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How Russian Style Kleptocracy Conquered America

I remember this period. The Americans and European wealthy so envied the New Russians. (the gangsters) "Crime That Pays Is Crime That Stays" (modern proverb) ... ... "But Palmer had seen up close how the world’s growing interconnectedness—and global finance in particular—could be deployed for ill. During the Cold War, the KGB had developed an expert understanding of the banking byways of the West, and spymasters had become adept at dispensing cash to agents abroad. That proficiency facilitated the amassing of new fortunes. In the dying days of the U.S.S.R., Palmer had watched as his old adversaries in Soviet intelligence shoveled billions from the state treasury into private accounts across Europe and the U.S. It was one of history’s greatest heists. Washington told itself a comforting story that minimized the importance of this outbreak of kleptomania: These were criminal outliers and rogue profiteers rushing to exploit the weakness of the new state. This narrative infuriated Palmer. He wanted to shake Congress into recognizing that the thieves were the very elites who presided over every corner of the system. “For the U.S. to be like Russia is today,” he explained to the House committee, “it would be necessary to have massive corruption by the majority of the members at Congress as well as by the Departments of Justice and Treasury, and agents of the FBI, CIA, DIA, IRS, Marshal Service, Border Patrol; state and local police officers; the Federal Reserve Bank; Supreme Court justices …” In his testimony, Palmer even mentioned Russia’s newly installed and little-known prime minister (whom he mistakenly referred to as Boris Putin), accusing him of “helping to loot Russia." "The United States, Palmer made clear, had allowed itself to become an accomplice in this plunder. His assessment was unsparing. The West could have turned away this stolen cash; it could have stanched the outflow to shell companies and tax havens. Instead, Western banks waved Russian loot into their vaults. Palmer’s anger was intended to provoke a bout of introspection—and to fuel anxiety about the risk that rising kleptocracy posed to the West itself. After all, the Russians would have a strong interest in protecting their relocated assets. They would want to shield this wealth from moralizing American politicians who might clamor to seize it. Eighteen years before Special Counsel Robert Mueller began his investigation into foreign interference in a U.S. election, Palmer warned Congress about Russian “political donations to U.S. politicians and political parties to obtain influence.” What was at stake could well be systemic contagion: Russian values might infect and then weaken the moral defense systems of American politics and business. This unillusioned spook was a prophet, and he spoke out at a hinge moment in the history of global corruption. America could not afford to delude itself into assuming that it would serve as the virtuous model, much less emerge as an untainted bystander. Yet when Yegor Gaidar, a reformist Russian prime minister in the earliest postcommunist days, asked the United States for help hunting down the billions that the KGB had carted away, the White House refused. “Capital flight is capital flight” was how one former CIA official summed up the American rationale for idly standing by. But this was capital flight on an unprecedented scale, and mere prologue to an era of rampant theft. When the Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman studied the problem in 2015, he found that 52 percent of Russia’s wealth resided outside the country. The collapse of communism in the other post-Soviet states, along with China’s turn toward capitalism, only added to the kleptocratic fortunes that were hustled abroad for secret safekeeping. Officials around the world have always looted their countries’ coffers and accumulated bribes. But the globalization of banking made the export of their ill-gotten money far more convenient than it had been—which, of course, inspired more theft. By one estimate, more than $1 trillion now exits the world’s developing countries each year in the forms of laundered money and evaded taxes. As in the Russian case, much of this plundered wealth finds its way to the United States. New York, Los Angeles, and Miami have joined London as the world’s most desired destinations for laundered money. This boom has enriched the American elites who have enabled it—and it has degraded the nation’s political and social mores in the process. While everyone else was heralding an emergent globalist world that would take on the best values of America, Palmer had glimpsed the dire risk of the opposite: that the values of the kleptocrats would become America’s own. This grim vision is now nearing fruition."

How Britain's Bankers Made Billions From The End Of Empire | Timeline

"to this day, the City of London is exempt from many laws that govern the rest of England" Some people surmise that he City of London has an immense power that is able to assert itself all over the world, contrary to the wishes of the people of England. (re: BCCI scndal) Within seven years the BCCI grew to become the seventh largest bank in Europe. Numerous whistleblowers within BBCI had notifued the Bank of England, however they intentionally failed to act.

Inside the Secretive World of Tax-Avoidance Experts (OffshoreAlert)

(Brooke Harrington) A behind-the-scenes, eye-witness account of the international wealth management profession from a sociologist who has spent the last eight years researching it, during which time she trained to become a wealth manager and visited 18 offshore jurisdictions.

How the rich get richer – money in the world economy | DW Documentary

Exploding real estate prices, zero interest rate and a rising stock market – the rich are getting richer. What danger lies in wait for average citizens? For years, the world’s central banks have been pursuing a policy of cheap money. The first and foremost is the ECB (European Central Bank), which buys bad stocks and bonds to save banks, tries to fuel economic growth and props up states that are in debt. But what relieves state budgets to the tune of hundreds of billions annoys savers: interest rates are close to zero. The fiscal policies of the central banks are causing an uncontrolled global deluge of money. Experts are warning of new bubbles. In real estate, for example: it’s not just in German cities that prices are shooting up. In London, a one-bed apartment can easily cost more than a million Euro. More and more money is moving away from the real economy and into the speculative field. Highly complex financial bets are taking place in the global casino - gambling without checks and balances. The winners are set from the start: in Germany and around the world, the rich just get richer. Professor Max Otte says: "This flood of money has caused a dangerous redistribution. Those who have, get more." But with low interest rates, any money in savings accounts just melts away. Those with debts can be happy. But big companies that want to swallow up others are also happy: they can borrow cheap money for their acquisitions. Coupled with the liberalization of the financial markets, money deals have become detached from the real economy. But it’s not just the banks that need a constant source of new, cheap money today. So do states. They need it to keep a grip on their mountains of debt. It’s a kind of snowball system. What happens to our money? Is a new crisis looming? The film 'The Money Deluge' casts a new and surprising light on our money in these times of zero interest rates.

Uncovering Offshore Financial Centers: Conduits and Sinks in the Global Corporate Ownership Network

"Multinational corporations use highly complex structures of parents and subsidiaries to organize their operations and ownership. Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs) facilitate these structures through low taxation and lenient regulation, but are increasingly under scrutiny, for instance for enabling tax avoidance. Therefore, the identification of OFC jurisdictions has become a politicized and contested issue. We introduce a novel data-driven approach for identifying OFCs based on the global corporate ownership network, in which over 98 million firms (nodes) are connected through 71 million ownership relations. This granular firm-level network data uniquely allows identifying both sink-OFCs and conduit-OFCs. Sink-OFCs attract and retain foreign capital while conduit-OFCs are attractive intermediate destinations in the routing of international investments and enable the transfer of capital without taxation. We identify 24 sink-OFCs. In addition, a small set of five countries – the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland – canalize the majority of corporate offshore investment as conduit-OFCs. Each conduit jurisdiction is specialized in a geographical area and there is significant specialization based on industrial sectors. Against the idea of OFCs as exotic small islands that cannot be regulated, we show that many sink and conduit-OFCs are highly developed countries."

Talking Disputes | The Argentina - Financial Services Dispute

This video shows how convoluted and technical the GATS is. This is not the kind of logic people want hijacking essential services like health insurance. Once its sold you can't give healthcare away. Its like a noose getting tighter and tighter. These deals are being snuck in under the radar, and a hell of a lot of people have been tricked by these tricks and also have died because of these tricks. And it ISN'T over. The carnage is just beginning.

Exploring the Role Delaware Plays as a Domestic Tax Haven (2011)

Scott D. Dyreng Duke University scott.dyreng@duke.edu Bradley P. Lindsey College of William & Mary bradley.lindsey@mason.wm.edu Jacob R. Thornock University of Washington thornocj@uw.edu "We examine how corporate tax avoidance incentives play an incremental role in explaining why firms organize subsidiaries in the state of Delaware. We also quantify the extent to which Delaware-based subsidiaries reduce corporate effective tax rates. Findings suggest that firms are more likely to have subsidiaries in Delaware if they also have subsidiaries in other states with tax rules conducive to a common tax avoidance strategy involving Delaware corporations. This empirical result suggests that taxes influence the decision to organize subsidiaries in Delaware incremental to legal and/or governance factors. In addition, the tax benefits of incorporating and operating subsidiaries in the state of Delaware are economically meaningful. For a typical firm, we document a reduction in the state effective tax rate of approximately two percentage points. This represents a reduction in state taxes of nearly 50 percent of the average state effective tax rate of 4.6 percent."

Odious Debt (IMF)

"Similarly, Anastasio Somoza was reported to have looted $100-500 million from Nicaragua by the time he was overthrown in 1979. Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega told the United Nations General Assembly that his government would repudiate Somoza's debt, but reconsidered when his country's allies in Cuba advised him that doing so would unwisely alienate Nicaragua from Western capitalist countries. Some countries have attempted to confiscate and restitute funds that an ex-ruler salted away abroad, but with mixed results. For example, Nigeria recently recouped money from Sani Abacha's family, but the Philippines has little to show for its protracted campaign to repatriate Ferdinand Marcos's fortune. Moreover, any money that has been squandered is gone forever."