This morning starts off with an entirely different wave of events. Brexit is turning out to the two teams misrepresenting issues as much as possible, many of these representations are about scaremongering. The NHS is going on and on and on and other views are given. In both cases I agree with some parts, I disagree with loads of it (from my point of view with decent evidence). Yet all this we would have overlooked almost half a dozen articles. The story is only the smallest part of it. What is massively interesting that there is for a chosen few a job available! It is not glamorous, you will be frowned upon, but consider a job that will get you a 7 figure income (after a while), a decent house, possible tropical views a few times a year. In this day and age? Who would not accept that? Perhaps the single ideological man or woman, but that leaves a few million people, all ready to accept a position with the glamorous firm of Mossack Fonseca, a panama based law firm, with services on a global scale. Clients like Russian President Vladimir Putin (allegedly). They operate in tax havens including Switzerland, Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, and in the British crown dependencies Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. I would love a nice job on Guernsey, a nice house, retirement at some point. I am a Trade Marks attorney, one that would love to get an additional degree in finance if that gives me a good job with Mossack Fonseca, is that not what you saw?
The first article ‘What are the Panama Papers? A guide to the biggest leak in history‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/03/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-panama-papers), assisting the rich and famous store their wealth in tax havens. You see, this is all legal, this is not FIFA screwing its soccer fans over breaking ethical boundaries. This is all thankful to a multitude of short-sighted politicians (or really clever ones depending on your point of view) who enabled options in their tax homes. The article ‘used lawfully to anonymously hold property and bank accounts, these companies were registered in a range of tax havens and this map shows the most popular locations among its clients. The British Virgin Islands held more than 100,000 companies‘, so you would not be breaking the law. You just have to accept that some people pay (a lot) less taxation. After 30 year I have clearly seen and learned that living morally correct will get you a one bedroom apartment in the suburbs, a place you will not be able to pay off before you die. So as morality is not a legal requirement, as all this work is perfectly legal, why not?
This is all coming to light because of a leak, someone (as stated by the Guardian) got a hold of 2.6 terabytes of data. The quote is literally “There are 11.5m documents and 2.6 terabytes of information drawn from Mossack Fonseca’s internal database“, which implies that the facts were discovered through criminal activities. This means that Mossack Fonseca might have a case against those perpetrators. Another interesting quote is “Using offshore structures is entirely legal. There are many legitimate reasons for doing so“, so why not become a service provider here?
On the other side there is the quote “In a speech last year in Singapore, David Cameron said “the corrupt, criminals and money launderers” take advantage of anonymous company structures. The government is trying to do something about this. It wants to set up a central register that will reveal the beneficial owners of offshore companies“, which is equally valid. Mossack Fonseca stated: “it complies with anti-money-laundering laws and carries out thorough due diligence on all its clients. It says it regrets any misuse of its services and tries actively to prevent it. The firm says it cannot be blamed for failings by intermediaries, who include banks, law firms and accountants“, this gives us another side too. When we consider banks we can consider Barclays (Libor 2012), Marcus Agius, former chairman of Barclays, resigned from his position over it. He’s sitting pretty being amongst others on the board of the BBC. Now, there is no evidence that he was directly involved, but it happened under his nose (so to speak), with a few exceptions most got out with their bonus intact and this was a legal transgression, so why would anyone not want to work for Mossack Fonseca, who is not breaking any laws?
When we consider law firms we should consider the news form the Independent in 2013 where we see: “The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) knew six years ago that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance were hiring private investigators to break the law and further their commercial interests, the report reveals, yet the agency did next to nothing to disrupt the unlawful trade” (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/the-other-hacking-scandal-suppressed-report-reveals-that-law-firms-telecoms-giants-and-insurance-8669148.html) and when we see the word ‘accountant’ I think Tesco and Pricewaterhouse Coopers. For example the quote I used “Tesco paid PwC £10.4m in the last financial year – plus another £3.6m for other consultancy work“ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2014/09/30/thriving-team-tesco/) in the article ‘Thriving Team Tesco?‘, where again the case of wrongdoing should be regarded as more likely than not, so why would we not consider perfectly legal work at Mossack Fonseca?
Let’s not forget that the governments on a global scale are enabling this to get some tax revenue. Consider that the British Virgin Islands have 100,000 companies, without them, how much taxation would have been collected? It is a mere case of need and availability.
For example, a fictive person goes to His Excellency John Duncan and states: “Sir, if you offer us a favourable tax option, the option would be open to bring industry and taxable revenue in access of $1,000,000,000. Would you be willing to consider a low taxation plan?” to this the governor would respond “My dear man, we have no profit tax and no corporation tax!”
So how long until the big boys move a few billion to a place like that?
We seem to find time to worry about ethical issues, when the installed governments in Europe have yet to show a mere accountable bone in their bodies for overspending trillions. We seem to be ignoring the obvious. Even if this was illegal, how many banker have gone to prison from 2004 onwards? This is not illegal, this is a mere application of true globalisation. In addition, consider that offshore companies and offshore trusts are in most cases taken out of the view of taxation to begin with, so why not employ this option?
You see, the part that is in the middle of all this is not answered, it is skated around. No one seems to care on HOW the information was gotten at. The quote “2.6 terabytes of information drawn from Mossack Fonseca’s internal database” implies hacking. This does not mean that it could not have been facilitated by internal sources. Such an amount of data does not just easily download, so either someone got access and mirrored a drive, which implies that the server was accessible, what is more likely (read: speculation), is that this is one of the first cloud hacks. To have such a large environment, so global gives the option that data was in the cloud and someone was able to access it. This morning IT Pro had the following quote (at http://www.itpro.co.uk/data-leakage/26293/panama-papers-leaked-through-server-hack-1). “it had opened an investigation after discovering that “unfortunately” it had suffered “an attack on its email server” and that it is taking “all necessary measures to prevent this from happening again“, which could be the case. My issue here is that from a server, getting access to that much data should either be noticed (bandwidth), or it was internal (read: facilitated). When we consider the e-mail data overall, there is nothing that raises flags. Oh yes, there is! That much data with a truckload of attachments gives food for thought. Even as we consider no criminal acts have been undertaken, one would try to secure that much data. Perhaps this was done, but how was so much data gained?
In my view, encrypted UNIX servers would have required massive amounts of time to access and a good IT team always keeps one eye on their servers. Fortune quoted “Mossack Fonseca is calling the 11.5 million leaked documents a “limited” breach” (at http://fortune.com/2016/04/04/panama-papers-law-firm/), which is also likely, yet in all that if that was limited, yet fortune gives us one quote the Guardian would be unlikely to state “It appears that you have had unauthorized access to proprietary documents and information taken from our company and have presented and interpreted them out of context“, now that part will be close to impossible to prove, because the Guardian clearly stated “Using offshore structures is entirely legal”
No matter how this plays out, it seems to me that politicians on a global scale will start playing their ‘hypocrisy card’. Which is another laughing matter altogether. I cannot predict how this will officially play out, but they do have a website at http://www.mossfon.com/ and they are also in Trade Marks, so I should see what my options are. For you the reader, especially those with a degree in wealth management. I suggest you send your resume to:
The MF Group
54th Street, Marbella
Panama, Rep. of Panama
You could also go to web page: http://www.mossfon.com/about_service/careers/, if you want to post your resume online!
Let’s not forget, these people have not broken any laws (at present).
Have a fun day and dream of a life without debt in a place you could never have afforded in any other legal way.