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Tax Evasion

US Accountant Found Guilty In Panama Papers Case

A U.S. accountant who helped American residents evade taxes in a case exposed by the Panama Papers investigation has been sentenced to more than three years in prison. Over a sometimes choppy internet connection on Thursday, federal judge Richard M. Berman in New York sentenced Richard Gaffey, 74, to jail. Gaffey, a Massachusetts-based accountant, previously pleaded guilty to eight crimes, including conspiracy to commit tax evasion and defraud the United States. From 2000 to 2018, prosecutors said, Gaffey worked with others, including lawyers at the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, to evade paying income taxes to the United States.

Media Blackout As Israel’s Largest Banks Pay Over $1 Billion In Fines For US Tax Evasion Schemes

WASHINGTON—Israel’s three largest banks—Hapoalim Bank, Leumi Bank and Mizrahi Tefahot Bank—have all been ordered to pay record fines, which collectively are set to total over $1 billion, to the U.S. government after the banks were found to have actively colluded with thousands of wealthy Americans in massive tax-evasion schemes. The scandal, though it has been reported on in Israeli media, has garnered little attention in the United States. The media blackout has been so surprising it was even directly mentioned by the Times of Israel...

‘Bloody’ Protesters Turn Apple Store Into ER Ward

Dozens of activists turned a Paris-based Apple Store into an emergency ward complete with x-rays, surgeons, bloody patients and even a waiting room to denounce tax evasion. The elaborate demonstration, staged by the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and for Citizen Action (ATTAC), on Saturday was in protest of Apple’s tax evasion practices and their impact on social services like the public health institutions in France. Protesters dressed in scrubs performed treatments on ‘patients’ on hospital beds or lying on the floor of the crowded store. Others chanted “we’re here, even if we do not want it, we’re here,” and marched around the store, while some played a giant game of Operation.

Corporations With Offshore Billions Sponsor ‘Tax Prom’

By Josh Keefe for International Business Times. Next week, 600 congressional staffers, lobbyists and think tank employees, as well as Vice President Mike Pence himself, will get together for an annual tradition that is imbued with extra significance this year: the Tax Foundation’s annual gala, known as “Tax Prom,” brought to you by 61 corporations very interested in seeing their tax bills reduced. The Tax Foundation, a non-profit tax policy think tank founded by Depression-era industrialists, has been holding its annual dinner since 1937, which it calls "tax world’s most celebrated event of the year," on its website. This year's Tax Prom, scheduled for Nov. 16, will honor Pence with a Distinguished Service Award. Last year, the event drew 196 congressional staffers and nine members of Congress, according to the Tax Foundation. Sixty-one companies spent a total of $1.1 million sponsoring Tax Prom, and many of them have huge off-shore holdings, according to the Institute on Taxation And Economic Policy, another non-profit tax policy think tank. Twenty-three Tax Prom corporate sponsors have a combined $800 billion parked offshore in at least 1,075 tax haven subsidiaries, according to an ITEP analysis provided to International Business Times. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that U.S. companies are currently holding a total of $2.6 trillion offshore to avoid paying taxes to Uncle Sam.

‘Paradise Papers’ Show How Wealthy Stash Riches, Dodge Taxes

By Emily Wells for Truth Dig - A trove of recently leaked files pertaining to offshore finance, dubbed “the Paradise Papers,” offers insight into how the wealthiest corporations and individuals protect their riches. The documents also show financial ties to Russia of a member of President Trump’s Cabinet. The 13.4 million files were obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and subsequently shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which has been investigating offshore finance for several years. According to a New York Times report, Appleby, an offshore firm at the center of the documents, said it has “thoroughly and vigorously investigated the allegations and we are satisfied that there is no evidence of any wrongdoing, either on the part of ourselves or our clients.” The ICIJ said Sunday in a post announcing the release of the papers that they “reveal offshore interests and activities of more than 120 politicians and world leaders.” The papers include data on U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, chief economic adviser Gary Cohn, major donors to the Trump campaign and a business associate of the president’s son-in law, Jared Kushner. The papers also reveal financial activity and investments by Queen Elizabeth II, Bono, Apple, Nike and Facebook.

Trouble In The Offshore Paradise

By Chuck Collins for Inequality - Just as Congress begins debate on the Republicans’ “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” new revelations have emerged about how wealthy elites around the world hide their wealth. The “Paradise Papers” — the result of a leak from the Bermuda-based law firm Appleby — shines additional light onto the shadowy world of hidden wealth and tax dodging. Efforts to reform the U.S. tax system are fundamentally undermined by a global tax-avoidance system that allows individuals and corporations to shift trillions to offshore havens to escape taxation, accountability, and publicity. The Paradise Papers, alongside the “Panama Papers” released in April 2016, provide another set of disclosures into a system full of titillating details about how high-ranking global officials have created their own system of rules. The Bermuda leaks disclose the role of high-ranking Trump administration members, including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House economic advisor Gary Cohn, in using offshore tax havens. National groups and political leaders, including Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, are calling for a slowdown of Republican efforts to push through their tax bill to address these abuses. Oxfam America and the Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency (FACT) Coalition have called on Congress to hold hearings on the findings and a debate over how to best remedy them. Tax Justice Network international has called on the United Nations to convene a global summit to address tax haven abuse.

Newsletter: Elections Expose the Oligarchs

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The 2016 presidential election has shown how the duopoly, the two parties that represent big business interests and the wealthiest, are corrupted in ways that prevent the people’s voices from being heard, their necessities being met and the planet being protected from human greed. During the campaigns, leaks have given people a behind-the-scenes look at how the parties operate and research on the candidates shows their personal failures. They give voters an image of elites who behave as if the law does not apply to them and who put themselves ahead of the public interest. Last Friday was a day of embarrassment for both the Republican and Democratic Parties. A tape showing Donald Trump bragging about sexual assault in lewd ways has gotten the bulk of attention, but Wikileaks also released thousands of pages of The Podesta Emails, 2,060 emails and 170 attachments. John Podesta is the ultimate insider.

Panama Papers: The Psychology Driving Illicit Financial Flows

By Robert J. Burrowes for Popular Resistance. Because their emotional responses to events in their life are not heard and addressed, the distractive items become addictive drugs. This is why most violence and 'business' involving illicit financial flows is overtly directed at gaining control of material, rather than emotional, resources. The material resource becomes a dysfunctional and quite inadequate replacement for satisfaction of the emotional need. And, because the material resource cannot 'work' to meet an emotional need, the individual is most likely to keep using direct and/or structural violence to gain control of more material resources in an unconscious and utterly futile attempt to meet unidentified emotional needs. This is the reason why individuals using the services of Mossack Fonseca seek material wealth and are willing to take advantage of tax evasion structures beyond legal scrutiny. They are certainly wealthy in the material sense; unfortunately, they are emotional voids and each of them justly deserves the appellation 'poor little rich boy' (or girl).

Stopping Companies’ Tax Evasion And Illegal Logging

By Frederic Mousseau for Righting Finance - The Panama Papers have helped expose how politicians, criminals and corporations around the world hide their cash and avoid taxes. In Papua New Guinea (PNG), foreign owned logging companies are profiteering, using some of the same tricks. Recent research by the Oakland Institute revealed that most logging companies operating in the country are not paying corporate tax. Despite decades of operations and the country being today the largest exporter of tropical timber in the world, logging companies barely declare any profit.

‘Ditch Dodgy Dave’: 150,000 In Anti-Austerity Protest In London

By Common Dreams Staff. A protest calling on David Cameron to resign has brought more than 150,000 people onto the streets of London on Saturday afternoon. The March for Health, Homes, Jobs and Education was organized by activist group the People's Assembly Against Austerity. The demonstrators called for an end to austerity, and demanded that David Cameron quit over the Panama Papers revelation that he profited from his father's offshore investment fund. People's Assembly National Secretary Sam Fairbairn said: "The Tories are increasingly out of touch with the reality of life for most people. Every time they say 'we all in it together' it's another slap round the face of millions of people. The revelations that have unfolded with the 'Panama Papers' show the super-rich hiding their wealth in tax havens on an industrial scale. This means they avoid taxes that would pay for all the social benefits that are currently under attack and people are understandably angry."

Newsletter: The Corruption Of Money

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. As tax day approaches, there will be numerous reports about how US oligarchs – wealthy individuals and major corporations – do not pay their fair share in taxes. A GAO report released this week found “at least two-thirds of active U.S. corporations paid zero federal income taxes between 2006 and 2012. The report also found that large, profitable corporations only paid 14% of their profits in federal income taxes on average from 2008 through 2012, while approximately one-fifth of them paid nothing at all.” This is not only due to tax laws that provide corporations with a wide array of loopholes to lower their taxes, but is also due to the intentional hiding of money off-shore. A 2015 report found that nearly 75% of Fortune 500 companies tucked away $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid paying US income taxes.

50 Corporations Hide 1.4 Trillion Off-Shore, Avoid $100 Billion In Taxes

By Staff of By Oxfam - Oxfam's recently released "Broken at the Top" report outlines how the top 50 US companies use offshore tax havens and other aggressive and secretive schemes to stash profits and dramatically lower their corporate tax rates in the United States. The companies, which made nearly $4 trillion in profits globally between 2008 and 2014, paid an average effective tax rate of just 26.5 percent— well below the statutory tax rate of 35 percent in the US and also well below the tax rate of an average US worker of 31.5 percent.

Panama Papers’ And The Shadow World Of Finance

By James S. Henry, John Christensen, and Nick Mathiason for Tax Justice Network - On Monday, April 11, 2016, on Clearing The FOG Radio, Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese discussed the release of the ‘Panama Papers’ which provide a glimpse of the secret world of shell companies used by the rich to hide their wealth and avoid paying taxes. We explore what’s going on with James Henry of the Tax Justice Network and Chuck Collins of the Institute for Policy Studies. It is time for Congressional action to ensure tax justice and stop the hiding of trillions of dollars of individual and corporate wealth in "offshore" accounts...

Newsletter – Building Toward Political Revolution

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. Of course, we also know the Panama Papers leak is about just one tax evasion firm, and not a major one. This is a small tip of a massive tax evasion iceberg. Estimates are that $7.6 trillion in individual assets are in tax havens, about one-tenth of the global GPD. The use of tax havens has grown 25 percent from 2009 to 2015.  Gabriel Zucman, author of The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens and assistant professor at UC Berkeley estimates that US citizens have at least $1.2 trillion stashed offshore, costing $200 billion a year worldwide in lost tax revenue and US transnational corporations are underpaying their taxes worldwide by $130 billion. The Panama Papers will escalate demands for transformation of the economy as well as of government; continue to increase pressure on capitalism and result in the growth of the people powered movement for economic justice.

Brazil Opens Federal Investigation Of McDonalds

By Giovanna Frank-Vitale. March 3, 2016 - Today a federal prosecutor in Brazil opened a criminal investigation (attached) into alleged “fiscal and economic crimes” by McDonald’s. The prosecutor’s office said it will look into suspected tax evasion and violations of Brazil’s franchise and competition laws. He issued an indictment against McDonald’s, which will require the company to appear before the federal prosecutor for a deposition and to turn over all documents related to the case. This just broke in Brazil. It’s a criminal investigation into how McDonald’s does business and it could have major implications for how the company conducts its operations around the globe and could prompt similar investigations worldwide. It’s a huge development—the equivalent here in the States would be the Justice Department opening an investigation.
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