Kick Out the Tax Evaders and Save the World

Tax evaders are the worst criminals in the world. But they are given royal treatment by the state and society. Countless cash boxes possessed by the tax evaders make them darling of governments. That’s why the tax evaders escape all the legal mechanisms and roam around the world luxuriously. The shocking fact is that the nations which talk high about good governance like Switzerland, United States of America and the likes shelter the tax criminals. Even if there is an occasional hue and cry about the tax evaders there will a monthlong eye wash programmes to project the concerned nations as clean and moral.
It is high time that the world leaders resolve to throw out tax evaders irrespective of their national and class status. This is the only solution to the uplifting poor people from the abject poverty webbed around them.

Ken Silverstein writes in The New York Times,

On June 11, the US government filed a complaint documenting a record of corruption as outlandish as anything seen since Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos plundered the Philippines in the 1980s. The complaint detailed allegations of massive bribery and money-laundering practiced by the son and heir apparent of Equatorial Guinea’s dictator, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. As his nation’s minister of forestry, the younger Obiang, known as Teodorin, accumulated a fortune by forcing foreign timber companies to pay him lavish bribes, often in cash-filled suitcases.
While Washington has gotten better at shutting down terrorist financing and starving regimes like Sudan and Iran of investment, it has done little to stop sitting dictators and their families from using America to stash their assets. Until now, Washington has sent a message to friendly dictators that you can steal and terrorise your people as much as you like as long as you hold power. We’ll only seize your assets if you’re overthrown.
Going after Obiang is especially courageous because Equatorial Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer, is an important energy ally. American oil companies have billions invested there, pump virtually all of its oil and ship a good part of it to the US. Washington generally avoids the potential foreign policy fallout that comes from pressuring friendly states to clean up their acts on human rights and corruption. Yet now, a top justice department official has declared, “the United States will not be a hiding place for the ill-gotten riches of the world’s corrupt leaders.”
The US justice department’s complaint is also a crucial test, because if the United States government can’t win a case involving the Obiangs, it might as well stop trying to hold corrupt dictators accountable. The message to tyrants and oligarchs will be, “Come here and spend without fear that we’ll confiscate any of your ill-gotten gains.” Obiang’s father seized power in 1979 and is currently Africa’s longest-ruling leader. Since then, he has managed to accumulate a fortune of at least $600 million. (Meanwhile, one in three of his impoverished subjects dies before the age of 40.)
His son is infinitely greedier. In 1993, President Obiang awarded Teodorin — then 24 years old — logging concessions on nearly 90,000 acres of rainforest. The following year, he was named minister of forestry. Despite a salary of under $7,000 per month, Teodorin “spent more than $300 million”, according to the justice department, “acquiring assets and property on four continents between 2000 and 2011.”
In America, his main purchases were a $30 million Malibu estate and a $38 million private jet — not to mention more than $1 million worth of Michael Jackson memorabilia, including a white crystal-covered glove. He also bought an $80 million home in Paris, a $15 million property in Sao Paulo, nearly $6 million worth of wine, and paintings by Degas, Renoir and Gauguin.
Companies that paid him off could cut down trees wherever they liked. Companies that refused to pay bribes got kicked out of the country and had their property and equipment stolen. Despite this sordid record, legal loopholes and accommodating American attorneys and accountants have allowed Obiang to launder huge sums into the United States.
The primary legal shortcoming is that many jurisdictions — from the Cayman Islands to certain American states — don’t require companies to disclose their true beneficial owners (as opposed to their registered owners, who serve as fronts). Dictators and despots can therefore easily hide their assets: instead of buying property in their names, they instead will buy a mansion owned, for example, by a Panamanian trust controlled by a Bahamian corporation that’s run by a company registered in Lichtenstein.


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