Offshore companies used ‘in a game of hide and concealment’ after marriages break down Documents list luxury cars and yachts, lavish homes, and art collections Spouses face a costly battle to prove ownership of offshore assets in protracted divorce proceedings Christopher Williams had been waiting 90 minutes inside the office of a helicopter tour company on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, keeping a careful eye on the airport parking lot below.
Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell companies enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady.
The prime minister of Iceland has been accused of hiding millions of dollars of investments in his country's banks behind a secretive offshore company. Leaked documents show that Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson and his wife bought offshore company Wintris in 2007. He did not declare an interest in the company when entering parliament in 2009. He sold his 50% of Wintris to his wife for $1 (70p), eight months later. He says no rules were broken and his wife did not benefit financially.
Rights group Amnesty International has accused Qatar of using forced labour at a flagship World Cup 2022 stadium. Amnesty says workers at Khalifa International Stadium are forced to live in squalid accommodation, pay huge recruitment fees and have had wages withheld and passports confiscated. It also accuses Fifa of "failing almost completely" to stop the tournament being "built on human rights abuses". Qatar said it was "concerned" by the allegations and would investigate. The government said the welfare of migrant workers was a "top priority" and insisted it was committed to systematic reform of Qatar's labour laws.
There was little about the man walking through Heathrow Airport to show he held secrets that could bring down some of the most powerful men in Iraq.
Moustached, olive skinned, hair receding, eyes sharp. His name was Basil Al Jarah. His British passport showed he lived in Hull, an unremarkable town in the north of England, but it bore the stamps of a frequent traveller: London, Baghdad, Basra, Amman, Paris, Istanbul, Kuwait.
Basil Al Jarah was an oil industry fixer. But had authorities known his true business, they might have taken a far keener interest in the man waiting for a plane to Amman in 2011. Because by that stage, Al Jarah and his employer, a Monaco-based company called Unaoil, had cultivated an astonishing web of influence in the upper echelons of Iraqi power – all based on the simple expedient of bribing the right man at the right time.
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has taken four big whacks at the Affordable Care Act in as many years. But the conservative justices still don’t seem to understand how it works.
During oral arguments this week in Zubik v. Burwell — a set of seven challenges to Obamacare’s contraceptive-coverage mandate on behalf of religious nonprofits — Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues on the court’s conservative wing gave the impression that they don’t really grasp what the ACA’s health insurance exchanges do, or indeed how the market for health insurance itself even functions.
It started with the founding fathers. In America’s very first election, in 1788, the government officially barred all women, all people of color and any man without land from voting.
This was American democracy in the 18th century.
Almost 90 years later, the 15th amendment officially removed “race, color or history of servitude” as a barrier to the vote, but women remained wholly disenfranchised.
This was American democracy in the 19th century.
Then, 50 years after that, the 19th amendment gave women the right to vote, but poll taxes, literacy tests and other calculated means kept the unofficially disenfranchised from exercising their rights as citizens.
This was American democracy in the 20th century.
And now, what is American democracy in the 21st century?
There’s a known stench on Rikers Island in the New York summertime. Neither the people incarcerated there, nor the correction officers working there, can escape it. “The smell alone would torture you,” says Candie Hailey-Means, who was incarcerated at Rikers until May 2015. “It smells like sewer, mixed with fertilizer, mixed with death.”
One of the perpetrators of arguably Brazil’s most internationally high-profile murders in recent years is currently walking around free. In 2013, amid much media coverage, Lindonjonson Silva Rocha was sentenced to 42 years prison for killing two nut collectors-turned-environmental activists in southern Pará, but then in November last year he escaped.
One man who knew both victims, “Zé Cláudio” Ribeiro da Silva and his wife Maria do Espírito Santo, is Felipe Milanez, a political ecologist at the Federal University of Recôncavo of Bahia, activist, film-maker, former deputy editor of National Geographic Brazil, and the editor of the recently-published book, Memórias Sertanistas: Cem Anos de Indigenismo no Brasil. Here I interview Milanez, via email, about Zé Cláudio and the Brazilian Amazon:
Global banks will likely be subject to greater regulatory and law enforcement scrutiny following the release of leaked documents that shed light on shell companies and overseas tax havens.
Royal Bank of Canada was one financial institution named in millions of documents obtained from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm that helps create offshore tax havens, raising concerns related to account secrecy and the possibility of unsavoury tax avoidance.
How simple is it to start an anonymous shell corporation? Fusion investigative correspondent Natasha del Toro went to Delaware — famous for its corporate secrecy — to find out. Witness the birth of She Sells Sea Shells LLC, a business incorporated in five minutes for an anonymous beneficial owner — Natasha’s cat Suki. No ID necessary!
It was all in good fun, but it highlights the complications of tracking down financial wrongdoers who take advantage of business-friendly anonymous structures like Delaware’s. As Natasha’s investigative colleague, Catherine Dunn, writes:
" The interrogation room in which Iceland’s recent history was rewritten is sparse, furnished only with a table, some chairs, and a computer. A camera is fixed to the wall, and the frosted, double-glazed windows have completely blocked out the sound of the gale-force winds in Reykjavik’s Faxafloi Bay.
It was in this room that some of Iceland’s most powerful bankers, executives, and investors had to answer to special investigator Olaf Hauksson. A tall man with a heavy build, Haukkson has spent the past six years investigating the transactions that brought Iceland’s economy to its knees in October 2008."
Yet they take needed money from our 'Sick and Disabled' who live hand to mouth to begin with, who need to be able to stay warm, eat healthy or specialized diets and a cover a range of expenses that come along with been 'Sick and Disabled'. George Osborne and the Tories pushed through against expert advice, charities, disabled people telling them how dangerous and wrong it was; we have to STOP this from happening, please show your support and sign and share this petition and thank you for caring. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/124016
A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth. Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world's most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. They show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax. The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing. The documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, including dictators accused of looting their own countries.
More than 10,000 tonnes of illicit food and drink, including monkey meat, have been seized as part of the biggest-ever global crackdown on such goods. The three-month operation involved police forces in 57 countries, European police agency Europol said. The raids uncovered enough fake alcohol to fill 12,000 baths, including 10,000 litres of adulterated liquor in the UK. Italian officers found 85 tonnes of olives painted with copper sulphate to enhance their green colour. The Europol-Interpol initiative, now in its fifth year, yielded the largest-ever haul, running from November 2015 until February 2016.
The American engineering and construction firm KBR hired Unaoil — an obscure Monaco-based company now involved in a massive international bribery scandal — to help it win oil and gas contracts in Kazakhstan. KBR, which until 2007 was part of the oilfield services giant Halliburton, paid Unaoil millions of dollars from 2004 until at least 2009, according to thousands of internal documents obtained by The Huffington Post and Fairfax Media.
“Let the people decide” is the refrain of Republicans opposed to holding hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Merrick Garland, but they’re being bankrolled by an anonymous collection of billionaires—1 percenters so cowardly that they’re hiding behind tax laws to avoid revealing their identities. Case in point: the “Judicial Crisis Network,” the right-wing front organization doing ad buys across the country to oppose Judge Garland getting a hearing. JCN is one of many 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations on the right and the left, and C4s don’t have to disclose their donors.That is the major reason that political spending by C4s increased more than 8,000 percent between 2004 and 2012.
A high-ranking US Navy captain has been sentenced to nearly four years in jail for passing classified information to a Malaysian defence contractor. Daniel Dusek provided the information in exchange for luxury hotel stays and the services of prostitutes. Dusek was also ordered to pay a $70,000 (£50,000) fine and $30,000 in restitution to the navy. He is the highest-ranking officer to be charged in one of the US military's worst bribery scandals.
When Michigan can’t ensure safe drinking water in a major city and can’t figure out how to educate children in its biggest school district, it’s safe to say that our state’s vaunted “comeback” is incomplete — if we’re being generous.
But even beyond the Flint water crisis and Detroit Public Schools’ myriad woes, cracks in Gov. Rick Snyder’s “comeback” claim have started to show.
U.S. census data released in December painted a sobering picture. In the last five years, three-quarters of Michigan cities and villages have had median income declines. Two-thirds of municipalities saw an increase in the share of people living in poverty.
It gets worse. There’s been a 17 percent increase in poverty statewide. Now more than one in six people are poor. And Michigan’s median household income was $49,087 per year, down 8.7 percent adjusted for inflation.
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