October 17, 2021

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Despite the growing fuss about tax evasion, there is still a lot that can be done for the wealthy

Despite the growing fuss about tax evasion, there is still a lot that can be done for the wealthy

Elton John also appears in Pandora Papers.Environmental Protection Agency’s photo

In addition to CDA leader Wopke Hoekstra and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the presidents of Kenya, Ecuador, Ukraine, Jordan’s King Abdullah and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis are also mentioned. The latter, often criticizing the financial misconduct of the elite, turns out to have bought a castle on the French Riviera through mailbox companies. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, often accused of corruption, has sold a luxury office and retail property to the British Crown.

Moreover, Putin’s mistress, a Neapolitan gangster, rogue art dealer and international stars like Shakira, Elton John and Claudia Schiffer appear in the newspapers. Moral of the story: Despite the growing interest and hype around overseas tax avoidance scams, there is still plenty that can be done for the rich, famous and/or road savages of the world.

under the radar

Tax structures, across tax havens that may or may not be tropical – as well as less sunny places like the Netherlands, South Dakota and the UK do what they can – help the wealthy stay under the radar. This is exactly what politicians often wish, for example to be able to maintain their public disguise of the man of the people. The French castle bought by the Czech Prime Minister Babis is hidden in three mailbox companies, in the Virgin Islands, in the United States and Monaco, where he himself is only indirectly involved. He did not respond to questions from three ICIJ investigative journalists. However, their press accreditation was revoked.

It turns out that the mysterious leaders of non-democratic countries are still able to make good use of the elegant structures of the Western world. For example, Azerbaijani President Aliyev has been able to trade more than half a billion in real estate in London over the past 15 years, including with the Crown Estate, a government fund officially subordinate to the Queen. This is despite the fact that British law requires investigations into possible money laundering in such transactions.

Alijiev, who has been repeatedly accused of corruption and human rights abuses in recent years, appears to have done business across the British Virgin Islands and thus has remained behind the scenes himself. A property he bought for £35.5m in 2009 went to Crown ownership for £66.5m in 2015.

Money laundering

“Reselling properties that were originally purchased with dirty money completes the money laundering process,” said financial researcher Dylan Kennedy. Watchman. It generates a new paper trail that gives the proceeds a legitimate source. In this case, with such a dubious origin of money, the sale of the crown is the height of legality. In other words: you can’t wash away the detergent.

A spokesperson for Crown Estate said it will now investigate the transactions following the disclosures in Pandora’s Papers Watchman I know. Before purchasing the building, we performed the checks required by law. At that time there was no reason to abandon the deal. Given the concerns that arose, we will now take a closer look at the matter.

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