US-Luxembourg FATCA treaty signing ceremony Embassy report: On Friday (note: March 28) Ambassador Mandell and Finance Minister Gramegna signed The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, an agreement which introduces reporting requirements for foreign banks with respect to certain accounts held by U.S. taxpayers. This reporting will help increase transparency and reduce tax evasion. According to Ambassador Mandell, "By working together to detect, deter and discourage offshore tax abuses through increased transparency and enhanced reporting, we can help to [...]
In an article today, the Wall Street Journal carries a lengthy report about BNP Paribas' problems with the US Justice Department and regulators. It is an elaboration on former news, where the bank faces allegations of doing business with sanctioned entities, such as Iran or Cuba. In the time frame of 2 months, expectations about possible fines went from $1.1 billion, to $5 billion to now more than $10 billion. That is $10,000,000,000. The bank is expected to withstand that [...]
Quotes from the South China Morning Post: "The bonds, the first to be listed in the euro zone by a Chinese firm, will be issued by BOC’s Luxembourg branch and carry a maturity of three years. Luxembourg is the third city outside China where the state-backed bank has chosen to issue an offshore yuan bond." Note: The three cities are London, Singapore and Luxembourg.
The Wall Street Journal reports: "The Paris-based lender said Thursday it set aside $1.1 billion for possible violation of laws, in particular those of the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, related to transactions dating from 2002 to 2009." A violation of the only OFAC list costs an arm and a leg. Though this investigation covers a time period before 2010, it is amazing that still today financial institutions treat this risk with benign neglect. Or worse, that willfully [...]
US Treasury fines Luxembourg Firm for Skirting Iran Sanctions Clearstream Banking S.A. settled with the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) over the allegations to have violated US Iran sanctions regulations. According to the Miami Herald: "Clearstream provided the Government of Iran with substantial and unauthorized access to the US financial system", OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin said in a statement. Clearstream Banking will pay $152 million in a settlement according to the linked settlement agreement.
Make that $326,000,000 After 22 years (!) the liquidation process was closed. Wrongfully? A Luxembourg court will tell. Remarkably, against the odds and expert advice, a large percentage of the nominal moneys were retrieved. If successful, these additional funds might get recuperated. About 250,000 clients in 70 (+) countries were victims of the "Bank of Crooks and Criminals". BCCI victims pursue extra £200M payout
A tax break that helps companies to make profit from loss Written by Oman Observer This article by Tom Bergin is presently making its round across the universe, probably through some syndication agreement. Of all places, this is a link to the "Oman Daily Observer". The main focus is on what sounds like a magic formula, and is summarized here in the article: "The rule, which dates back to World War Two, helps companies save hundreds of millions of dollars [...]
A Tax Justice Network compilation, from a Latin American angle. The numbers are staggering, and though G20 gets a reputation of doing nothing, I beg to differ a bit. G20 will act more and more, because governments spend more than they take in. They need the money! However it will take a long time. Remember how slowly they acted on global financial crimes, such as money laundering, or corruption? FATF standards, (the Financial Action Task Force of OECD), find broad [...]
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Luxembourg's AAA rating, and pointed out Luxembourg's relatively good performance in GDP growth. Several statements indicate the key spots that will be considered in future assessments: Luxembourg's greater volatility due to the reliance on financial services and its risks The total balance sheet of the financial sector is 70X GDP, though this is not indicative of potential risks. Luxembourg's debt and Eurozone liabilities are increasing Future social security liabilities and costs, though known but ignored and [...]
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were sentenced to 20 months in prison for tax evasion by an Italian court. 20 months in the cabana is no dolce vita. The good news: there will be appeals, and even if that fails, it will be mostly a sentence of "house arrest". However it has been a nightmare for both designers. It is also a dubious public relations event for Luxembourg. Indeed the tax evasion, or was it "optimization", occurred through a Luxembourg [...]