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Another Panama dump on NZ links

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 pm, May 6th, 2016 - 80 comments
Categories: capitalism, corruption, john key, tax - Tags: , , ,

Australia’s Financial Review has just published more details of NZ’s starring role as tax haven in the Panama Papers. Here are some highlights.

The Panama Papers: Behind Mossack Fonseca’s secret New Zealand deals

On July 1 last year, opportunity came knocking for Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca: they had a new client—and a big one—ready to push $100 million into the tax-free obscurity of some New Zealand foreign trusts. That figure was just for starters, the client’s Miami lawyer promised, “only a small part of the client’s portfolio”.

The client, Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, was one of Mexico’s construction tycoons. But there was a problem. In fact there was a problem with a string of Mossack Fonseca’s clients who were coming to New Zealand, as prime minister John Key’s government has discovered, thanks to a global investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists based on 11.5 million Mossack Fonseca documents obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The roiling controversy in New Zealand triggered by the Panama Papers has focused on just one Mossack Fonseca client—an Argentinian family behind a sensitive New Zealand land purchase.

New documents obtained by The Australian Financial Reviewchallenge parts of the government’s account of the sale [emphasis added], as well as revealing other deals with a cast of controversial players ranging from senior members of the government of Malta to Panama lawyer with an outstanding arrest warrant in Brazil on money laundering charges.

In January 2009 when law firm Cone Marshall was seeking accreditation with Mossack Fonseca, Ken Whitney, of Ross & Whitney, provided a professional reference. Unusually for a professional reference in the Panama Papers files, Whitney, whose clients include Prime Minister John Key, did not address it To Whom It May Concern. He was able to cite the street address of Mossack Fonseca’s Compliance Department.

CASHING IN ON NZ’S REPUTATION

In 2013 Mossack Fonseca had been on a marketing drive, cutting its prices to build up its New Zealand office. “Chase the money,” head office in Panama urged its New Zealand staff.

WAVE OF SOUTH AMERICAN MONEY

Other clients came to Mossack Fonseca New Zealand in a steady stream. … The list runs on and on. Setting up a New Zealand trust ensured secrecy and tax advantages but it was not necessarily illegal. There are many legitimate reasons to use such services.

It came to resemble a Homeric quest, an endless odyssey to find a safe haven. All nine banks turned Schembri and Mizzi’s companies down because they were PEPs. In New Zealand the due diligence process took months but in the end they had no such problem [emphasis added].

By the end of November, as the demand for New Zealand trusts went into overdrive, with prime minster Key in Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government, unaware of the struggles to open a bank account for Schembri and Mizzi’s Panama and New Zealand holdings, and Hinojosa Cantu began steps to set up even more New Zealand trusts, there was one more problem looming.

Ruben Goldberg Javkin, the former head of the Republic National Bank of Mexico, was reorganizing his offshore holdings, which he controlled through his NZ Midtown Trust. Through November and December he was arranging for five people to be authorized to open a bank account for his new British Virgin Islands company, Schofield Company Global Limited—and the board approval was to be backdated, his intermediary requested.

One of the five was a Panamanian lawyer, Edison Teano Ernesto Rivera. An unfortunate choice. In January Rivera was targeted in Operation Triple X, a huge Brazil investigation linked to the Petrobras bribery scandal. On January 29, Brazil’s Justice Department issued an arrest warrant for Rivera on money laundering charges. Mossack Fonseca has denied any part in money laundering and there is no suggestion that Goldberg was involved. But it’s another scandal that tarnishes New Zealand’s reputation [emphasis added].

And the conclusion…

Despite Mossack Fonseca’s size elsewhere in the world, it remains a minor player in New Zealand, its files merely an indication of what may be taking place on a much larger scale with bigger operators [emphasis added]. … The question, given the damage such controversies may inflict on New Zealand’s name and its reputation for probity and transparency, is whether the exchange is worth the cost.

The material has been covered on Stuff, with this summary:

• A Mexican construction tycoon dubbed the ‘Duke of Influence’ joined a rush of foreign money into tax-free New Zealand trusts.
• Juan Armando Hinojosa Cantu, who built his fortune from billions of dollars in Mexican government contracts, was investigated for lavish housing deals with Mexican political figures.
• On July 1 last year, Cantu’s Miami lawyer said his client had “circa $US100 million” to put into three New Zealand trusts.
• Maltese investors who had been turned away from nine banks in the Caribbean, Miami and Panama eventually found a home for their money in New Zealand trusts.
• Demand for New Zealand trusts went into overdrive late last year with Mossack Fonseca staff in Panama urging New Zealand staff to “chase the money”.



Update: Remember those claims that Key’s lawyer had never dealt with Mossack Fonseca? The letter imaged in the Financial Review shows that isn’t true. The Spinoff has plenty more…

80 comments on “Another Panama dump on NZ links ”

  1. mary_a 1

    A taste of what’s to come next week perhaps?

    Seems one Mr Ken Whitney, “highly ethical” lawyer and advisor on foreign trusts etc (ie how to dodge paying tax) is up to his eyeballs in this.

    Hell no decent, honest person would want him to represent them, or be connected to him in any way …. oh wait a minute …

  2. maui 2

    New Zealand stuck in the Corruption Perception Index elevator and the lift cable just snapped.

    • Ralf Crown 2.1

      I agree, the corruption of snooping around in other people’s private business. Co-ruption actually means to work together to destroy something, and kiwis are doing well. Cooperating to rupture all trust of secrecy on New Zealand. Don’t worry, kiwis will survive, by washing the shirts for each other. Trade and investment has choices today.

  3. Reddelusion 3

    Yawn

    • ropata 3.1

      Past your bedtime young reddoofus.

    • Tricledrown 3.2

      Blue Looney a new dawn for Key fanboys John Doe referencing financial transactions going back to 1977.
      The only World leader mentioned is his leak to come is John Key.
      Shit about to hit fan boy.

    • Tricledrown 3.3

      While Malcam Turnbull adds 1,000 extra investigators to Australia’s IRD to investigate corporate corruption because the panama papers.
      Dodgy john sacks 1,500 IRD staff no plans to investigate corporate tax dodging criminals.

    • George Hendry 3.4

      Quite right, young one – if it bores you, wander off and leave the discussion of serious matters to responsible adults.

      How refreshing to have read this far into an almost completely troll – free zone. Yes, we’ve been working hard, hanging on in there in spite of. They will be back later with damage control once their dungeonmaster has scoped the damage, but meanwhile, what a nice holiday – I feel we’ve earned it.

  4. Ad 4

    Well salted popcorn!

  5. Macro 5

    But wait! There’s More!

    And overseeing all this underhand hiding of mostly ill-gotten gains – none other than Shonkey our erstwhile bankster (making sure it all remains secret and under cover – until!!! ooooops) and his highly ethical mate Ken.

  6. dave 6

    oh dear haahahah wave of south American money you just think

    new zealand isn’t a tax haven john boy has lot of explaining to do
    what next???????
    https://youtu.be/pJyQpAiMXkg

    • seeker 6.1

      Excellent comment on so many levels, not least of all the wonderful, wonderful Eric Clapton. Thanks dave.

      • linda 6.1.1

        Loved Miami vice theme good one Dave. john key is no Don Johnson where it counts hes probable a bit on the small side of that white powder !!!!!

    • Chooky 6.2

      +100 dave….jonkey smells …of corruption

  7. Ann Johns 7

    Do I detect a crack in the teflon? Quick, out with the goldilocks and scrub that crack hard.

  8. linda 8

    latest max kaiser Dr. Michael Hudson explains panama inst a county and role of the tax heaven

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Setting up a New Zealand trust ensured secrecy and tax advantages but it was not necessarily illegal. There are many legitimate reasons to use such services.

    We keep hearing that but nobody’s come up with a single legitimate reason for secret trusts.

    • Gareth 9.1

      Probably similar to the reasons to set up shell companies:

      http://interactive.fusion.net/dirty-little-secrets/images/graphic-8.f3e7833b.png

      Not sure how you embed pics.. 🙁

    • AmaKiwi 9.2

      “legitimate reasons for secret trusts”

      1. My home country is drowning in debt. I can’t be sure this government won’t arbitrarily seize 10% of my bank account, as Cyprus did recently.

      2. My home country is a dictatorship where the authorities have total access to everyone’s most private information. They do not need to know where every penny of my money is or they might do a Kim Dotcom on me and freeze everything, even money I need to pay my lawyer.

      3. Within my lifetime my home country had a “soft currency.” You had to get government approval to just get a small amount of foreign currency to make a modest trip abroad.

      Do you trust John Key? If you don’t maybe you should have a bank account away from the prying eyes of Big Brother Key.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1

        1. Not a valid reason as you were part of the problem that caused the debt. Probably something to do with those foreign trusts in the first place. Wear your fucken responsibility
        2. I’m sympathetic but still not a valid reason. Change the government. You’ll note that the US froze and confiscated KDCs assets (and a hell of a lot of other peoples in the same operation for that matter) without him being a US citizen.
        3. Nope, not a valid reason. Just pure selfishness.

        It’s not a question of trusting FJK or anyone else but about making sure that parliament is well limited in their actions and held to those limits. Our parliament can do what it pleases because we haven’t limited it.

      • Ralf Crown 9.2.2

        Just for your information.
        1. The government is arbitrary seizing your funds, it is called “tax”.
        2. All they need to take everything is a phone call. The keywords are “money laundering”, “tax evasion”, “security” or terrorism”.
        3. A very good reason to have a secret fund overseas. It is called “capital controls”
        Keep your money hidden overseas.

        • Draco T Bastard 9.2.2.1

          1. Taxes are payment for services rendered
          2. No, to do that they need to follow due process and prove it
          3. No, that’s just criminals looking for a way around the law

          • Ralf Crown 9.2.2.1.1

            1. Supposed to be that way, but it is not the way it is. I guy I know moved to Hong Kong, they still fleeced him on tax on his bank savings in New Zealand. What services rendered. How much services do you get for your petrol tax.
            2. Not true, I didn’t believe it either, until I met one top manager of NBNZ. All that is needed is a phone call. No process at all.
            3. They are certainly not going to risk coming under New Zealand rules, as corrupt as they are.

          • Ralf Crown 9.2.2.1.2

            1. Supposed to be that way, but it is not the way it is. I guy I know moved to Hong Kong, they still fleeced him on tax on his bank savings in New Zealand. What services rendered. How much services do you get for your petrol tax.
            2. Not true, I didn’t believe it either, until I met one top manager of NBNZ. All that is needed is a phone call. No process at all.
            3. They are certainly not going to risk coming under New Zealand rules, as corrupt as the rules are.

      • Ralf Crown 9.2.3

        Cyprus seized 100%, New Zealand is seizing about 40% and increasing.

    • Ralf Crown 9.3

      There are actually, and very strong reasons. Some examples. The communist Soviet union confiscated peoples belongings, and spent them. The Nazis minted the slogan “nothing to hide – nothing to fear”, give me your secret money, then the gas chamber. The China communists confiscated everything and millions died. Today confiscations are more sophisticated, it is called “tax”. In 1975 the famous writer the late Astrid Lindgren was taxed 102%, and it was correct, likewise the famous film director late Ingmar Bergman was arrested on stage during a rehearsal by police, accused of tax dodging. He was proven innocent in lengthy court proceedings. If you saved for your retirement, like Kiwi saver, in Norway, and immigrate to New Zealand, New Zealand will confiscate your savings. In Sweden, pensioners pay extra taxes on their pension savings and extra taxes on their income if they work. Tax is officially 52% average, but in reality 60% to 80%. A man I interviewed put his entire inheritance into a nice home in New Zealand, many generations of hard works savings. His wife saw the opportunity, filed for divorce, and made off with the loot, half his money. There are good reasons for secret trusts.

      • whateva next? 9.3.1

        Oh to have that much money to worry about! (after working for 30+ years before you presume) I can’t help it sorry….cry me a river R.C

        • Ralf Crown 9.3.1.1

          You don’t have much money after 30 years of saving, you can’t save in New Zealand, it all goes to taxes.

          • whateva next? 9.3.1.1.1

            No I have just earned a health service wage and had 2 children who now need support to get by in university (damp rentals, hardly any p/t jobs, student allowance not covering basic living, stress making study hard, mould making them sick etc)
            Stunningly average worker actually.
            (I do pay Kiwisaver)

  10. linda 10

    gee wizz legitimate reason for secret trusts hiding all that nose Candy for el bandito and new zealand is there to facilitate

  11. Keith 11

    After the past 7 and a half years this is not surprising. Our country was once ethical and straight up. Thanks to the sleeze that is the National Party and their accommodation of the wealthy that Key and others are a part of, we not only look like dodgy corrupt scum, we are!

    This is the trouble electing rich bastatrds to government, they didn’t get rich being ethical or moral or honest! They are a disease.

    • Mosa 11.1

      You nailed it Keith!

    • North 11.2

      Keith…….not a word wasted !

    • Chooky 11.3

      +100…”Our country was once ethical and straight up”…before jonkey nactional

    • Draco T Bastard 11.4

      We cannot afford the rich

      • Ralf Crown 11.4.1

        Don’t worry, with the present attitude, they are getting out as fast as they can, and taking their business with them.

    • Henry Filth 11.5

      Oh, I think that New Zealand has been plagued with dodgy corrupt scum for far longer than the current National Party has been in power.

      • Pat 11.5.1

        that may well be so….however at least in the past they were dispatched when caught..this lot have given new meaning to the phrase blatant disregard

        • AmaKiwi 11.5.1.1

          “New Zealand has been plagued with dodgy corrupt scum for far longer than the current National Party”

          “at least in the past they were dispatched when caught”

          But there was no one to catch them.

          • Pat 11.5.1.1.1

            to whom do you refer?…
            politicians?
            wealthy tax evaders?
            money launderers?
            big business?
            all of the above?

            • mikes 11.5.1.1.1.1

              Jones, Fay, Richwhite, Brierly, Fletcher, Renouf, Hawkins, Trotter, etc,etc,etc.

              None of those scumbags has done any time.

              • Macro

                Don’t forget Kiwi Keith and his huge rort of Kinleith. A lovely little nest egg he made for himself at public expense.

              • Ralf Crown

                Right, have you thought of why. “Business”, to me at least, is something like engineers or farmers, who create something that can be sold and exported, business is trading which is exporting, to trade you must pay and receive money, money must be able flow freely. The rules prevent most of real business, or make it so hard that it will not work, so that leaves the playing field open for those who can evade the rules, as beancounters and lawyers, they don’t do any business, they are just parasiting on what would be business, and falsely call themselves “businessmen”. If you remove the obstructing rules these people have got in place with rhetoric as “money laundering” or “terrorist financing” you could wipe out the deficit quickly, but the parasites would be unemployed, so they continue with the rhetoric that we all the time must strengthen the rules that keep them fat and wealthy. Anyone start to understand the system.

            • AmaKiwi 11.5.1.1.1.2

              @ Pat

              I can easily name a dozen businessmen who have done very shady things and received knighthoods.

              Now you name ONE white collar crime fighter who has received an honor of any kind. Name just one.

              Successive governments have made sure we don’t have competent, qualified, well-paid, properly resourced prosecutors to catch white collar criminals.

              No investigators = no criminals.

              • Pat

                Dont deny that for a moment….my point was under the current administration that has not simply occurred it has increasingly been facillitated …..feted even

              • Draco T Bastard

                +1

      • Xanthe 11.5.2

        Very true

    • Rosemary McDonald 11.6

      @Keith

      “Our country was once ethical and straight up.”

      Depends on who you were.

      The Human Rights Review Tribunal case that led to this….http://pundit.co.nz/content/i-think-national-just-broke-our-constitution

      …began when Labour was in power.

      Labour could have sorted the issue fairly and equitably…but they didn’t.

      Why not?

      I will personally never trust Labour as the Great Hope to save us from the clutches of the corrupt incumbents…until they address the seriously dodgy shit they did during the run up to the HRRT of that case.

    • Anno1701 11.7

      “they didn’t get rich being ethical or moral or honest! They are a disease.” more like parasites getting bloated of the blood of the host….

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 11.8

      +1

  12. seeker 12

    Spot on Pat. Each member of the government almost falling over themselves to emulate their adored leader in his skilled art of blatant disregard for….anything, other than money. Those who are best at learning this dark art or those who already had it incubating in November 2008, rise to the top of the national heap, and land in cabinet.

    • Ralf Crown 12.1

      As North Korea, in the South Pacific. Love your leader, he is the God.

  13. Adrian 13

    But God help you if you pay an out of work immigrant a cashie to tile your bathroom.
    Capital offence that, 20 years at least.

  14. “Tax avoidance was only the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t really realize how much bigger the problem is.

    Really what wealth managers do extend much more generally to law avoidance. And that creates problems of legitimacy for whole governments. It’s bad enough that people think they are getting shafted because the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes: it’s quite another thing when you say there is one law for the rich and one for everyone else . . . That is the sort of thing that can potentially topple governments and lead to crises in politics.” John Christensen, Associate Professor of Copenhagen Business School

    Listen to the entire interview

  15. NZJester 15

    It gets worse as the latest NZ Herald news story is “Man who leaked Panama Papers singles out Prime Minister John Key”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11635183
    The fact the our PM has been singled out for special attention in his published manifesto, shows just how deep John Key is in the middle of this murky mess.

    I have also read in past news stories before this scandal blew up that before becoming NZ PM John Key was also meant to have been one of those responsible for setting up Ireland as a tax haven. The place used by the world biggest tax dodging company Apple.

  16. Jack Ramaka 16

    Country has a history of corruption however it is seen as legal and above board as it is highly respected white men committing the fraud being sanctioned by the Government and the NZ Judiciary.

    Ever since the Wakefield Brothers and the NZ Company came to NZ, we have had systemic fraud here in NZ, however it is deemed to be legal commercial activity and is sanctioned by the Crown and the NZ Judiciary ?

    Time for the Governor General to step in and be responsible for once?

    • Adrian 16.1

      I don,t think the Wakefields even got here, arms length stuff and all that. By the way has JK ever been to the Cooks ?
      170 years on and the modus operandi is still the same.

      • Adrian 16.1.1

        My mistake, (doh, check your facts dipstick) the dodgyWakefields did make it here, but then went into politics, no surprises there.

  17. Wayne 17

    It is worth recollecting how foreign trusts actually work.

    Neither the owner of the funds, nor the funds themselves can be in New Zealand. Otherwise they would be taxed in New Zealand.

    A typical example would be a Russian oligarch or Mexican tycoon who has purchased British Treasury bonds. In such a situation the interest on the bonds would not be taxed in Britain. In fact that is typical of govt bonds worldwide when they are owned by nonresident foreigners. The Russian/Mexican also wants the legal ownership vehicle not to be in his/her own country. In Russia, if you are a mate of Putin, this seems to have official blessing.

    So a foreign trust is established in New Zealand. In trust law that means the owner of the bonds transfers legal ownership to the trustee. But the beneficial ownership remains with the Russian/Mexican and his family. Any disbursement of the interest to the beneficial owner should be taxed in their own country.

    Certainly that would be the case of any New Zealander receiving income from a foreign trust. Anything else is likely to be tax evasion, but who knows how the Russian/Mexican authorities operate.

    Now it is a legitimate debate as to whether we want this sort of operation occurring using New Zealand foreign trusts. Many would argue it is not worth the reputational risk. Why do we want to help out Russian oligarchs and Mexican tycoons?

    • Gangnam Style 17.1

      “Why do we want to help out Russian oligarchs and Mexican tycoons?” For anonymous political donations would be my guess.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      Neither the owner of the funds, nor the funds themselves can be in New Zealand.

      So that would mean that there’s no point in them being in NZ unless it’s to evade legal obligations elsewhere.

      Why do we want to help out Russian oligarchs and Mexican tycoons?

      Why don’t you ask John Key and the rest of this government? They’re the ones who set it up so that we could with no questions asked.

      • Ralf Crown 17.2.1

        “unless it’s to evade legal obligations elsewhere.” Yes – true, legal obligations as those in North Korea, and many more rouge regimes. In the good old days it was called “confiscation”, now it is just called “tax”.

    • reason 17.3

      It’s worth recalling how Wayne is just a racist warmonger …… http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/search?q=mapp%2Bwar

      I’ll try and put up a link to waynes work when I see the shit posting here …….

      The purpose is to use him to advertise his own CV ….

      The more he posts the more people can learn about him ………….

      I hope you are proud of your shitty work wayne.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, actually I’m sure you are.

  18. DoublePlusGood 18

    What happens if we just confiscate all the money that is in the blind trusts as being proceeds of crime? Should throw hundreds of millions of dollars into our coffers. It would be Bill English’s easiest way to get rid of any deficit in the budget, that’s for sure.

    • Jack Ramaka 18.1

      Good way to pay off some of the $120 Billion Deficit JK has borrowed since coming to office.

    • Ralf Crown 18.2

      We cant because the money is not in New Zealand, it is just the trust that owns the overseas bank account that is in New Zealand. New Zealand banks are well known to be unsafe and untrustworthy, many bureaucrats can just confiscate money without any court action, and all that is needed to freeze funds is a telephone call from a lawyer. The money is actually sitting in safe banks in safe places in other countries. Never trust a Kiwi. The trustees and lawyers who can sign for the account are also overseas, so if Big Brother criminal confiscator is sniffing around, the money take flight to another account under another trust in another country. There is win all for New Zealand or loose all. As it is now, and has been for a long time, Kiwis are loosing because they are snoopers that cant be trusted, so the money, investment – trade – etc go elsewhere. If we are going to win, lower taxes to common people, increase welfare, we must be seen as safe and secret. It is not so now.

  19. Ralf Crown 19

    Talking to several of my regular contacts and sources in Asia, the real problem for New Zealand is already starting to build. The fundamentals for business and trade is called privacy and secrecy, free trade means free money flow, one does not exist without the other. What business fear most is uncertainty, but that is what New Zealand now are producing, fear and uncertainty in business. Can we trust New Zealand, it does not look so now. Is the country full of proverbial little old lady bitches sitting behind the laced curtain with a pair of binoculars looking for the next juicy piece of financial destructive gossip? It certainly looks so. In real business centres as Switzerland or Hong Kong there are no loose lips biting the hands that feed, business. The New Zealand trade deficit is ballooning, and has done so for a long time, it will be worse now. Remember – a “tax haven” is the opposite of a “tax hell”, which one will trade and business thrive in, and which one would it flee. Think again.

    • Gangnam Style 19.1

      Laughed out loud at that one, “tax hell’, nice one!

      edit; Actually had to look up the opposite of ‘haven’ & got “beginning, source, start” back. The opposite of ‘hell’ is ‘heaven’ so maybe you and your ‘contacts’ are confused?

      edit 2;& got this “an antonym for haven would be non-sheltered or exposed.” – so bring it on!

      • Ralf Crown 19.1.1

        You may not know, but the two expressions and antonyms “tax hell” and “tax haven” are actually pretty well established idioms around the world in these debates. A tax haven is a place where you get value for your money spent, a tax hell is a place where government confiscate maximum of what your produce, and waste it. I guess you just illustrated how backwards and retarded New Zealand is

    • Draco T Bastard 19.2

      The fundamentals for business and trade is called privacy and secrecy, free trade means free money flow, one does not exist without the other.

      That’s because they like to avoid paying taxes and generally ripping everyone else off. It’s the only way to get rich after all.

      Your continued support of crime and corruption is truly amazing.

      • Ralf Crown 19.2.1

        I understand it is amazing to you, to rename “business” to “crime and corruption” will serve the deficit and faltering life and life style in new Zealand well. Many more kiwis will have to make the choice between “heat or eat” in the future.

    • Don't worry. Be happy 19.3

      To Ralf Crown and co….the businesses you champion, so reliant upon secrecy and political control, neither NZ nor Mother Earth can tolerate a moment longer. Thanks to the courage of the Panama Papers leaker and the journos and media outlets who brought it out into the sunlight maybe there will be a way forward without the Billionaires fouling our future.

      • Ralf Crown 19.3.1

        Just so sad that your noble thought in reality are destroying the confidence and life in New Zealand and that trade and investments will move elsewhere. New Zealand will not be able to change the colour of the sun and rearrange the stars, what New Zealand can do is act to attract business, investment and investors, not scare them off, now we are even getting poorer and poorer with more debt.

  20. Drowsy M. Kram 20

    Who has time for secrecy and tax havens when it comes to legitimate income and assets? I’d prefer the strict enforcement of a transparent, fair tax system.

    Income tax is a godsend. Paid for my healthcare, education, safety (police, rescue services), recreation (conservation of national parks, water quality, roads), and has (indirectly) made life richer in ways beyond counting. The money to sustain these and many other public services comes (largely) from a combination of tax and government borrowing. It really would make sense to sharply curtail legal tax avoidance options so that everyone pays their fair share. This might slow the rise in Government debt which looks increasingly like a Greek tragedy.

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