The world is dotted with states and territories that make a specialty of providing services whose purpose is to facilitate ways to hide assets … Not all of what they do is illegal but so much of it is that the whole system needs changing. – Transparency International Press Release
The so-called Panama Papers stolen from the Mossack Fonseca law firm specializing in shell companies has caused Transparency International to issue a press release listing three steps “to stop secret companies.”
We’d rather stop Transparency International.
This outfit, the largest entity of its kind with over 100 chapters around the world, is determined to create an international registry that will list the “beneficial ownership” of all controlling legal entities. If you want to affix your name to a document asserting ownership of assets, be prepared to have that ownership revealed.
The group was founded by a former top executive of the World Bank.
We’ve been writing about the organization since 2011, and it seemed to us then as now that Transparency International’s idea regarding financial and business privacy was fundamentally wrong-headed. Contrary to what executives at Transparency International seem to believe, secrecy – privacy or anonymity – is an essential component of civilization.
Without privacy, authoritarianism flourishes because it is impossible to build and expand private networks that would act as a deterrent to government abuses. A worldwide transparency regime virtually guarantees abuses and corruption from those in power.
This is a reason why the “cashless society” idea is such a bad one. When no one is able to use cash, financial histories will be easily available via electronic bank records.
Yet for reasons having to do with global power and control, it is obvious that larger elite powers are focused on generating the maximum amount of transparency possible. Individual people are to be stripped of any ability to maintain anonymity either at home or abroad.
The press release offers “3 steps to stop secret companies,” citing the release of the Panama Papers.
The first is that governments should establish central, registries that publicly disclose beneficial ownership information. “This will help law enforcement, journalists, and governments to do their job and help investors and citizens know who is behind the companies they invest in or buy from.”
The release informs us that Transparency International is attempting to create a Global Public Beneficial Ownership Registry, which can collect ownership information from governments around the world. Essentially, if you wished to create a legal document asserting ownership of assets of any sort, you’d find interests revealed on this registry.
Second, those who are involved in creating legal structures for ownership will apparently be held responsible for the use of those structures whether they had any further involvement or not.
Key language: “Professional enablers that are found to be complicit in corruption must be sanctioned.” Transparency International suggests, among other penalties, that “licenses could be withdrawn.”
In order to deter any criminal behavior as a result of the creation of ownership structures, “standards [will] require professionals in law and accountancy, real estate, as well as company formation agents and bankers to have in place anti-money laundering procedures and report suspicions of money laundering.”
Finally, “countries should require any company bidding for public contracts or purchasing property to disclose on whose behalf they are operating.”
Transparency International’s stridency is surely not coincidental. In May the UK is hosting a “global anti-corruption summit with world leaders.” This certainly smacks of a kind of coordination, given that this conference occurs so soon after the release of the Panama Papers.
In fact, many in the alternative media have suggested that the CIA or other intelligence agencies are behind the leak of 11.5 million emails because the operation is so massive.
And many of the “names” seem to be opponents of the current Western system.
For instance, Russia’s Vladimir Putin has been targeted. “A cellist friend of Russian president Vladimir Putin shifted more than $200 million through Panama,” Transparency International informs us.
Also: “The wife of the prime minister of Iceland.” In fact, the Prime Minister of Iceland who help put Icelandic bankers in jail for financial crimes just resigned due to revelations in the Panama Papers.
The release adds:
Mossack Fonseca denies any wrongdoing. [But] instead of facilitating potentially corrupt acts, all law firms and other professionals should carry out the due diligence that is needed to prevent corruption when they take on clients. While many note that their actions are not illegal, the focus should be on acting with integrity to stop corruption worldwide.
Wrong. There is no integrity in attempting to strip people of the ability to conduct their affairs privately by threatening the use of blunt government force to force them to reveal interests– which is what Transparency International is suggesting.
Transparency International’s press release along with the upcoming “worldwide” corruption conference in London and the speed of various regulatory moves around the world do seem coordinated.
For instance, the U.S. is readying “a bank rule on shell companies amid ‘Panama Papers’ fury,” according to Reuters.
The U.S. Treasury Department intends to soon issue a long-delayed rule forcing banks to seek the identities of people behind shell-company account holders, after the “Panama Papers” leak provoked a global uproar over the hiding of wealth via offshore banking devices. A department spokesman said on Wednesday the rule would “soon” be turned over to the White House for review and issuance.
The EU is acting as well, according to the AP:
A European Union official threatened Thursday to sanction Panama and other nations if they don’t cooperate fully to fight money laundering and tax evasion, after a leak of data showed the small country remains a key destination for people who want to hide money. “People are fed up with these outrages,” said Pierre Moscovici, who heads financial affairs for the 28-nation EU.
Is that so? It seems to us that many people are also “fed up” with Western government over-reaching, excessive taxation and public corruption.
Conclusion: Ironically, there are ways to gain privacy over assets that involve little to no paperwork. For instance, buy silver and gold privately and store it nearby in a non-reporting facility. That’s just one suggestion. There are other ways.