Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Are any ALEC legislators on those lists?

Center for Public Integrity  |  Posted: 04/03/2013 6:01 pm EDT  |  Updated: 04/03/2013 6:56 pm EDT
Dozens of journalists sifted through millions of leaked records and thousands of names to produce ICIJ’s investigation into offshore secrecy

By Gerard Ryle, Marina Walker Guevara, Michael Hudson, Nicky Hager, Duncan Campbell and Stefan Candea

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.

The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways.

They include American doctors and dentists and middle-class Greek villagers as well as families and associates of long-time despots, Wall Street swindlers, Eastern European and Indonesian billionaires, Russian corporate executives, international arms dealers and a sham-director-fronted company that the European Union has labeled as a cog in Iran’s nuclear-development program.

I wonder if there are any ALEC legislators on those lists?

Canadians may be interested in this snip:

Tony Merchant, one of Canada’s top class-action lawyers, took extra steps to maintain the privacy of a Cook Islands trust that he’d stocked with more than $1 million in 1998, the documents show.

In a filing to Canadian tax authorities, Merchant checked “no” when asked if he had foreign assets of more than $100,000 in 1999, court records show.

Between 2002 and 2009, he often paid his fees to maintain the trust by sending thousands of dollars in cash and traveler’s checks stuffed into envelopes rather than using easier-to-trace bank checks or wire transfers, according to documents from the offshore services firm that oversaw the trust for him.

One file note warned the firm’s staffers that Merchant would “have a st[r]oke” if they tried to communicate with him by fax.

It is unclear whether his wife, Pana Merchant, a Canadian senator, declared her personal interest in the trust on annual financial disclosure forms. Under legislative rules, she had to disclose every year to the Senate’s ethics commissioner that she was a beneficiary of the trust, but the information was confidential.

The Merchants declined requests for comment.

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