One News has a scoop this morning:
Panama Papers: Kiwi trust rules help exiled Kazakh leader keep luxury London mansion
The details are complex and not likely to attract much excitement in NZ, but once again we have been shown to be involved in dirty money laundering. The conclusion:
London based anti-corruption agency Global Witness has found London’s high-end property market is a go-to destination to give questionable funds from the oil-rich nation a veneer of respectability – including large tracts of the capital’s famous Baker Street.
New Zealand’s loose disclosure rules means foreigners behind trusts and companies can stay secret, because they don’t have to be declared. But Global Witness campaigner Eleanor Nicol says it’s a risk to the country’s reputation.
“We have certainly come across cases of New Zealand registered companies being used for sanctions busting and money laundering.”…
Mind you, there are plenty of NZ venues for this sort of thing that don’t involve Mossack Fonseca. Jared Savage this morning in The Herald:
Kim Dotcom, China’s 5th most wanted man and the wealthy Nat donors
A wealthy National Party donor described one of China’s most wanted fugitives as his “best friend” and deals where millions of dollars’ worth of shares in Kim Dotcom’s Mega changed hands are being investigated by police, court documents reveal.
He allegedly stole $129 million in his homeland and concealed the fortune in New Zealand through complex money laundering transactions, according to police, while forging political links to support his controversial citizenship bid.
One transaction is alleged to have been a $2.3 million sum “filtered” through Auckland’s SkyCity casino to buy an apartment in the Metropolis tower with cash, while large shareholdings in Kim Dotcom’s Mega were held by trusts and companies in other people’s names. …
Filtered through Key’s good buddies the SkyCity casino – what a shocker.
Expect NZ to fall in the next corruption index.
Update: for more along the same lines see Nelson’s stock exchange, ‘a big Ponzi scheme,’ and other tales from John Key’s offshore financial services centre – ht Karen in comments.