MyPrivateBanking Blog
Daily Comments on the World of Wealth Management

Posts Tagged ‘offshore’

Where is Gaddafi´s Money ?

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Of course at this stage the amount of money Gaddafi and his criminal gang of friends and family have stolen from Libya is speculative, as well as the countries, banks and companies where it is hidden. However, the hunt for the money begun. Switzerland and the UK frezzed his assets, respectively at least the share the know about and have access to.

Todays RT´s article  “Defaulting on dictators: hunt for Gaddafi’s loot begins” draws on various credible sources to describe the stage of the hunt for Gaddafis money and where it is hidden. In total the wealth of the clan is estimated to go up to USD 80! billion, the majority squirreled away in Libya itself.  The liquid assets alone are estimated at about USD 20 billion. No bad for a revolutionary leader. Not surprisingly Switzerland and the United Kingdom are prime candidates as places where the money is stashed away. Certainly news of other Gaddafi investments and financial havens will continue to pop up.

Let´s hope this freak and his screwed-up family is gone soon, that a lot of money will get back to the people in Libya (and will put to good use) and that not only politicians, but also banks and wealth managers will learn their lessons on the risks of dealing with dictators. (See our research brief “What the Arab Revolution means for Wealth Managers“)


Credit Suisse: First Squeeze Them, Then Kick Them Out

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

It seems that over at Credit Suisse they are panicking about the tax probes lead by the Germans and other  European governments against offshore clients and also bank advisers. We have been contacted by former Credit Suisse clients, some of them long standing clients, who have been rudely kicked out as clients. We have credible information that even clients who legalized their holdings in Switzerland have seen their accounts canceled. Only few weeks ago Credit Suisse sent a letter to foreign clients with less than 1 Mio. Euro that they have to pay additional fees if they want to keep an account in Switzerland. MyPrivateBanking has copies of this letter.  We will follow up with this story next week and hope to get some comments from the CS management.


Tax Authorities Go Shopping Again

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

After some dispute within the German federal government on the legality the German state Lower-Saxony finally bought another CD containing data from about 20.000 German holders of Swiss bank account. This time supposley Euro 185.000 were paid to an unidentified seller.

The new business model for private bank employees is still intact and banks and clients may like it or not: Offshore-banking has no future. Pressured by “data leaks”, tougher regulations for tax havens and stricter law enforcement at home less and less clients will take the risk of bringing untaxed money across borders.  Banks with a lot of offshore-clients better adopt their strategy now!


Groundhog Day Again

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Again sensitive bank data on offshore-accountsgot stolen. Again these information are offered to the government of the account holders. Again the government seems to be willing to bend the law and to pay for these illegally acquired data.  In our recent analysis on data theft we preditcted that these kind of “private banking data auctions” will happen again and again untill the stolen assets become worthless.

Whistle blowing, breach of confidentiality, and the outright theft of files recently has been enormously popular among some employees of offshore banks. It is almost impossible to stop such individuals. They have the potential to completely destroy the reputation of financial centers like Liechtenstein, Luxembourg or Switzerland, and a lot of damage has been done already. If there are no more potential buyers for confidential customer files the business is gone. But this would be only possible when the banks convert offshore to onshore customers. Or, alternatively, show the door to all customers who are unwilling to co-operate.


Poor HSBC Security Standards

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Yesterdays reports on an employee of HSBC Private Bank in Geneva, stealing data of up to 3,000 French people suspected of holding Swiss bank accounts to avoid paying tax in France and turning them to the French authorities underlines why offshore banking faces a dead end: Offshore clients will loose all trust in their providers.

It is one thing that US and European authorities use all legal and illegal means to get hold of data on offshore accounts of their citizen. But it is another issue that obviously the banks have not established sufficient security routines to protect their confidential data. In this case, the employee supposedly “hacked” into the HSBC client database after foiling its security system. I am wondering how difficult this really was, given that for instance the contact form on the website of HSBC Private Bank is not even encrypted by the absolutely standard  https-protocol. If privacy and data protection is already handled in such a reckless matter on the website it tells you something about the overall security standards.

To be fair: It is not only HSBC having such low security standards for their website. Wait for our new report on Private-Banking-Websites due next week providing more examples on poor security standards.


The US hosts the No. 1 Offshore Centre

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

A recent study ranks the U.S. state Delaware as the place with the most secretive jurisdiction worldwide. Or how the Guardian puts it in more practical terms: “(…) Top of the pile, beating the British Virgin Islands, Belize or Liechtenstein as the best place to hide wealth, is Delaware”.

Already last June we have pointed on this mostly overlooked fact in the ongoing hypocritical discussion on offshore banking and the witch hunt on countries like Switzerland or Liechtenstein. Learning: If you start an offshore centre and do not want to be punished you better be a superpower or at least a G-7 member.

BTW: London (yes, the capital of the other main country going after offshore centres) is ranked as 5th most secretive jurisdiction worldwide.


Au Revoir Offshore

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Our call of the end of offshore banking seems to materialize in a rapid pace. Yesterday BNP Parisbas, the biggest bank of France and one of the largest wealth managers worldwide, announced that if close all subsidiaries located in countries on the OECD’s “grey list” of nations which have not fully implemented global tax standards. Plan is, that already by end of the year the offices in Panama and the Bahamas should be closed.

“Conicidently” BNP made the announcement right after the G-20 meeting. It certainly will not take long and more bankers have to give-up their sunshine spots and will relocate to less exotic locations such as London, Madrid, Frankfurt, Zurich and New York….