Tag Archives: Tax Evasion

How tax evasion funds the Mercer-Bannon alt-right

So have you been reading about the “Paradise Papers” this week? Paradise Papers Shine Light on Where the Elite Keep Their Money:

It’s called the Paradise Papers: the latest in a series of leaks made public by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shedding light on the trillions of dollars that move through offshore tax havens.

The core of the leak, totaling more than 13.4 million documents, focuses on the Bermudan law firm Appleby, a 119-year old company that caters to blue chip corporations and very wealthy people. Appleby helps clients reduce their tax burden; obscure their ownership of assets like companies, private aircraft, real estate and yachts; and set up huge offshore trusts that in some cases hold billions of dollars.

The New York Times is part of the group of more than 380 journalists from over 90 media organizations in 67 countries that have spent months examining the latest set of documents.

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As with the Panama Papers, the Paradise Papers leak came through a duo of reporters at the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and was then shared with I.C.I.J., a Washington-based group that won the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the millions of records of a Panamanian law firm.

This week, The New York Times is publishing articles on the Paradise Papers that were reported in cooperation with our I.C.I.J. partners. Here is a roundup of the stories that have already been made public.

• Behind one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investors, Yuri Milner, was hundreds of millions of dollars in Kremlin funding. The documents show that Mr. Milner’s investment in Twitter relied on money from VTB bank, controlled by the Russian state. One of his most significant investors in Facebook relied on funding from Gazprom Investholding, another government-controlled institution. Mr. Milner is also an investor in Cadre, a New York-based real estate technology company founded by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser.

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Trump-Putin campaign investigation developments

While you were distracted by the end of summer Labor Day weekend, a couple of new important developments in the Trump-Putin campaign investigation occurred.

First, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has enlisted an elite investigative unit of the IRS in his investigation. Exclusive: Mueller Enlists the IRS for His Trump-Russia Investigation:

Special counsel Bob Mueller has teamed up with the IRS. According to sources familiar with his investigation into alleged Russian election interference, his probe has enlisted the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit.

This unit—known as CI—is one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities. Its 2,500 agents focus exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. A former colleague of Mueller’s said he always liked working with IRS’ special agents, especially when he was a U.S. Attorney.

And it goes without saying that the IRS has access to Trump’s tax returns—documents that the president has long resisted releasing to the public.

Potential financial crimes are a central part of Mueller’s probe. One of his top deputies, Andy Weissmann, formerly helmed the Justice Department’s Enron probe and has extensive experience working with investigative agents from the IRS.

Martin Sheil, a retired IRS Criminal Investigations agent, said “When CI brings a case to a U.S. Attorney, it is done. It’s wrapped up with a ribbon and a bow. It’s just comprehensive.”

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New Study: tax evasion by wealthy plutocrat tax cheats

Tea-Publicans are the lickspittle servants of the wealthy plutocrats, sometimes referred to as “the 1%” (or more accurately, the top .01%).  This is why Tea-Publicans are always pursuing tax cuts that redistribute what little wealth the “have nots” possess upwards to the “haves” at the top, for whom “having it all” is their ultimate dream.

But why should Americans give any tax cuts (actually tax expenditures for which government borrowing is required to cover the loss of tax revenue) to wealthy plutocrats when they are already cheating on their taxes by engaging in criminal tax evasion? Why reward them for criminal behavior?

A new study is reported in the Washington Post this morning. First, We now know who cheats on their taxes. (Hint: it’s not the poor or middle class.)

Social scientists find it hard to study many important questions because they don’t have good data: Tax evasion is one of those questions. For obvious reasons, tax cheats don’t have any desire to announce themselves in public. Nor is it easy to study tax evasion based on the people who get caught; they may not be representative. This means that the recent spate of leaks has been a gold mine for scholars interested in the causes and consequences of tax evasion. A new paper by Annette Alstadsaeter, Niels Johannesen and Gabriel Zucman uses these new data sources to come to a stark conclusion: Rich people are much more likely to cheat on their taxes than poor or middle class people.

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ICIJ releases a searchable data base of ‘The Panama Papers’

PanamaCityThe International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that released the report  “The Panama Papers” (Getty images, Panama City) last month, a leak of financial data of companies and individuals using  tax havens to evade payment of taxes in their countries, How Reporters Pulled Off the Panama Papers, the Biggest Leak in Whistleblower History (“The leak includes more than 4.8 million emails, 3 million database files, and 2.1 million PDFs from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca that, according to analysis of the leaked documents, appears to specialize in creating shell companies that its clients have used to hide their assets”), has now released a searchable data base of those records. ICIJ releases database revealing thousands of secret offshore companies:

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists publishes today a searchable database that strips away the secrecy of nearly 214,000 offshore entities created in 21 jurisdictions, from Nevada to Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands.

The data, part of the Panama Papers investigation, is the largest ever release of information about offshore companies and the people behind them. This includes, when available, the names of the real owners of those opaque structures.

The database also displays information about more than 100,000 additional offshore entities ICIJ had already disclosed in its 2013 Offshore Leaks investigation.

ICIJ is publishing the information in the public interest.

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