency treaty known as a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) with the United States.

In a Senate floor speech on Oct. 12, 2011, ahead of a vote on the Panama trade deal, Sanders denounced the pact, highlighting Panama’s tax-shelter system and arguing that the free-trade agreement would “make a bad situation much worse” by barring the United States “from cracking down on illegal and abusive offshore tax havens.”

Later that day, Congress approved the Panama deal, along with the pacts with South Korea and Colombia, which also underwent changes negotiated by the Obama administration.

Supporters of the Panama trade deal said Thursday that critics, including Sanders, had misstated several key facts.

The Obama administration, with support from congressional Democrats, informed Panamanian negotiators that the deal would not move forward until they agreed to a separate provision binding them to sign and implement the unrelated TIEA treaty.

Such a move, according to administration officials, was virtually unprecedented, because free-trade deals do not typically address tax issues or monetary policy, normally the province of the Treasury Department.

“It’s a great sound bite, but the arguments don’t hold up,” said Miriam Sapiro, who served as deputy U.S. trade representative from 2009 to 2014.

Trade advocates suggested that Sanders, whose campaign posted a video of his 2011 floor speech on its website, was politicizing the issue. In recent weeks, Clinton has tried to tie herself closer to Obama’s policies on gun control and education, but she has attempted to move to the left on trade and announced her opposition to the Pacific Rim deal that she touted while serving as the nation’s top diplomat.

“Senator Sanders has it backwards,” Levin and his brother, former Democratic senator Carl Levin (Mich.), said in a statement Thursday. “We in Congress used the negotiations on the Panama [deal] as leverage.”

The agreement, they added, gives the Internal Revenue Service “critical tools to go after U.S. tax cheats who use Panama.”

But Wallach, the consumer advocate, said the Obama administration did not push hard enough. The financial-transparency treaty, she said, “requires someone in the U.S. to know what to ask for. It’s not like in Canada, where a financial transaction is automatically reported.”

She said that the trade talks were “a potential opportunity, and if Panama really wanted that opportunity, the administration should have said, ‘These are the things you must do if you really want it and your government is interested enough to change some of this.’ But they didn’t even ask those things.”

John Wagner in New York contributed to this report.
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Re: Panama Papers: Why Aren’t There More American Names?, by

Postby admin » Fri May 27, 2016 8:23 am

Excerpt from "Compromised: Clinton, Bush and the CIA: How the Presidency was Co-opted by the CIA"
by Terry Reed & John Cummings

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But I am curious, Mr. Johnson, what other money is there that can be diverted to Arkansas that will not come leaving trail?"

An interesting question. Just what other money might have been diverted through the Arkansas investment banking business will never be known because of Robert Johnson's efforts in aborting the then ongoing federal investigation in Little Rock. This was just the type of behavior that George Bush's Attorney-General, William Barr, was accused of by Congress during the ensuing BCCI scandal when the Justice Department contained its BCCI investigation to one area of the country, Tampa, Florida. [10] By not allowing the inquiry to expand where federal agents saw its tentacles reaching, BCCI's ties to intelligence was suppressed.

Gomez, even though Sawahata's question had not been directed to him, had an answer. He had extensive connections within Latin America that he had obtained either through bribes or previous operations.

"I can talk to my people in Panama," Gomez said. "I'm sure they would love to replace First American and become Arkansas' sugar daddy. They're always looking for good 'Third World' investment opportunities. Maybe they want to buy stock in Arkansas. I'm sure they will be interested, especially considering the capabilities that are in place thanks to Mr. Seal's and Terry's efforts."

"Excellent idea, Maximo," Cathey chimed in. "I'll go with you to see Noriega's people. If we're successful, Aki, you can brief Nash that there'll be a new 'investor' for Arkansas, which means he can begin curtailing his bond underwriting through First American. And Terry, for the record, exactly what capabilities are in place here as a result of Rose. Just what do we have to sell [to the new investors]?"

Terry, having the most direct knowledge of the "assets" in place in Arkansas during the past two years, then began his briefing on what they were. And they were substantial.

"Just about any high technology manufacturing expertise needed to produce high-quality, world-class weapons components up to .50-caliber at the present time," he said. There was metal-casting capability for both ferrous and non-ferrous materials. The company providing that service had a wide array of computerized modern design and testing equipment.

"We have non-destructive testing equipment, which includes X-ray, magnetic particle inspection, finite element analysis and state-of-the-art CAD (computer-assisted design) capability," Terry continued. "We also have a wide range of modern machining options to include computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine tools, plus metal-treatment and plating capabilities.

"In the electronics area, there is the sibling of the Albuquerque-based, military-approved facility located in Piggot, Arkansas, that has automated circuit board manufacturing and enclosure capability. As I understand it, they're making perfect copies of stinger circuit boards."

Terry had given a detailed explanation of the high-grade weapons manufacturing facilities that had been secretly put in place in Arkansas to support Operation Centaur Rose. He had described decentralized, modern manufacturing factories possessing in-house, computer-controlled capabilities to produce untraceable weapons parts or components.

This enabled the Enterprise to bypass the traditional arms suppliers who must document and serialize certain parts they produce. Without such controls, federal agents would have little way of discovering their manufacture.

The Agency had thought of nearly everything, including a method of secure transportation. "No paper, no trail," Seal had said in describing the operation to Terry.

Terry continued. "All of this combined with the secure waterway transportation system afforded by the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers, which are controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and I would say to a potential investor we've got a complete, turnkey weapons manufacturing capability for anything short of nuclear weapons." Terry smiled.

Cathey mused and said: "How do you know Clinton doesn't have that, too? It sounds like you've done too good of a job, Terry. Considering the nuclear reactors here that could breed fuel, we had better add Arkansas to the list of Third World countries that could produce a nuke."

So it was all in place -- weapons, transportation and the money to finance it all. But it had been jeopardized because of unprofessional behavior and greed.

Sawahata understood that the ability to handle "questionable" financial transactions would be the best selling point of all. "John, besides what Terry just explained, I think Noriega's people will be most attracted to money-laundering aspect. Under Bill Clinton's leadership, Arkansas has set in place permanent money-laundering industry concealed as their everyday municipal bond business. They do not care where funds come from. In fact, dirtier is better."

Regardless of the method used by the money-launderer, the common denominator is finding a bank or financial institution along with people in a position of power who are willing to break the law and not ask questions. Money laundering, by definition, involves co-mingling clean and dirty making both indistinguishable. Arkansas offered this environment under the umbrella of its cooperative bond business.

All that was lacking was a way of consistently and inconspicuously moving large amounts of money offshore to be deposited as collateral against loans generated for industrial development. Once this activity was underway, occasionally dirty money could be substituted by the Agency for clean money without drawing attention to it. *

One such case in point is the record of the Arkansas Development and Finance Authority (ADFA) depositing $50 million offshore with the Fuji Bank, Ltd., in the Cayman Islands on December 29, 1988. This was a very strange transaction indeed, for an organization chartered and founded on lending money for investment and development within Arkansas, not for moving large sums of funds offshore.

Fuji Bank's name reappears as being the bank that purchased the industrial development loan of POM Inc., the parking meter company in Russellville, Arkansas, owned and operated by the Ward family. Oddly, the underwriter, or issuer, of this loan was initially an out-of-state bank in Memphis, named First American, the same name as Clark Clifford's bank, First American Bancshares in Washington.

By purchasing the loan from First American Bank of Memphis, Tennessee, Fuji effectively retired the loan and the Ward family presumably continued making their payments directly to Fuji. This was curious behavior on behalf of POM since they were giving up a long-term, fixed rate, low interest loan issued by ADFA, which had a guarantor, the bank in Memphis, to back it up. Curious behavior, indeed, to forfeit a loan that has a co-signor, since this action would normally reduce a company's line of credit. Unless, of course, the objective was to move the loan offshore, where repayment ledgers are nearly impossible to attain. Webb Hubbell, Hillary Clinton's law partner, was POM's corporate attorney at the time.

ADFA, being a state authority, is not legally required to publicly divulge its records. And therefore, the millions of dollars that flow through the Arkansas agency's coffers can be shrouded in secrecy, just like the money that flowed offshore in the ADFA "investment" just cited. One possible reason the money was deposited in the Cayman Islands was to set up a laundering process similar to that provided by Panamanian banks.

Panama, then under the leadership of General Manuel Noriega, was the main country of choice for drug traffickers wanting to hide their money. But even safely in Panamanian banks, there was still the problem of moving the funds, particularly into the United States. But Arkansas offered its own version of what bankers' slang calls "the Dutch sandwich."

The Dutch sandwich is a method perfected in the Netherlands Antilles, a small group of Caribbean islands off South America, and is a legal tax avoidance maneuver in the Antilles. [11] There, funds, dirty in this case, remain offshore on deposit and are used only as collateral to back legitimate loans in the United States.

Legitimate loans are what Arkansas needed to underwrite industrial development bonds at low interest rates to attract business to the state. If Arkansas allowed the CIA to guarantee its loans by collateralizing its industrial bonds with dirty, off-shore money, the interest from the loan which is repaid in the form of clean money by the borrower, has in reality accomplished the goal of generating clean money from dirty money.

Arkansas, in effect, could become the "cooperating banker" in the equation. The owner of the dirty money would get back clean money from the stateside loan's interest. In this case, the stateside bank, a bank like First American, supplied the up-front cash through CIA sources.

This apparently was what Sawahata was referring to when he said "the dirtier, the better." Sawahata then continued: "I suppose if you have to launder money, it is very secure way even though there is risk, considering the fact that a high per cent of out-of-state businesses Arkansas recruits fail within the first few years of being transplanted. But, when it pays off, it pays off well ...you get back clean money plus tax-free interest and no one in Arkansas asks questions ...at least not at state auditor level. "

Sawahata noted that the state gets the high-risk venture capital it needs to grow and the investor can't complain when he loses his money in what appears to be the normal course of business. But to offset this risk, the "investor" could even attend the bankruptcy sale if a business failure occurred, and possibly buy back his undocumented, and hidden, assets wholesale.

Through possible combinations of laundering CIA money, either off-shore, domestically, or by direct infusion into the lending system, the Clinton administration had evidently developed an insatiable appetite for money that could only be compared to that of the plant from outer space in the movie "The Little Shop of Horrors" which continually said, "Feed me, feed me."

"So far," Sawahata continued, "they have gone through all Mena black money that started it all. Now, they are laundering First American's black ops' proceeds and we are going to help them attain Panama as client? What a deal for Arkansas! Money-launderer's nirvana!"
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