Wealth International, Limited

Offshore News Digest for Week of April 30, 2001


CELL PHONES TO HAVE LOCATION-TRACKING BY 2005

By 2005, the government will be able to track you down through your cell phone.

Cell-phone manufacturers are under a federal mandate to equip mobiles with location-tracking technology beginning this October. By 2005, 95 percent of all cell phones must be able to be traced with an accuracy of about 1,000 feet or better.

While such phones could be lifesavers in an emergency, the order from the Federal Communications Commission has raised serious questions about invasion of privacy.

"For most people, itís a very scary proposition that the government can use not only your mobile phone but your Palm Pilots ... and any other mobile device to track your every movement," said attorney Albert Gidari, of the Perkins and Coie law firm in Seattle.

Making mobile phones capable of tracking users' locations will involve planting GPS chips in the handsets or installing new infrastructure in cell sites.

Cellular providers plan commercial uses for the technology, such as getting directions if someone is lost, finding nearby restaurants or locating family members and friends who have gotten separated in a crowd.

"Wireless operators already know where consumers are by virtue of the fact that the phone is on," pointed out Ken Arneson, the chief strategy officer at Telecommunication Systems, a provider of the location-tracking technology. "Whatís different here is that now carriers are looking to commercialize that and need to do that to offset the cost of putting this technology in place."

More on this story here.

SENATE PASSES POLICE EAVESDROPPING MEASURE

The Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that would reverse the effects of a court ruling that has barred police from recording conversations by electronic surveillance without a search warrant.

The measure, SB654, now goes to the House.

The Oregon Supreme Court in December ruled that state laws on eavesdropping require police to get a warrant before using so-called body wires to listen to or record conversations.

The tactic most often is used in drug cases. Police say the restriction is a burden because they don't always have time to get warrants as those cases develop.

The bill would revise eavesdropping laws to allow warrantless recordings when officers have "probable cause" to believe a drug crime or prostitution was being committed, or that another felony was being committed and that the immediate circumstances made it unreasonable to obtain a court order.

Sen. John Minnis, R-Wood Village, a Portland police detective, said the bill would make officers violating the law subject to misdemeanor charges, with penalties of up to a year in jail for convictions.

More on this story here.

RIGHTS GROUP SLAMS PLANS FOR DNA DATABASE

A politician's suggestion to take mandatory DNA samples from Australians at birth was described as police state tactics by a civil libertarian today.

Federal Liberal MP Peter Lindsay has called for mandatory DNA samples to be taken from all Australians, starting with newborn babies, to further empower law enforcement agencies in view of the growing incidence of crime in Australia.

Providing a DNA sample should also be a condition of entry to the country, he said.

However, Australian Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman criticised the proposal.

"Nowhere else in the world does any government, even dictatorships, have a system where DNA is collected at birth, blood is taken from you compulsorily at birth and handed over to the police," he told ABC Radio.

"If that isn't police state tactics then I don't know what is."

Senior law enforcement officers have strongly supported Mr. Lindsay's position.

New DNA database legislation passed through the Senate last month allowing for the collection and storage of electronic profiles from DNA samples to be added to the Commonwealth's CrimTrac national database system.

More on this story here.

BEHIND BLUEEYES

Most of us hardly notice the surveillance cameras watching over the grocery store or the bank. But lately those lenses have been looking for far more than shoplifters.

Engineers at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CA, report that a number of large retailers have implemented surveillance systems that record and interpret customer movements, using software from Almaden's BlueEyes research project. BlueEyes is developing ways for computers to anticipate users' wants by gathering video data on eye movement and facial expression. Your gaze might rest on a Web site heading, for example, and that would prompt your computer to find similar links and to call them up in a new window. But the first practical use for the research turns out to be snooping on shoppers.

BlueEyes software makes sense of what the cameras see to answer key questions for retailers, including, How many shoppers ignored a promotion? How many stopped? How long did they stay? Did their faces register boredom or delight? How many reached for the item and put it in their shopping carts? BlueEyes works by tracking pupil, eyebrow and mouth movement. When monitoring pupils, the system uses a camera and two infrared light sources placed inside the product display. One light source is aligned with the camera's focus; the other is slightly off axis. When the eye looks into the camera-aligned light, the pupil appears bright to the sensor, and the software registers the customer's attention.

BlueEyes has set off warning bells at the American Civil Liberties Union. "Soon you won't only be able to capture how many people stopped by, but who they were," says Barry Steinhardt, associate director of the ACLU. "Once identity is established it will be cross-referenced to capture that person's income and buying preferences. It's only a matter of time." Not surprisingly, IBM's retail customers unanimously requested that the firm not reveal their names to the press, or the locations where BlueEyes has been implemented.

More on this story here.

EUROPE -- E.U. UBER ALLES

GERMANY wants a European Union super state. Brits say NO!

More on this story here and here.

SWISS BANKS PRESSURED

BERNE. Swiss banks face more pressure to grill wealthy clients and even to report cash transfers among banks.

More on this story here.

U.S. INVADES LUXEMBOURG

A survey here shows 20% of the US$1.2 trillion mutual fund sector is now controlled by US investment firms with the US share valued at $240bn, up 50% from last year's $160bn.

More on this story here.

MALTAíS RETIREMENT TAX TEASERS

VALETTA. The laws on this pleasant island create a beneficial tax haven for those seeking retirement in the sun.

More on this story here.

CYPRUS CITIZENS UNHAPPY

NICOSIA. As government raises taxes, locals are not happy.

More on this story here and here.

GUERNSEY ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING

ST. HELIER. Details of this Channel Island's tough new laws.

More on this story here.

MANX MONEY MANAGER SQUEALS

DOUGLAS, Isle of Man. Peter Bond, the multi-millionaire chairman of VALMET, agrees to testify under immunity against clients in a series of high level US fraud and money laundering cases.

More on this story here.

THE AMERICAS:

One of the CAYMAN ISLANDS' leading attorneys puts the OECD and FATF in their well deserved place. Enough already!

More on this story here.

The newly elected ST VINCENT & the GRENADINES government announces plans to beef up its Offshore Finance Authority.

More on this story here.

DOMINICA means more than just second passports and offshore dual citizenship.

More on this story here.

The U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS compared to the BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS as an asset and tax haven, here and here.

MEXICO's new dual citizenship law so far is used very little.

More on this story here.

EXPATRIATES' REAL WORLD

This survey describes what expats and their families face abroad.

More on this story here.

WILL THERE ALWAYS BE AN ENGLAND?

If you are a UK taxpayer suffering under Labour, every pence you earn until June 10 this year goes to pay Tony Blair's ravenous tax take.

More on this story here.

Not to be outdone in madness, British Labour now wants to impose a tax on each and every UK based international financial transaction.

More on this story here.

But if you are a foreign citizen living in the UK, here's how you can use offshore planning to escape almost all British taxes.

More on this story here.

A British barrister's stiff upper lip view of where the offshore world now stands.

More on this story here.

PAY TAX OR CONSEQUENCES

The Chicago Tribune tells Yanks what to expect if you're caught offshore without reporting income or paying your taxes to the IRS.

More on this story here.

TUNE UP YOUR U.S. ESTATE PLAN

Don't wait for possible US estate tax changes, plan now and save.

More on this story here.

MONEY LAUNDERING:

Surprise! The International Monetary Fund is against it.

More on this story here.

Russia finally, officially opposes dirty money. Moscow wants to get off that FATF blacklist.

More on this story here.

HALF A WORLD AWAY

HAMILTON. Southern Cross Cable Network owns the 30,500km fiber optic cable linking New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Hawaii and the US. But tax freedom offshore dictates the company locate in BERMUDA.

More on this story here.

A.C.L.U. TARGETS FORFEITURE

NEW YORK. Saying civil asset forfeiture laws give US police a license to steal, the American Civil Liberties Union launches a new attack against law enforcement abuse.

More on this story here.

INSIDE THE N.S.A.

A new book tries to bare all at the US National Security Agency.

More on this story here.

TONY BLAIR'S POLICE STATE GROWS

LONDON. British police continue their push for a global "data trap" of all communications that pass through the country.

More on this story here.

The UK police demand secret wiretaps be admissible as evidence of crime. Their excuse? Fight organized crime!

More on this story here.

TALK ABOUT GOVERNMENT I.D.s!

MOSCOW. Only 1/6 of the population has swapped its red hammer-and sickle internal passports for new 'democratic' ones.

More on this story here.

I.R.S. - PROTECTOR OF THE PEOPLE?

WASHINGTON. Have the US tax collectors become a bastion of privacy protection for taxpayers? NOT!

More on this story here.

PLAN TO HIDE

Scientists are working to make you anonymous on the Net.

More on this story here.

BAHAMAS REVOKES HALF OF ALL BANK CHARTERS

NASSAU. As the government continues its reform rampage, more than half of the 124 registered banks in The Bahamas are expected to have their charters revoked by the end of the year.

More on this story here.

Meanwhile, the government begs for FATF approval.

More on this story here.

ONGOING £60m CAYMANS BANK TAX SCANDAL5

DUBLIN. Irish tax authorities vow to pursue a possible 500 Irish account holders at the Ansbacher Bank Caymans.

More on this story here and here.

FRENCH ARREST LUXEMBOURG INSURERS

A US-owned insurance company in Luxembourg is accused of aiding alleged French tax evaders. Managers arrested.

More on this story here, here, and here.

ARGENTINA IN FINANCIAL CRISIS

BUENOS AIRES. A US Senate Democrat's offshore money laundering accusations contribute to the nation's crisis.

More on this story here.

SHANGHAI NO THREAT TO HONG KONG

A first for us - we quote from the China Peoples Daily.

More on this story here.

TENOR'S TAX TRIAL

MODENA, Italy. Luciano PAVAROTTI is accused of evading more than 40bn lira (US$20m) of taxes. He claims he lives in MONACO. Italian tax hounds say he lives in ITALY and he owes them.

More on this story here and here.

OFFICIAL U.S. TAXPATRIATES LISTS

The term "taxpatriate," a US citizen who renounces citizenship in order to avoid payment of taxes, may have been invented by Forbes magazine.

More on this story here.

By law the IRS publishes quarterly lists of those who abandon US citizenship for any reason. For names and interesting articles on this subject go, here.


LOWEST SWISS TAXES

ZUG. Clinton pardoned Marc RICH lives there in exile; Canton Zug has long been famous for having the lowest taxes in Switzerland.

More on this story here.

REVERSAL OF FORTUNES

American investment banks are buying up Japan Inc. bargains.

More on this story here.

RUSSIA'S MIGHTY MONEY MESS

Money laundering is a venerable Russian tradition, so ingrained that a real clean up looks doubtful any time soon. Interesting insights, here.


ANGLO GOLD EXPANSION

JOHANNESBURG. The world's 2nd largest gold producer is expanding activity in both South Africa and the USA.

More on this story here.

OFFSHORE COMPARISONS

Global living options; immigration, residence, work permits.

More on this story here.

Comparative tax burdens for expats living or working in 66 countries.

More on this story here.

NON-EXTRADICTABLE ROBBER RETURNS?

After 35 years on the run, an ill Ronnie BIGGS is asking British Police to let him come home to the UK. The Great Train Robber's surrender would end an extraordinary period in which he has beaten every UK attempt to extradite him from BRAZIL where he lives.

More on this story here.

Could YOU be extradited from abroad by the USA police? Find out at here.


OECD Shenanigans

A UK lawyer provides an excellent possible scenario for what may be the offshore future. (It's not too bad!)

More on this story here.

International tax attorney Bruce Zagaris rips the camouflage off the OECD so-called "harmful tax competition" drive.

More on this story here.

Amity Shales tells us why tax havens shelter everyone.

More on this story here.

But her Financial Times colleague says: Sell out to the OECD.

More on this story here.

Reason magazine vigorously takes on "The Tax Haven Haters."

More on this story here.

The American Spectator roundly denounces "The Taxman's Union."

More on this story here.

Richard Rahn explains why we are not friends of tax evaders.

More on this story here.

Pacific tax haven nations stand up to the OECD.

More on this story here and here.

A false, OECD planted story?

More on this story here.
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