Follow the money
Tag Archives: Switzerland
Great story by Barron’s on Russian tax officials and cops involved in a 230 million USD scam. An intricate web of offshore companies is involved and several people died in “Russian” circumstances. The whistle blower who brought light in the case, Sergei Magnitsky, died in jail where he was interrogated by the same people he was accusing. Interestingly enough the same group of offshore company formation agents, GT Group, that the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported on are involved in the case. Latvian banks have again been used as in many other instances where major fraud and money laundering schemes have been pulled off.
Switzerland, Panama, Cyprus and many other offshore (like in the case of Switzerland, onshore countries sometimes provide the same level of non-transparency as proper, island-based, offshore havens) havens pop up in the news each time a dictator is overthrown or almost each time a criminal network is dismantled. Hidden wealth is almost always channeled through offshore havens that provide dictators and criminals with the the much needed secrecy and the possibility of recovering money even after revolutions such as the one in Egypt. A recent New York Times article points out that Hosni Mubarak’s wealth is also owned through companies in Panama and Cyprus. A chart published on this blog indicates why Panama is a country of choice for criminals and dictators alike to hide. It allows proxy representation so that, in most cases, it is impossible o track down the real beneficiary of a business. It also has a minimum of bilateral treaties when it comes to providing information on its companies. However, there is a possibility to start investigating Panamanian based companies starting from the ID’s Worldwide Company Data section. The following video explains how to start tracking down Panama based commercial entities: