watch the master cheats-lawyers (not required 2 report SARS) move $$ IRS should go after these folks https://t.co/JNswBNCyMi …
— U.S. Expat Canada (@USExpatCanada) February 1, 2016
US becoming the preferred place 4 tax evasion -airing now https://t.co/JNswBNCyMi
— U.S. Expat Canada (@USExpatCanada) February 1, 2016
60 Minutes aired a program this evening, Anonymous Inc which exposed some well-known and some less-well-known facts about “dirty money” and how easy it is to use the U.S. in laundering this money.
What interests me about this is not what they are doing nor how they are doing it. It is whether Homelanders would be able to discern how completely different this is than their perception of our “offshore” funds. While the two situations are not really similar, in the minds of those who claim we are “tax cheats” because we are “offshore” , the distinctions seem beyond their willingness to consider.
And while this notion would not be helpful for us, the behaviour of the lawyers immediately brings to mind the actions of the IRS/DOJ toward the Swiss banks. Will we see a similar move in this direction?
Global Witness, a London-based nonprofit organization that exposes international corruption, set up in New York to see how helpful U.S. lawyers would be in concealing questionable funds.
An undercover investigator using the alias “Ralph Kayser” posed as a representative of a government official “from a poor West African country who wants to move millions of dollars in suspicious funds into the U.S., and he needs the lawyers’ help.”
It was a preliminary meeting that ended with most of the attorneys expressing interest in continuing the dialogue, and some enthusiastic about landing the business.
The investigation, exposed “serious flaws in the U.S. legal system that have made it a hub for international money laundering.
Sixteen lawyers were chosen; they suggested ways that the suspicious funds could be moved into the U.S. without revealing who owned the funds. Only one refused to participate. While no one actually broke any laws and no one actually accepted “Mr. Kayser” as a client, several were quite interested in suggesting how to do it, what it would cost etc.
With regard to allegations that confidentiality could have been compromised, one scholar stated, “confidentiality is for the benefit of the client, not the lawyer. But the lawyers benefit from it because conduct that goes on under the protection of confidentiality is never scrutinized by the public. And lawyers are never accountable for it.”
Some interesting facts stemming from the investigation:
- In a “good academic study,” out of 180 countries, after Kenya, the U.S. is the easiest place to set up an anonymous company
- in 2014, two million new corporations were set up in the U.S.; many with just an address and bank account, but no employees office buildings, services or merchandise.
- the main way to conceal the source of the funds is to use layers of anonymous, interconnected shell companies in multiple jurisdictions.
- one lawyer said questionable money could be wired directly into his client escrow account, bypassing scrutiny from the banks.
- a preferred method involves using money managers and investment firms to move funds as these are less risky than using banks.
- Unlike banks, which must comply with KYC and AML rules, including reporting suspicious financial activities, lawyers have no such legal obligation.
Two of the most revealing conversations:
Lawrence M. Gabe: OK, give me a phone number where we can reach you?
Ralph Kayser: Ah–
Lawyer Lawrence M. Gabe: I’m certainly not putting this in emails.
Ralph Kayser: Sending an email with just an outline would be fine, as well, so it’s-
Lawyer John H. Jankoff: I don’t like emails.
Ralph Kayser: You don’t like emails?
Lawyer Lawrence M. Gabe: That’s how you catch people.
Lawyer Koplik explained to the representative of the phony African minister why he never worried about government subpoenas.
Lawyer Marc Koplik: They don’t send the lawyers to jail, because we run the country.
Ralph Kayser: Do you run the country?
Lawyer Marc Koplik: Still do.
Ralph Kayser: I love it.
Lawyer Marc Koplik: Still do.
Lawyer Albert Grant: I should say, some lawyers run the country.
Ralph Kayser: So, you are, you are some of them? Two of them?
Lawyer Marc Koplik: We’re still members of a privileged, privilege class in this country.
Ralph Kayser: So, how, what does it mean you run the country? It means you?
Marc Koplik: We make the laws, and when we do so, we make them in a way that is advantageous to the lawyers.
I don’t know if the videos will work in Canada but the script is here. Rage warning: Carl Levin is part of this story
For more on Global Witness’ investigation, including complete hidden camera recordings, click here . Super rage warning: Global Witness is appealing to Sen Chuck Schumer to deal with this situation
Why is it ok to use hidden ids and cameras in this case and not in the Planned Parenthood case?
The hidden cameras were not the work of 60 Minutes but the organization Global Witness.
I have no opinion about it whatsoever and don’t know anything about the Planned Parenthood case.
‘Sixteen lawyers were chosen; they suggested ways that the suspicious funds could be moved into the U.S. without revealing who owned the funds. Only one refused to participate. While no one actually broke any laws and no one actually accepted “Mr. Kayser” as a client, several were quite interested in suggesting how to do it, what it would cost etc.’
This is weird. 15 out of 16 lawyers gave the guy explanations of how dirty the law is, how the US writes laws (which Brockers know to be hypocritical), but together with the 16th lawyer they didn’t actually accept the role. This means 100% of the chosen lawyers put up facades of some degree of ethics.
Among typical lawyers I’d expect a lot less than 100% ethical behaviour.
Maybe most of the lawyers expected the ‘representative of a government official “from a poor West African country who wants to move millions of dollars in suspicious funds”’ to be the same as hundreds of other representative government officials from a poor West African country who want to move millions of dollars in suspicous funds, who just know how they can trust millions of their closest friends on the internet who they’ve never actually met outside of spamming us.
If the shady character had used some other kind of cover story, maybe 15 out of 16 lawyers would have taken the bait.
I don’t follow what you mean. The lawyers weren’t explaining that the law was dirty; they were explaining how to get around the law, which is clearly unethical.
I completely puzzled by your comment about “spamming us.”
I watched this last night too and I was just disgusted. While these sheisters (sp?: you know what I mean) can plan these sorts of schemes with apparent impunity I am sitting in my house day after day afraid of my bank, afraid of my government, afraid of who I am! It’s just sickening.
You said,”I completely puzzled by your comment about “spamming us.” I’m amazed that anyone with an email address hasn’t been contacted by a close relative of a prince, princess, or former government minister, typically from a corrupt African country, who has been forced into hiding and needs to move millions of dollars out of his or her bank account. This person has selected prominent,, reputable people like you who will receive a fee for your help in accepting the funds, depositing it in your account, and returning most of the money except for a portion which will be yours to keep.. . Of course there is no money in in the sender’s account, the cheque is NSF, but you will already have withdrawn most of the funds from your own account and sent it back.
Banks are careful about some attempts at laundering money. At the bank last week I stood behind a woman who tried to pay her Visa bill with cash. She was told that they can only accept payment through her bank account, not cash, as part of anti-money laundering regulations.
The US as premier tax haven story seems to have legs.
@BB, In my experience..AML and KYC in the USA are far less robust than in Europe.
So disgusting because America pretends to be a beacon of light in the fight against money laundering.
I am fully aware of such people who are complete fakes as far as I am aware. I don’t understand what that has to do with the story mentioned in this post. It’s about lawyers and the US/offshore money laundering.
If someone has no money…..
“The lawyers weren’t explaining that the law was dirty; they were explaining how to get around the law, which is clearly unethical.”
Even after you read the following?
‘The investigation, exposed “serious flaws in the U.S. legal system that have made it a hub for international money laundering.’
‘While no one actually broke any laws and no one actually accepted “Mr. Kayser” as a client, several were quite interested in suggesting how to do it, what it would cost etc.’
Serious flaws in the US legal system make it legal to help the ostensible person who needs to move dirty money.
“I am fully aware of such people who are complete fakes as far as I am aware. I don’t understand what that has to do with the story mentioned in this post.”
Although we are informed that the actor who played “Ralph Kayser” was an undercover investigators, the lawyers weren’t. The pretended “Mr. Kayser” appeared identical to the pretences made by typical spammers, only he met the lawyers in person instead of sending e-mail. Whether or not a lawyer might have some amount of genuine ethics, they surely have enough brains to expect that Mr. Kayser intended to rob them, which would be a reason not to actually accept him as a client.
Did you actually watch and listen? I know what the words say; I picked the excerpts, but the overall gist was that the lawyers were unquestionably more than willing to help him . I only included the wording about no one breaking the law so as not to overdo pointing out the lousy attitude of these lawyers. And if you watch, you will see they most certainly did not exhibit having enough brains to expect Mr. Kayser would rob them.
“Did you actually watch and listen?”
No, I read what you posted here.
Now you explain that the actual news show gave a different presentation than your article does, so I’ll take your word for it.
But still, if defective laws allow what the lawyers were going to do, the laws need more fixing than the lawyers do, in this particular case.
UK corruption watchdog is offering “Kleptocracy Tours” of properties bought with illicit money:
Congress Moves to End Abuse of Secret Companies Following Global Witness Investigation: