Monday, 4 April 2016

the allure of the Panama hat


I once had a proper Sheplers stetson hat, acquired when I was in Texas, but it was 'lost' at some point after I returned to Blighty. I've had a secret hankering to replace it alongside maybe adding a proper panama hat to the collection.

Rather a round-about way to get to that Cameron Blairmore Holdings thing. I last wrote about it in February 2015. The story just resurfacing has been around for years this time unfolding as part of the bigger Panama offshoring wheeze. (See, unfolding - a panama hat reference!)

Of course, the fund was entirely legally framed as Panama based, and even included something in its Memorandum about not ever wanting to be considered as under UK jurisdiction. So that's all right then.

Another UK person in the Panama list is my one-time MP, who is no stranger to investigations. These include windfalls from Dolphin Square property, controversial support for Asil Nadir during Nadir's £29m fraud conviction and even a curious example when the MP used a rented property in Winchester as his residential address for an election campaign. It must have all come good though, because when he retired from Parliament he stood as the Police Commissioner for Hampshire.

By comparison, the Osborne family's painting and decorating business Osborne and Little shows its corporation tax avoidance as a very straightforward matter.

It saved the tax because of 'timing differences' in cashflow, which has resulted from £34m turnover, £722,000 profit and -er- £0 corporation tax. Actually, there's a rebate from 2010 of £12k. All entirely within the law, of course. No wonder the main director (George's dad, Sir Peter) gets a salary of £680k per year and the company has paid no CT on its £200 million turnover across the last seven years.

But back to the more complicated world of Mossack Fonseca. The data exposure is interesting because of its scale. It looks as if an entire server disk has been intercepted and then Nuix used to create machine readable formats and indices for all of the documents.

Then it becomes easy to type in search terms like 'Putin', 'Cameron', 'Sergei Roldugin', 'Bank Rossiya', 'Dietrich, Baumgartner & Partner', 'FIFA ethics lawyer' ...

We shall see.

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