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TAXPAYERS FORCED TO SEEK HAVEN 2000 YEARS AGO
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”From Luke 2:1 (King James version).
CHRISTMAS IN THE MIDDLE AND FAR EAST
Christmas is mostly hidden in Saudi Arabia, where Islam is the only accepted religion. Expatriate workers hold discreet holiday parties within walled compounds, out of sight of the government’s religious police. For many other foreigners, Christmas is a private day of reflection. However, in other Middle Eastern states Christmas is celebrated openly, and even some Muslims go shopping just to see the holiday fanfare.More on this story here.
Throughout Asia, Western holidays have become chic - both for their commercial potential and because new generations like decorating and celebrating. On Dec. 1, a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” was permitted for the first time in the Forbidden City Music Hall, with the alto and tenor roles sung by mainland Chinese. Santa Claus in Hanoi? Valentine’s Day also popular. Thanksgiving is just getting started.More on this story here.
FLY AND GET HARRASSED
What happens when a man objects to the examination of his 7½ months pregnant wife at Portland, Oregon’s airport - a search which included having her breasts touched, and her having to lift up her shirt in front of the other passengers in line? Prison, falsified reports, and so on, through a story worthy of Kafka.Full story here.
CARNIVORE ON STEROIDS: US PREPARES COMPREHENSIVE NET MONITORING
The US government is assembling a plan to get ISPs involved in building the most comprehensive Net surveillance system yet created. A report called The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, due to be released early 2003, contemplates a government controlled, centralized system for monitoring the Internet, in defense against cyber terrorism as well as more routine threats such as computer viruses and worms. The system would be capable of real time surveillance of Net traffic. It is unclear if laws that currently apply to telephone wire taps will be extended for new Internet monitoring techniques.More on this story here and here..
GRASSLEY STILL PUSHING ANTI-OFFSHORE BILL
WASHINGTON: Sen. Chuck Grassley, incoming chairman of US Senate Finance Committee, promises a new effort to curb corporations that move HQs to offshore havens such as Bermuda. The incentives for such moves are substantial. Tyco International said that it saved $400 million in taxes last year from moving its headquarters from Exeter, N.H. to Bermuda. Companies that go offshore all do a considerable amount of business abroad. As U.S.-based corporations they pay U.S. taxes on a portion of overseas earnings. But if they change their corporate jurisdiction to, e.g., Bermuda, they pay U.S. taxes only on business operations in the United States.
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., author of a measure with a similar intention as Grassley’s, proposed making his bill’s effective date September 11, 2001. “The practice of reincorporating in a foreign country to avoid paying U.S. income tax is inconsistent with American corporate citizenship," said Neal. The Bush administration has offered little support for the Neal and Grassley proposals, apparently taking the tack of focusing on giving corporations tax breaks that would take away incentives to relocate. John Trani, CEO of Stanley Works - which canceled plans to move to Bermuda after lawmakers publicly criticized the firm’s moving plans, implied that U.S. taxes on foreign earnings had put the company at a competitive disadvantage when he announced the move last May.More on this story here.
BERMUDA EXPATRIATE SEES THE LIGHT
A man who received a degree in economics in London traveled the world working for Shell Oil while living out of Bermuda, and observed all manner of economic chaos. After being exposed to Libertarian ideas for the first time, some 27 years after graduation, it finally dawned on him: The reason Bermuda seemed to work so well was because it had the good sense not to follow the welfare state policies of mother Britain. Its combination of low taxes, limited government, respect for the rule of law, and private property led inexorably to increasing prosperity and a per capita income higher than USA, and a great quality of life – no tax returns to complete. Bermuda, in fact, largely followed libertarian ideas.Full essay here.
OFFSHORE SHOULD NOT BE POLITICAL WHIPPING BOY
Ingersoll-Rand reincorporated from New Jersey to Bermuda in 2001 to cut its tax bill. After staying quiet through a year of public disapprobation, CEO Herbert Henkel finally shot back. “If tax laws were different, we wouldn’t have moved in the first place.” Foreign firms pay domestic tax only on domestic income, while U.S. firms, to a degree, pay U.S. tax on worldwide income. Thus, U.S. firms are at a disadvantage to European and Asian competitors. “We expect to get two-thirds of our growth outside the U.S. I want to be competitive.” He claims that far less than half on the tax benefit comes from “stipping” earnings from the U.S. subsidiary by loading it with company debt and deducting the interest costs.More on this story here and here.
TO FIX HONG KONG, TRY DEMOCRACY
Contrary to to pre-1997 handover fears, instead of a heavy-handed mainland squelching Hong Kong, it is China’s boom that has left Hong Kong gasping for air. The mainland is the hot new destination for adventurous job-seekers. Has Hong Kong lost its edge? In a private meeting recently, the feeling among the financiers, scholars, businessmen, and officials was that today’s China is more like the old Hong Kong -- adaptable and serious about reform. Beijing is frustrated with Hong Kong’s malaise. The author’s diagnosis is that the city has the worst aspects of authoritarianism with a smattering of democracy thrown in. Its political system is limited to the elite. Opening up the political system is Hong Kong’s best way out.Complete article here.
NEW ISRAELI TAXES DRIVE WEALTH OFFSHORE
TEL AVIV: Israelis have taken hundreds of millions of shekels out of the country and put the money into tax-exempt trusts over the past few weeks, ahead of implementation of the new tax rules that take effect January 1, 2003. The trusts will be the only remaining tax haven after the rules come into force. Although experts believe that investment in trust funds is only worthwhile with assets of $5 million or higher, and despite that the creator of the trust is unable to draw the funds for several years, many Israelis have been setting up trust funds with only $1 million. Trusts set up by Isreali citizens must be reported, and the option to eventually tax the trusts has been left open, but senior income tax officials have said on various occasions that it is not possible to tax a bona fide trust with a foreign trustee.More on this story here.
JEROME SCHNEIDER INDICTED BY U.S. GOVERNMENT
Schneider, author of Complete Guide to Offshore Money Havens and self-described “world’s leading authority on offshore banking and investing”, and attorney Eric Witmeyer were indicted and charged with conspiracy to defraud the IRS, wire and mail fraud. The essence of the alleged scheme is that clients would purchase offshore entities - companies with banking licenses in Nauru - at Schneider’s behest, and would then pay an additional amount to Witmeyer to obscure the investor’s ownership through a “decontrol” process, which involved selling the ownership interest in the offshore entity to a “Independent Foreign Owner” (IFO) in exchange for a promissory note in an amount large enough to make it appear as if there was a bona fide and negotiated sale of the offshore entity to the IFO. The amount of the promissory note was arbitrarily set by the defendants. There were no negotiations between the U.S. taxpayer investor and the IFO as to the sale price of the offshore entity. The defendants advised the U.S. taxpayers that they could receive back the funds they had transferred to the offshore entity through tax free loans. [Apparently the contention is that the set of transactions was essentially a sham.]
The government alleges in court documents that Schneider and Witmeyer told U.S. residents that these entities would allow them “to evade the payment of income tax on income earned or gain realized by the offshore entity”. Schneider’s attorney maintains his client told people you cannot use offshore banks for tax evasion.More on this story here, here, and here.
GEORGE SOROS FOUND GUILTY OF INSIDER TRADING
PARIS: A French court convicted billionaire philanthropist George Soros, aka “the man who broke the pound”, of insider trading and ordered him to pay a fine of $2.2 million. The case stems from Soros’s 1988 purchase of stock in the French bank Societe Generale. Soros sold his holdings after a run-up that came about when an investor group bought shares in the company, making a quick profit of about $2 million. While Soros has admitted to advanced knowledge of the planned stock purchases, the counterclaim is that under French law that was not precise enough to constitute insider knowledge. Soros is the only person to be convicted in what became one of France’s larger financial scandals of the 1990s.More on this story here.
ALLEGED HIGH YIELD SCAM OPERATOR IMPRISONED FOR CONTEMPT
A federal judge convicted Gary J. Bentz of criminal contempt and sentenced him to three months of imprisonment for violating an asset freeze order, by secretly spending funds frozen by the court. In February 2001, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued Bentz and others for operating a fraudulent Ponzi scheme that raised $20.3 million from over 600 investors in a “prime bank” trading program.More on this story here.
ANOTHER HIGH YIELD SCAM: GUILTY PLEA IN $70M BAHAMAS FRAUD
A Charlottesville, Virginia man has pleaded guilty to 20 felony charges in a Ponzi scheme involving as much as $70 million in investments. The program promised investors in the company’s fictitious program an annual return of about 160 percent. In fact, there were no “trades” or “investments”, but rather older investors were paid “profits” in a typical Ponzi scheme fashion from new investor funds.More on this story here.
BEWARE OF FAKE INSURANCE SALES TO SMALL BUSINESSES, SELF-EMPLOYED
In the scramble to save on insurance as premiums and health care costs march upwards, many are falling victim to sham insurance. For example, one woman ran up $110,000 in medical bills only to find that the insurance converage offered by an association she had joined was no good. When discovered and shut down, scam artists merely reopen under a different name.More on this story here.
WESTERN UNION AGREES TO $8 MILLION FINE FOR LAXITY IN FOLLOWING MONEY LAUNDERING RULES
New York banking regulators and Western Union Financial Services Inc. settled charges that Western Union violated federal and state laws designed to stem the flow of terrorist money, when it failed to file almost 600 currency-transaction reports for cash transfers in one day that exceeded $10,000. Banking department officials also claim that Western Union failed to file 63 suspicious-activity reports so far this year, often because one individual transferred more than $10,000 in one day, but in increments and from different Western Union outlets that the company did failed to catch. The move is the first time the Patriot Act has been used against a major financial firm.More on this story here.
US-EU AGREEMENT ON CRIMINAL INFO SHARING
The US and the EU will exchange personal data on terrorism, other serious crimes. A deal will allow U.S. investigators and their counterparts at the European police agency, Europol, to share personal information such as phone records and bank accounts. Critics have expressed particular concern that European citizens would not be informed about their personal data being transferred to the United States.More on this story here and here.
WHERE TO INVEST IN 2003
Business Week special issue on investments for the new year. Articles stocks and mutual funds of all stripes, bonds, real estate, gold, art. Strategists and portfolio managers see a Dow rally in 2003. But they saw one in 2002, too.Start here.
GOLD: HOW HIGH CAN IT GO?
There are many reasons to think the gold rally will continue in 2003 - but then again, it may not. Some reasonable advice: Do not try to time the gold market and chase returns. Frank Holmes, CEO of U.S. Global Investors and manager of two gold-related funds, advises stashing 5% of a portfolio in physical gold or stocks, rebalancing every six months.More on this story here and here.
UKRAINE, NAURU FACE FATF, US SANCTIONS
Failures to clean up money laundering in each nation. Ukraine, which has been on the FATF’s blacklist of nations not cooperating with the fight against money laundering since September 2001, had tried to avoid the sanctions by passing a law against the illegal practice earlier this month. But the FATF said that the new law was insufficient. Ukraine’s banking sector would likely try to dodge any sanctions by moving their accounts away from the West to offshores, according to one private bank.
The U.S. Treasury Department plans to announce that Ukraine and Nauru, an island in the South Pacific Ocean, are “primary money-laundering concerns”. They will be the first two countries singled out for financial countermeasures under the provisions of the U.S.A. Patriot Act. The designations wil make it harder or impossible for U.S. financial institutions to do business with the countries. Nauru, in particular, will be formally cut off from the U.S. financial sector, making it the first time that the U.S. has legally instructed its financial institutions to cut off an entire jurisdiction for anti-money laundering concerns. The Treasury intends to impose Special Measure 5, which will prohibit US financial institutions from opening or maintaining correspondent accounts with Nauru-licensed financial institutions.More on this story here, here, and here.
U.K. INLAND REVENUE CHAIRMAN SAYS TAXES ARE MORAL ISSUE
LONDON: “Dodging tax [should be] seen as not making your fair contribution to the UK’s needs and not as something clever to be boasted about in the pub,” he says.More on this story here.
US IRS ISSUES GUIDANCE ON US HOME SALES TAX SAVINGS
Under current laws, single taxpayers can keep tax-free as much as $250,000 of profit on the sale of their principal residence, and couples can keep up to $500,000. But the determination of what constitutes a “principal residence” can be tricky. After many requests for guidance, the IRS is preparing to provide it.More on this story here.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE SECURITY AND PRIVACY?
“Cyber-snooping” has been the subject of heated debate in recent years between the law enforcement community and many privacy advocates. The fears of both sides are well-founded. The 9/11 attacks could have taken place without coordination across the Internet. Information coordination is just one of many “what ifs” that encompass flimsy doors, cosmetic security checks, flight-school background checks, etc. Open-ended surveillance could lead to innumerable misunderstandings and errors. Much voice and electronic chatter involves casual language that might be construed to be dangerous. “Probable cause” in terms of issuing warrants should still apply. We must debate how broadly or narrowly search warrants should be tailored when they are issued.Complete discussion here.
HERE IS WHAT CAN HAPPEN IN A U.S. POLICE STATE
DENVER: The Denver police have gathered information on unsuspecting local activists since the 1950’s, secretly storing what they learned on simple index cards in a huge cabinet at police headquarters. After transferring the cards’ contents to a computerized database, word leaked out and people started asking for their files. Among those spied upon were nuns, advocates for American Indians, and church organizations. The software that interacted with the database labeled many of the groups, including Amnesty International, “criminal extremists”. The NYC police have recently purchased database/analysis software from the same company.More on this story here.
PENTAGON DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE OPERATION GETS FACE LIFT
Poindexter’s Information Awareness Office web site removed the bios of its senior staff, but they still can be found here, and then its “eye-death-ray” logo with its accompanying motto “Scienta est potentia” (“Knowledge is power”).Original and current TIA banners here.
MOST PIECES OF TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS SYSTEM ALREADY IN PLACE
Because of the pervasiveness of digital network technologies in everyday life, it is increasingly possible to amass “Big Brother” surveillance powers through “Little Brother” means. Basic components include e-mail, online shopping and travel booking, A.T.M. systems, cellphone networks, electronic toll-collection systems and credit card payment terminals. The types of computerized data sifting and pattern matching that might flag suspicious activities to government agencies and coordinate their surveillance are not much different from programs already in use by private companies, such as those used to signal unusual credit card activity.Full story here.
AMERICAN MUSLIMS: USA PATRIOT ACT THREAT TO LIBERTIES
The law is the biggest threat to democracy in the United States, according to Muslim leaders and activists. The denunciation at a Muslim American convention came days after protests over the detention of hundreds of Middle Eastern immigrants who had voluntarily registered with the INS under new federal guidelines. The protesters urged an end to the registration program. A spokesman for the Justice Department defended the Patriot Act as “an incredibly valuable tool in the war on terrorism”.More on this story here.
U.S. CITIES URGE GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT RIGHTS
Nearly two dozen cities around the country have passed resolutions urging federal authorities to respect the civil rights of local citizens when fighting terrorism. Efforts to pass similar measures are under way in more than 60 other places. Both liberal bastions such as Cambridge and Berkeley, and less ideological places like Chicago and Fairbanks, Alaska are among those passing resolutions. Many communities are getting help from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
In most places the resolutions carry no legal weight, merely affirming existing civil rights. But resolutions passed by some towns like Amherst, Mass. go so far as to direct city personnel not to help federal or state officials in activities that could be considered in violation of civil rights or liberties. A spokesman for the Justice Department insists that protection of civil liberties is built into all antiterrorism legislation, that “We are still living under the Constitution.”More on this story here.
CHINA SHUTS 3300+ CYBER CAFÉS FOR “SAFETY” REASONS
The Chinese minister said that officials had checked nearly 50,000 Internet cafés in the last 6 months, and had suspended the licences of over 12,000 and closed 3,300. The government is claiming that the actions were made on behalf of safety, rather than for the purpose of clamping down on freedom of expression.More on this story here and here.
A SENSIBLE FREEDOM MEASUREMENT METHODOLOGY
Freedom House’s Freedom in the World survey evaluates political rights and civil liberties throughout the world. All countries and territories are judged uniformly, emphasizing the importance of democracy and freedom. “Freedom” is defined as the opportunity to act spontaneously outside the control of the government or other centers of potential domination. Freedom House finds a trend towards greater freedom among nations. The 2002 survey concludes that the number of countries rated free has more than doubled from 30 years ago, and that the world has not seen a serious erosion of human rights since September 11, 2001.2002 Freedom in the World survey here. Complete survey results here.
TINY ANDORRA SAYS “NO” TO THE E.U.
ANDORRE-LA-VIEILLE: Andorra’s prime minister said the principality rejects the European Union tax accord, which threatens to eliminate its tax haven status, but will study any compromise the EU reaches with Switzerland. Andorra is one of four small tax havens the EU wants to clamp down on. None of others, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino, is expected to accept the EU directive in its current form.Full story here. CIA Factbook index page for Andorra here.
ISLE OF MAN INSISTS ON “LEVEL PLAYING FIELD”
DOUGLAS: The year-end 2002 self-imposed EU tax agreement deadline will not be met. Manx insists that information exchanges with the OECD and EU must be applied uniformly, and that all members and third-party countries be party to any agreement. The Isle of Man remains willing to enter into a bilateral agreement with any interested EU member.More on this story here.
LUXEMBOURG KEEPS AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Luxembourg has increasingly been the choice of US mutual funds looking for a European base. New legislation may equip Luxembourg to gain a substantial share of the rapidly growing European market for retail hedge funds. “[I]t is expected that the new law will allow Luxembourg to strengthen its position as a leading centre for the international distribution of investment funds,” said a statement from the Luxembourg Investment Funds Association.More on this story here.
SWISS SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE (ENGLISH)
ZURICH: English is the most important foreign language in Switzerland, according to the findings of the latest national census. Some 40 foreign languages are spoken in Switzerland. The number of German speakers remained almost the same as ten years earlier at 63.7%.Rest of survey summary here.
After more than 40 years of tradition, the Swiss are scrapping their current passport for a smaller, sleeker model that can be read by a computer.More on this story here.
NEW ISRAELI TAXES MAY CAUSE CAPITAL FLIGHT
TEL AVIV: Banks fear a major exodus of foreign capital. Under the pending “reform”, interest payments on foreign residents’ deposits - typically used to back investments in Israel-based activities such as real estate and the diamond industry - used as collateral for credit will be subject to tax. The Income Tax Authority’s staff, optimisticly, does not expect any damage.More on this story here.
WORK ON $1 BILLION BAHRAIN OFFSHORE FINANCIAL CENTER STARTS
Construction of the first phase of the futuristic $1 billion Bahrain Financial Harbour was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa. Phase one is expected to be completed by October 2005 and will require about 2,000 workers. Bahrain’s position as a leading regional financial center is expected to be reinforced by the project.More on this story here.
SINGAPORE EXPAT EXODUS
The worst recession in 40 years is driving out foreigner workers. A record number are leaving as companies cut headcount and generous expatriate packages evaporate. The city-state has a total population of 4.1 million, about 20% of which are foreigners.More on this story here.
PHILIPPINE SENATOR EXTRADITED TO U.S.
MANILA: Notorious Miami executive Mark Jimenez, who became an influential Filipino legislator after fleeing the United States, was extradited to face 4-year-old charges that he made illegal campaign contributions to former President Clinton and the Democratic Party. He was accused of orchestrating a scheme to avoid U.S. election laws that prohibit hard-money contributions from foreign nationals. Jimenez golfed with the president, socialized with the First Lady, and even attended one of the infamous White House coffee klatches. During the meeting, he lobbied the administration on behalf of Paraguay, where his firm had major business interests. A month after the coffee, Clinton allowed the country to continue receiving U.S. aid despite restrictions on other Latin American governments that failed to control cocaine smuggling.More on this story here.
BOOK MAKERS MAY FLEE COSTA RICA
SAN JOSE: Sports books began setting up here in 1996 to take advantage of vague gaming laws, cheap labor and good English speakers. With the government threatening to take a piece of the action through new fees or taxes, gambling operators say they will pull up stakes and move on to the next gambling-friendly haven. Panama and Belize want the jobs and are offering incentives. Costa Rican officials are not happy that the companies pay no licensing fees and few taxes, especially with a widening deficit, and are not sure unregulated gambling, an industry notorious for sheltering dirty money, is good for the country’s image.Full story here.
FIRST “BERMUDA SHORT” ALLEGED FRAUD CASE GUILTY PLEA
One of the highest-profile targets among over 50 individuals arrested last August in the “Bermuda Short” investigation, reached a plea bargain with the U.S. Department of Justice, which will invove his full co-operation in assisting the ongoing investigation and court actions. He is pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud. The accused are alleged to have encouraged sales of penny share stocks whose value had been artificially inflated, only to profit from their inevitable collapse through short-selling. Much of the operation was run out of Bermuda - hence the code-name given to the sting operation which eventually brought about the arrests.More on this story here.
ALLEGED OFFSHORE FRAUD SALESMEN MAY END UP RETURNING COMMISSIONS
ORLANDO, Florida: Salespeople who funneled an estimated $214 million in customers’ money into a now-bankrupt offshore investment fund, Evergreen Securities Ltd., could lose $7 million in commissions based on the results of a case heard this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The trustee in the bankruptcy wants salespeople, who operated out of Orlando, Florida, held at least partially responsible for the losses their clients suffered in the phony investment fund.More on this story here.
37 DEFENDANTS WILL STAND TRIAL IN FRENCH SCANDAL
PARIS: Accused of a kickback scam at France’s formerly state-owned oil company Elf that siphoned off huge sums of money into offshore bank accounts. Defendants include the former Elf head and his deputy. A scandal with wordwide tentacles, the ex-head’s lawyer says the probes and trials focus only on middlemen and fail to pinpoint the true culprits in the scandal - the politicians he says used Elf to promote French political interests abroad.More on this story here.
CANADA TO CUT BUSINESS AND PERSONAL TAXES
OTTAWA: The Canadian Finance Minister confirmed corporate and personal income tax rate cuts designed to promote investment and boost employment. Canada’s average federal-provincial corporate tax rate will now be below the average US rate. Personal income taxes will be also reduced by an average of 21% over the course of the five years.More on this story here.
HEDGE FUNDS HAVE WORST YEAR IN A DECADE
LONDON: According to consultants, 2002 will be the worst for the hedge fund business in almost a decade as slumping stock markets hurt performance and spurred a record number of closures. 20% of the hedge funds tracked by Tremont Advisers at the start of 2002 stopped reporting their results by the end of October, and most of those funds shut down. A slowdown in fund inflows to the $600 billion industry in 2002 came about in part because hedge funds, which are marketed as being able to profit whether markets rise or fall, have not produced strong returns.More on this story here.
SOROS TO REENTER HEDGE FUND MANAGEMENT
Legendary hedge-fund manager George Soros is reported to have unretired and reassumed control over the Quantum Endowment Fund and other funds in the Soros Fund Management stable, with assets totaling $11.5 billion. Last summer, Soros said he would not be surprised if the dollar loses a third of its value during the next several years. He also said that markets could go much lower if key governments, such as the US administration, do not take the right policy steps. [Note: These prognostications are worth incorporating into one’s investment planning.]More on this story here.
U.S. JOBS GO OFFSHORE TO INDIA
Outsourcing jobs to India grows. Contracts go beyond the software code writing of the last decade to include chip design, product development, call centers, consulting and other support and back-office services. Delta Airlines expects will save $12 million to $15 million annually by outsourcing reservation services. India has a large, well-educated, English-speaking work force with one of the world’s largest clusters of engineers and programmers. Thousands of young men and women work largely at night, synchronizing their work schedules with Americans halfway across the globe. The trend is saving the U.S. Government money as well.More on this story here and here.
WEALTHY U.S. CONGRESSMEN
WASHINGTON: Close to half the incoming members of Congress are millionaires and many will face votes that could affect their financial holdings. Banking, pharmaceutical, and oil all possible objects of congressional action in 2003. Former investment banker will set up a blind trust.More on this story here.
A CLASSIC FROM GREENSPAN: “GOLD & ECONOMIC FREEDOM”
An essay from his days in Ayn Rand’s inner circle. Interestingly, the Federal Reserve chairman has repeatedly failed to disavow his old views.Background and complete essay here.
LABOUR WANTS TO KILL TRADITIONAL ENGLISH RIGHTS
LONDON: A coalition of MPs, peers, civil liberties groups and lawyers are opposing plans to restrict the right to trial by jury, abolish the 800-year-old double jeopardy rule, and allow previous convictions to be disclosed in court. Home Office minister Lord Charlie Falconer insisted that the government will not back down on these principles, giving clear indications that if necessary the legislation will be forced through the House of Lords using the Parliament Act (which can be used if a bill that starts in the Commons is thrown out by the Lords in two successive sessions). The incoming chairman of the Bar Council accused the home secretary of being “profoundly illiberal”.More on this story here and here.
U.S. PROSECUTORS’ TACTICS OF USING COMPLAINTS IN PLACE OF INDICTMENTS HIT
Fewer grand jury indictments; more highly public sworn statements by FBI agents and postal inspectors. Increased use of such criminal complaints are favored by prosecutors and condemned by defense attorneys and some civil libertarians. The end-run around the right to indictment by a grand jury, explicitly enumerated in the Constitution, is supposed to be reserved for cases where there is risk of the accused taking flight, which does not seem to be the case with recent high-profile Wall Street cases. Complaints sometimes exert substantial pressure on witnesses to cooperate with the government through the sheer force of detail they describe, said a Washington defense lawyer. “The way they are approaching these investigations is very similar to the way they approach gang prosecutions - trying to flip witnesses, going after their assets, and using complaints, not indictments, as a tool.” Giuliani a practitioner of the tactic in the 1980s.More on this story here.
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