The company led by the American billionaire Koch brothers, along with dozens of banks and fund managers, kept billions of dollars in profit fromBernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme in accounts offshore. As it turns out, that was a good decision.
Koch Industries and others who invested in the Madoff fund from offshore accounts won a key ruling in federal bankruptcy court on Monday, when the judge said certain funds held abroad — estimated at about $2 billion — could not be made available to victims of the Madoff scheme.
The ruling highlights the tug-of-war that has been raging between those who lost money when the scheme fell apart eight years ago and those who walked away before the fraud came to light, having recouped their original investments and then some.
New revelations published today by theInternational Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaperSüddeutsche Zeitung and news organizations from Europe, South America, Asia and Africa reveal fresh information about offshore companies in the Bahamas.
Alongside detailed reporting, ICIJ, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners are making details from the Bahamas corporate registry available to the public. This creates, for the first time, a free, online and publicly-searchable registry of offshore companies set up in the island nation that has sometimes been called “The Switzerland of the West.”
“We see it as a service to the public to make this basic kind of information openly available,” said Gerard Ryle, the director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
“There is much evidence to suggest that where you have secrecy in the offshore world you have the potential for wrong doing. So let’s eliminate the secrecy.”
The cache of documents from the island nation’s corporate registry provides names of directors and some owners of more than 175,000 Bahamian companies, trusts and foundations registered between 1990 and early 2016.
The leaked Bahamian files reveal details of the offshore activities of prime ministers, ministers, princes and convicted felons.
Tax authorities have started sending letters to over 600 Pakistanis, who, according to the Panama Papers, own offshore companies, though chances of recovering due taxes from them are slim owing to legal lacunae.
“This week, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has begun the process of sending letters to hundreds of Pakistanis who have been named in the Panama Papers,” said FBR spokesperson Dr Mohammad Iqbal on Saturday.
“These people have been requested to confirm whether they own these offshore companies or not,” he added. The letters have been sent under Section 176 of the Income Tax Ordinance, which empowers tax officials to seek information about any transaction. However, the penalty for not giving information under Section 176 is mere Rs25,000.
The decision to send notices to about 600 Pakistanis coincided with Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf’s ‘Pakistan March’ against the government over alleged corruption and delay in taking action against those who have been named in the Panama Papers.
GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump sent shudders through US foreign policy circles and the international community this week, when he suggested that, as president, he might not fulfill America’s promises to defend NATO members against a Russian attack. That departure from historical American policies, and Republican wisdom, came days after the Trump campaign reportedly softened the GOP platform’s hardline stance against pro-Russian rebels fighting to control Ukraine.
Those moves were less surprising to critics of Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who for more than a decade has cultivated business ties to pro-Russian politicians and industrialists in Ukraine.
Now, Fusion has learned that the names of several of Manafort’s connections appear in shell company records from the notorious Panama Papers and the Offshore Leaks, troves of information on offshore companies unearthed in recent years by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Netflix is looking for its Spotlight.
The Los Gatos-based streaming service announced Tuesday that it is tackling the definitive story behind The Panama Papers, which some deem the biggest leak in the history of journalism.
The leak released 2.6 terabytes of data in 11.5 million documents tracking billions of dollars over almost 40 years. In the process, world leaders, athletes and celebrities around the globe were implicated.
More than 370 journalists from more than 100 media outlets in almost 80 countries around the world worked on the story, but it was German journalists Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer — and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists — that took the lead.
Netflix has acquired the rights to Obermaier and Obermayer’s book The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money
HELSINKI (AP) — The Nordic region’s largest bank said Wednesday it will close 68 accounts at its Luxembourg branch as it adopts tougher rules on clients using offshore companies.
Nordea Bank has carried out an internal investigation after Swedish broadcaster SVT, one of hundreds of media with access to leaked documents detailing offshore accounts, reported that Nordea’s Luxembourg unit worked with Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca to help customers set up shell companies.
Bernard Madoff’s feeder funds show up in the Panama Papers
2 other managers who used offshores to hide assets find themselves in jail
One fund manager says there is room for more transparency
The kinds of secret offshore companies that have hidden political corruption and tax evasion around the world are often used by Wall Street’s biggest money makers — the $2 trillion hedge fund industry.
The now-famous Panama Papers leak offers rare insight into the workings of this exclusive investment club.
Hedge funds accept individual investors with net worths of $1 million or more and worker pension funds with $5 million or more. They and their investors often locate in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands or the British Virgin Islands.
The names found in the leaked files from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca include two now-imprisoned hedge fund managers, a major “feeder fund” that was part of the largest-ever Ponzi scheme run by Bernard Madoff and several anonymous investors whose offshore companies became tangled in the Madoff web.
In the aftermath of the Madoff scandal and the 2008 U.S. financial crisis, hedge funds have been forced to register with regulators, and they face severe penalties under a new “bad actor rule” if they take money from criminals or proceeds of corruption.“Most financial institutions do require considerable information on investors” today, said Robert Van Grover, an attorney with Seward & Kissel LLP in New York who thought the abuses found in the Panama Papers “would be very difficult in the United States” now.
But the hedge fund managers and their investors identified in the leaked documents by McClatchy and partners underscore what has been a weakness in oversight: They often used secret offshore companies, which hid investor fraud and potentially unsavory investors from U.S. regulators.