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FATF BLACKLIST UPDATE DUE
PARIS. The Financial Action Task Force, OECD's puppet, will update its so-called "blacklist" of allegedly dirty money tolerant nations in one week. Our sources say at least PANAMA will get off the list.More on this story here.
ZURICH. Tuesday. The head of the Swiss anti-money laundering reporting office says Swiss bank secrecy is not a problem.More on this story here.
BERN. Wednesday. Parliament members attack the Swiss anti-ML agency's efforts as weak and not enough.More on this story here.
GENEVA. Thursday. The head of the Swiss government's financial crime office abruptly resigns over disagreements about his role.More on this story here and here.
IRISH TAX EVASION
DUBLIN. The head tax collector says Irishmen who used the Caymans Ansbacher Bank to avoid taxes are only "the tip of the iceberg."More on this story here.
JERSEY ASSETS MOUNT
St. HELIER. 1 Jan. to 31 March, 2001: funds under management: £94.8 billion; bank deposits; £122 billion. Way up!More on this story here.
And there's a change in Channel Islands relations in London.More on this story here.
MANX IBCs DROP 40%
DOUGLAS, Isle of Man. Since 1995 there's been a sharp decline in the number of tax exempt company formations of about 40%.More on this story here.
BUDAPEST. Favorable tax treatment of companies doing business offshore and of holding companies makes low tax Hungary attractive.More on this story here.
GENEVA. At a WTO meeting 6 Caribbean nations tell the OECD what they think of its bullying tactics.More on this story here.
COOK ISLANDS DEFENSE
The Pacific tax haven continues to defend against OECD charges.More on this story here.
A summary of where the CIs stand now with the OECD & FATF.More on this story here.
MARC HARRIS CLIENTS GUILTY
MIAMI. Two Marc Harris clients have been found guilty of tax evasion based on structures the Panama based Harris group set up for them. The two are cooperating with further government investigations.More on this story here.
DIGITAL CASH STRUGGLES ON
It's not dead, but it it isn't very lively either.More on this story here.
EURO TALK POUNDS POUND
LONDON. The Bank of England warns against talking down the pound to join the euro as a startling jump in inflation occurs.More on this story here.
EURO IS FOR SUCKERS
After a year of weak trading, currency experts say the euro is still a sucker's bet.More on this story here.
OFFSHORE REAL ESTATE INVESTING
LowTax Net tells you all about it.More on this story here.
U.S.A. The IRS wants to inform on foreign citizens who invest in America. The Free Congress Foundation explains why not.More on this story here.
Is the US estate tax "repeal" real? Maybe not!More on this story here and here.
CANADA: Since 1961 taxes of an average Canadian family have increased 1,351%, says the Frazer Institute.More on this story here.
SOUTH AFRICA. RSA capital gains taxes are a big threat.More on this story here.
AUSTRALIA: The Government cracks down on offshore tax shelters,More on this story here.
But as the Aussie economy drops, offshore investments grow.More on this story here.
MORE OFFSHORE NET FRAUD
Promised returns of US$5 million for a $35,000 initial investment, 150 gullible folks invest a total of $14 million and lose it all.More on this story here.
PARIS: French police jail officials of one of the world's largest insurance companies. Why? The French don't need a reason, but suspicion of money laundering will do for now.More on this story here and here and here.
ASIA: Dirty money is a way of life in the Asian subcontinent.More on this story here.
NEVIS. Anti-ML conference highlights the island's new clean money laws.More on this story here.
U.S. SUPREME COURT LIMITS SEARCHES
The US Supreme Court rules that police violate the Constitution by using a heat sensing device (and many other devices) to peer inside a home without a search warrant.More on this story here.
OUT DAMNED CARNIVORE!
The courageous Rep. Dick ARMEY, Majority Leader of the US House of Representatives, demands the Atty. Gen. kill the spying beast CARNIVORE, once and for all.More on this story here.
INVASION OF PRIVACY -- WHY PERSONAL SECRETS ARE NO MORE
In digital age, information can be a matter of life and death, Amy Boyer was being tracked. The beautiful young girl was soon to graduate from college. Not yet 21, Amy was still living at home with her family, whom she loved greatly. She and her boyfriend were planning to purchase a home and begin the next stage of their life together. A hard worker, she held two part-time jobs while she attended school. With many friends and a loving family, she had no reason to think she had any enemies.
Liam Youens was a young man who had gone to school with Amy. From at least the 10th grade, he had been obsessed with her. Eventually, he began a Web page to chronicle the ways in which he watched her. He discussed how he planned to kill her, her family and then himself. But he had difficulty keeping tabs on Amy. He had dropped out of college after a year and was living at home, which afforded him limited use of a car. Amy often wasn't home when he was driving by to spy on her - she was probably working - and Youens needed to find out where she was if he was going to carry out his plan.
He was able to find Amy because she was being tracked - just as we all are. Youens simply needed to know who could pull together the information available in public documents and elsewhere. Using the Internet, he paid for several public-record searches for personal information about Amy. He then obtained her Social Security number from Docusearch.com, a private investigation agency in Boca Raton, Fla. Finally, he paid $109 to get the address of Amy's workplace.
At 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15, 1999, Amy left her job at a dental office. As she was getting into her car, Youens pulled up, jumped from his vehicle and fired 15 shots into her. Her injuries included a fatal head wound. Youens used the 16th bullet to shoot himself in the head.
Amy Boyer was unique in many ways, but her vulnerability was anything but atypical. There was nothing about her that made her especially easy to track. She had a Social Security number, just like you do. She lived in a society in which private investigation firms advertise over the Internet and perform investigations for customers they never meet, just like you do. Her place of employment and other details of her life were available to anyone who wanted to spend a few dollars, and the same is undoubtedly true of you. Amy was a victim precisely because it has become relatively cheap and easy for anyone to get the information necessary to track a person down. Her stalker found out everything he needed to know without her ever knowing she was the object of his study.
Amy's tragic death has spurred some late, but important, discussion of the need for privacy in modern life. There has even been a bill proposed that would forbid companies from refusing services to someone who will not reveal his Social Security number. Another proposed bill would, as New York Times columnist William Safire points out, "[prohibit] individuals from 'displaying to the public' anybody's Social Security number without consent." But even that legislation would exempt the "information brokers" that gave Liam Youens the information he needed to find and kill Amy Boyer.
Although such efforts to protect privacy are a start, in truth they do not take into account the deep-rooted nature of the problem. For instance, even while the use of Social Security numbers has proved so dangerous, many states still prominently display them on their drivers licenses. We are coming closer and closer to living in the "panopticon" - a world of total surveillance.
In 1787, Jeremy Bentham, a British philosopher, made a proposal for prison architecture called a panopticon - (literally, "the all-seeing thing"). The idea behind the panopticon was that a prison would be most secure when the jailors watched the prisoners at all times. Since that was not possible, the next best solution was a structure where the guards could watch the prisoners at all times and where the prisoners never knew if they were being watched. That way, the prisoners would always behave appropriately.
Bentham never sold the British government on his plan, but he has proven to be something of a visionary nonetheless. Our society has become a sort of panopticon. It is all too easy to monitor someone without his knowing about it. We never know when the civil government, corporations or predators are watching us.
Unlike Bentham's prison, which had only one set of watchers, we are now in a situation in which any number of people might be watching us in different ways and at different times. We are being tracked, or at least we can never know for sure that we're not being tracked.
As tragic as Amy Boyer's death is, it probably won't be enough to galvanize the public. Why? Because even though stalking is a growing problem in our society, being killed by a troubled youth - certainly a terrifying possibility - is still not all that likely. The fact is, however, that there are many other ways in which we can be victims of the panopticon. Indeed, even after her death, Amy was a victim of yet another invasion of privacy. The August before she died, Amy's pocketbook had been stolen, so she canceled her credit cards and checks, thinking that was the end of it. But two days after her death made the news in New England, the thieves, who had gotten her Social Security number, were able to assume her identity. They managed to spend $5,000 by using checks in her name.
Whether you realize it or not, you are being tracked, just as Amy Boyer was, and it can cost you time, money, freedom - even your life.More on this story here, here, here and here.
MY SHOE SIZE? IT’LL COST YOU
Tired of giving away all your personal information to marketers?
Why not sell it instead?
Companies are willing to pay big money to learn the juicy tidbits of your life, including your preferred brand of toilet paper or whether you smear your bagels with butter or cream cheese.
The problem is, they're not paying you.
A new website hopes to remedy this situation by allowing consumers to sell their personal data directly to advertisers.
"Your information is just that -- yours," said Tracy Coyle, founder of Itsmyprofile.com. "If someone else benefits from that information, you deserve compensation for its use."
Coyle is the same woman who tried to auction off her private data over the Internet last year. The 42-year-old office manager answered 378 questions commonly asked by marketers regarding her financial status, health and religious beliefs, but no one made a bid.
Her new effort aims to find at least 20,000 other souls willing to sell themselves on the Net. Although the website is rather rudimentary, she says her concept is rock-solid.
"It really addresses the idea behind the Internet -- individuals being able to control content," Coyle said. "I'm just saying people can control it better themselves than by giving it to every Tom, Dick and Harry website that's out there."
Coyle plans to charge advertisers 14 cents to access each member's 1,300-question profiles and 25 cents to send members e-mails, which are routed through her site to avoid their resale. And like any good businesswoman, she'll keep a cut of the profit for herself.More on this story here.
ATO ATTACKS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
There was outrage in Australia last week when it was revealed that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is trying to persuade investors in mass marketed “tax effective” schemes to forfeit their rights under the Freedom of Information Act in return for the settlement of long running tax disputes.
The schemes typically involve “round robin” financing arrangements, whereby the funds do not flow through to the actual project, thus inflating the investor's tax deduction. However, the Australian tax commissioner has branded the schemes tax avoidance vehicles, and the government is strenuously pursuing the billions of dollars that it claims is lost in tax refunds each year, leaving many investors with an elevated tax bill, instead of the promised tax benefits. As part of the clampdown on such schemes, the ATO has promised reduced penalties for those investors who agree a settlement with the ATO (although the tax bill would still be payable with interest), but it has come to light that as a precondition for settlement, tax officers have been asking investors to surrender their rights to see ATO documents dealing with their involvement in the scheme.More on this story here.
AMERICANS EXPAND TOP SPY BASE IN UK
HUNDREDS of staff from America's most secret agency are to move from Germany to turn a Yorkshire radar base into one of the most advanced spy centres in the world.
The staff, from the National Security Agency (NSA), will be transferred from a base in southern Germany to RAF Menwith Hill. Their task will be to intercept personal and military communications in an expansion of the base's capabilities.
The move has added to the anger of civil rights and disarmament campaigners, who claim Tony Blair, the prime minister, and Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, are too willing to bow to America's wishes over plans for its national missile defence (NMD) shield, or "son of star wars", which involves Menwith Hill and other British military bases.
The NSA staff will arrive between March and September next year, after the closure of Bad Aibling in Bavaria. They will be responsible for cracking codes, interception of communications, including e-mail, and other sensitive tasks. The NSA is closely linked to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but is even more secretive.
The move to Menwith Hill comes as the government faces criticism from Europe that its spying co-operation with America is at odds with its commitment to European defence co-operation.
A European parliament report last month into the American-run Echelon eavesdropping network, in which Britain is a partner and whose targets are said to include European Union countries, said: "That a global system for intercepting communications exists ... is no longer in doubt. They do tap into private, civilian and corporate communications." Britain has always denied the existence of Echelon.More on this story here.
CANADIAN THINK TANK ORGANIZATION SAYS TAX BURDEN EASING BUT NOT ENOUGH
According to a new book released this week by The Fraser Institute, the total tax bill of the average Canadian family has increased by 1,351 per cent since 1961. Entitled 'Tax Facts 12', the book is the latest edition of a biennial study which looks at how the average Canadian tax bill has changed over the last forty years. Jason Clemens, director of fiscal studies at the Institute, explained that the book provides Canadians “with a basic tool kit of knowledge about taxation in order to enhance rational debate about this issue.”
The total tax burden of Canadians appears to be easing, according to Joel Emes, a senior research economist from the Institute and co-author of the book. The tax burden peaked at 48.7% of total income in 1997 but subsequent tax cuts have now dropped the figure to 47.5% and it is at its lowest level since 1996.
But the tax bill now accounts for more of the average Canadian's budget than shelter, food and clothing combined - a marked reversal from 1961 when the average family had an income of (Canadian) $5,000 with a tax bill of $1,675 (33.5%) compared to an average family income of $51,174 in 2000 with a tax bill of $24,309 (47.5%) comprising federal, provincial, municipal direct and hidden taxes.More on this story here.
FATF TO PUBLISH FOLLOW-UP REPORT ON 15 NON-COOPERATIVE COUNTRIES
The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) has announced that it will issue a new report updating its findings on the non-cooperative countries and territories in the international fight against money laundering.
The report will be presented, alongside the FATF's twelfth annual report, at a news conference on Friday 22 June at the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris. During the conference FATF president Mr Jose Maria Roldan, the future president Mrs Claire Lo, and Mr Patrick Moulette, FATF Executive Secretary aim to discuss the highlights of both reports and outline the work of the FATF over the past twelve months.
In 1999-2000, the FATF began the process of identifying jurisdictions with serious deficiencies in their anti-money laundering regimes and agreed on a list of 50 countries which were to be measured against an agreed criteria of 25 benchmark standards. In a report issued on 22 June 2000, 15 of the 50 countries were labelled as 'non-cooperative in the fight against money laundering'. The 'non-cooperative' jurisdictions are: The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Israel, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Panama, the Philippines, Russia, St Kitts and Nevis, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
At the time many of the named countries complained bitterly that they were being unfairly treated, particularly as their inclusion on the FATF list was swiftly followed with the issuance of Advisory warnings, but almost all of them set to work to remedy the specific deficiencies listed in the report. No doubt representatives of all 15 nations, eager to shake off the FATF, will be waiting with bated breath to discover their fate at next week's conference.More on this story here.
BAHAMAS ABANDONS FINANCIAL PRIVACY
NASSAU. The Bahamian Atty. Gen./Minister of Justice pledges full cooperation with FATF in exchanging financial information. As clients flee the island, he wants off the phony FATF blacklist.More on this story here.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS INDEPENDENCE?
ROAD TOWN, BVI. Under pressure from leftist Labourites in London, the government of this UK overseas territory authorizes an official investigation of the implications and obligations of independence.More on this story here.
BRITISH LABOUR PLOT AGAINST ASHCROFT
LONDON. Sacrificing the people of BELIZE, a UK Foreign Office memo suggests that the Lord ASHCROFT “affair” was a deliberate political election campaign dirty trick aimed at the Tories.More on this story here.
CENTRAL AMERICAN SUMMIT
PANAMA CITY. At the behest of MEXICO's Pres. FOX, Mexico and central American nations sign a pact to develop the area, including the tax haven nations of BELIZE and PANAMA.More on this story here.
COOK ISLANDS TOUGHENS ANTI-OECD STANCE
RAROTONGA. The CI prime minister steps up his campaign to defend seven Pacific tax havens against unreasonable OECD demands.More on this story here.
INDIA PLANS OFFSHORE HAVEN
MUMBAI. This Indian financial center lays plans for creation of a new offshore "international financial center."More on this story here.
KING SIMEON II WINS ELECTION
SOFIA, Bulgaria. Simeon Saxe-Coburg, the former King Simeon II, wins a democratic election mandate unprecedented in modern Europe.More on this story here and here.
SOCIALIST E.U. WANTS DIRECT TAXES
BRUSSELS. EU leaders line up behind a Europe wide tax to finance EU bureaucrats and their many schemes. Euro skeptics are opposed.More on this story here.
"The arrogance of the EU, its bureaucratism rivals that of the old Soviet Union in its wastefulness and self-aggrandizement... its explicitly socialist ideology." A very interesting essay on the EU.More on this story here.
PRAY FOR THE EURO!
"If you want the euro to recover - pray." That's the advice Sir Edward GEORGE, governor of the Bank of England.More on this story here.
RUSSIA BACKS PRIVATE LAND
MOSCOW. Over Communist objections and with fists flying, the Russian Dumas authorizes private ownership of real estate.More on this story here.
HONG KONG is said to be a major hub of Asian dirty money.More on this story here.
OTTAWA. A leading expert says CANADA's new anti-money laundering law will never work. It's as bad as the USA's!More on this story here.
GOLD BACKED CYBER MONEY
In a strange twist of fate, the Internet may be breathing new life into an ancient currency -- gold.More on this story here.
ANY AND ALL TAX CUTS
Nobel laureate Milton FRIEDMEN explains why he is "in favor of any tax cut, under any circumstances, in any way, in any form."More on this story here.
U.S. SHARES ECHELON INFO WITH SPAIN
The US shares intercepted information from the Echelon spy electronic intelligence network with the Spanish government.More on this story here.
GOING POSTAL 2
An inside look at how the US Postal System spies on customers using profiling and other dubious tactics.More on this story here.
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