This will die a nэtural death just like every scandal that surrounds this government. Corruption is rife and endemic. The stench is disgusting.
Winston Peters exposes the lies of PM John Key
The Secret Dossier: Helen Clark isn’t the story – Key’s fear of Trust exposure is
6 April, 2016
Helen Clarke’s nomination for a job she has worked her entire political career for is as predictable as Key’s mute response to tax havens and far less important.
Don’t get me wrong, I would be thrilled if Helen became the next head of the UN, but her final formal candidacy is as unsurprising as Paul Henry sexually teasing a female co-worker live on air.
Key’s response to being a tax haven is simply astounding – he says his responsibility is that kiwis pay tax -not foreigners using NZ to hide tax. It’s perplexing that our Prime Minister’s response to the largest ever leak of tax avoiders and criminal organisations is a mere shrug.
National’s current spin is that it was a Labour Party law from 1988 so it’s not his problem and he hasn’t built a tax haven.
Key ignored warnings in 2010 and 2013 that our Trusts were a concern. He’s done nothing to remedy that. He has built a tax haven by simply allowing a leaky law he had been warned about to stand.
The question is has Key himself benefitted from this? The Icelandic PM has been caught out having a trust in the very banks he was supposed to be legislating against. Does John Key have a conflict of interest in keeping trust law murky because he has two ‘blind’ trusts?
Here’s where the issue gets interesting. Speaking with sources inside the Labour Party, Helen Clarke while still as Prim Minister, called together a senior group of Labour Party MPs to put together a dossier on Key. She wanted to know who Key was and how this unassuming currency shark who made his money betting against the NZ currency had suddenly appeared on the political stage.
The rumour then was that Key was actually worth $200million. The group around Key had conducted opinion poll research asking how much was too much for an individual to have before the amount of money made the candidate seem untrustworthy. The options were $50 million, $100 million, $150 million and $200 million. People overwhelmingly selected $50million. After this Key appears as a candidate with a wealth estimated at $50million.
If Key has used these mechanisms to hide his own wealth, they will be buried somewhere within those Panama Papers.
Foreign trusts hiding darker secrets than tax avoidance, says expert
5 April, 2016
Foreign trusts are being used for much worse things than tax avoidance, a money laundering expert believes.
Ron Pol, who is a former president of the Corporate Lawyers Association, said he assumed the majority of the 11,645 foreign trusts operating in New Zealand were legitimate.
But he said he would not be surprised if thousands were engaged in tax evasion or some other form of illicit activity.
At one end of the spectrum, some would be laundering money for drug cartels, he believed.
Pol previously managed litigation for Telecom, now Spark, and is undertaking a doctorate in money laundering in Queensland.
"My guess would be probably most of [the trusts] are legitimate. The next big chunk is probably tax evasion.
"After that it is your oligarchs hiding their wealth, and then there will be money-laundering by criminal organisations," he said.
While the number of trusts at the latter end of the spectrum might be smaller in number, they might be high in volume with regard to the value of the funds they were processing, he said.
Pol voiced his concerns as the Government appeared to accept it might have to change the laws that govern foreign trusts.
Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse said the Government "wouldn't rule out changes" to rules that let foreigners set up trusts in New Zealand while providing minimal information to Inland Revenue.
But he indicated it wanted to wait for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development to first complete a report.
Pol said criminals involved in drugs and human trafficking generated the greatest amount of illicit funds.
But the criminals who had set up trusts in New Zealand were more likely to be involved in large-scale cartels, corruption and professional "trade-based" money-laundering.
One New Zealand trust has already been associated with Unaoil, a Monaco company under investigation for helping multinationals bribe oil ministers and officials in the Middle East.
Woodhouse and Prime Minister John Key had said the OECD had "looked at our foreign trust rules in the past and had no concerns".
Labour leader Andrew Little said an OECD report published in 2013 showed that was incorrect.
The report said improvements might be needed to laws and regulations to ensure that people who owned shares in companies could be identified where those shares were held by nominees.
The OECD in Paris has been contacted for comment.
What is the problem with foreign trusts?
There are 11,645 foreign trusts in New Zealand. There are concerns many are being used by foreigners to avoid tax overseas and for money-laundering.
Why are they in the spotlight now?
The leaked so-called "Panama Papers" show Malta government officials set up a trust in NZ as part of a complex global chain of companies. Unaoil, a Monaco company being investigated for bribery in the oil industry, also appears to have used an NZ trust to mask its activities.
Are NZ's rules governing foreign trusts weak?
Foreigners can set up trusts here without disclosing their own identity or submitting details of what the trusts are used for. Auckland University law professor Michael Littlewood says NZ's rules surrounding foreign trusts are the loosest in the OECD.