Trump’s involvement in Panama hotel project appears in Pandora newspapers
Donald Trump has been named in the Pandora Papers for his links to a Panamanian hotel project, but the leaked files “do not reveal important information” about his connections, according to a report.
The emptying of 12 million financial records has increased the pressure on elites, from King Abdullah of Jordan to the alleged mistress of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The former US president is mentioned for his “involvement in a hotel project in Panama”, according to the Washington Post.
“But Pandora’s documents do not appear to reveal any significant new information about her finances,” the report said.
Trump’s name previously appeared in connection with the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in the 2016 Panama Papers leak.
It’s not clear if this gleaming sail-like complex that towers over Panama City Bay is the same project discussed in the Pandora Papers.
Trump put his name on the development and was set to make up to $ 75 million from it, according to a bond prospectus.
He exercised no management control over the construction and had no direct legal obligation to exercise due diligence towards others involved.
Former US President Donald Trump speaks at a rally September 25, 2021 in Perry, Georgia
Trump’s name previously appeared in connection with the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in the 2016 Panama Papers leak
It reflects a business model that Trump has used around the world, lending his name to hotels and apartment complexes, without managing them himself.
The Pandora Papers are being reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), but that coterie has not released the entire treasury, meaning fuller details of Trump’s involvement cannot yet be released. be reported.
Aside from the brief mention of Trump in the new leak, it was noted that while the world’s richest are blown from London to Hong Kong, heavyweights in the United States are not named.
Financial secrecy laws in South Dakota have made the state THE spot for foreigners who want to hide millions of assets
The state of South Dakota has joined familiar offshore tax havens including the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, Hong Kong and Belize, with South Dakota trusts that have quadrupled in ten years to $ 360 billion. dollars.
Newspapers reveal how one of the state’s largest trust companies confirmed it has clients in 54 countries and 47 states, including more than 100 billionaires.
State politicians have continued to approve legislation that allows even more protections and benefits for clients of these trusts.
The United States has continued to refuse to adhere to a 2014 agreement backed by the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg, requiring U.S. financial institutions to share information they hold about foreigners’ holdings.
“South Dakota now rivals the notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean for financial secrecy,” the Washington Post said.
Additionally, the legislation that allows for such secrecy was drafted by insiders who work in the trust industry.
State laws offer both protection and secrecy while keeping money in the United States
Normally, the government would tax all interest earned on an account, but in South Dakota, assets are protected against any civil action such as divorce or legal proceedings. They are not protected against criminal investigations.
Nonetheless, since South Dakota has no income tax, inheritance tax, or capital gains tax, the finances held there are effectively kept out of the hands of the government. American.
Documents from Pandora Papers, ICIJ and Post successfully identified nearly 30 US-based trusts that were linked to foreigners whose companies were accused of wrongdoing and human rights violations … All now based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Billionaires including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are missing from the Pandora Papers.
Financial experts say this is because the generous tax rates they pay domestically mean there are few incentives to seek out tax havens abroad.
Others speculate that they may also be using different havens, such as the Cayman Islands, which were not reflected in the newspapers.
But while Americans are missing from the list, the United States itself is not.
South Dakota in particular has emerged as a new hub for opaque financial transactions, rivaling the British Virgin Islands and Switzerland.
State trusts have quadrupled in the space of ten years to $ 360 billion thanks to laws that protect assets from civil actions such as divorce.
The Pandora Papers detail more than 29,000 offshore accounts – double the number identified in the Panama Papers – linked to officials in 91 countries and territories.
The report showed how world leaders, powerful politicians, billionaires, celebrities, religious leaders and drug traffickers hid their investments in mansions, exclusive beachfront properties, yachts and other assets. over the past quarter of a century.
Many accounts have been designed to evade taxes and conceal assets for other suspicious reasons, according to the report.
The report lists 130 alleged billionaires as account owners, but does not include any of the richest people in the United States.
Financial analysts speculate that the ultra-rich Americans – such as Bezos, Buffet, Musk and Gates – have less incentive to use offshore havens because of the low tax rates they pay.
According to a Forbes report released in June, the 25 richest Americans paid a “real tax rate” of 3.4% on wealth growth of $ 401 billion between 2014 and 2018.
Bezos would have paid an effective tax rate of 0.98%, while Buffet and Musk would pay rates of 0.10% and 3.27%, respectively.
Gates’ true tax rate was not readily available, however, in 2018 he admitted to needing to pay more taxes.
“I have to pay higher taxes… I have paid more taxes, over $ 10 billion, than anyone else, but the government should require people in my position to pay much higher taxes,” Gates said. at CNN at the time.
Additionally, experts analyzing the Pandora Papers argue that America’s leaders may have used other companies or offshore accounts in different jurisdictions to hide their money.
Amazon owner Jeff Bezos (left), rich man from the United States and legendary investor Warren Buffet, do not appear on the lists
America’s richest billionaires, including Bill Gates (left) and Elon Musk, do not appear in the Panama Papers.
The Pandora Papers only included the files of 14 financial services entities that were operating in Switzerland, Singapore, Cyprus, Belize and the British Virgin Islands.
It is possible that other companies hold US funds.
Meanwhile, experts argue that the Pandora Papers leak should cause concern, as financial shielding can impact citizens for generations by exacerbating disparities in wealth and worsening crimes such as drug trafficking, attacks. ransomware, the arms trade and more.
“The offshore financial system is a problem that should concern all law-abiding people in the world,” Sherine Ebadi, a former FBI officer, told the newspaper.
“These systems don’t just allow tax evaders to avoid paying their fair share. They undermine the fabric of a good society.