Wednesday, January 22, 2014

FungWatch: offshore tax havens?

Tweets circulating today from some good sources (not cranks) on a potentially significant story concerning leaked details of offshore tax havens used by Chinese elites at The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists where "Files shed light on nearly 22,000 tax haven clients from Hong Kong and mainland China."
The reports are based on leaked information of offshore tax haven details up until 2010, and apparently the political elites in the People's Republic of China are unhappy: ICIJ to reveal China's offshore secrets 
Very soon, ICIJ and our media partners around the world will expose new details of China’s hidden offshore economy. We will release our reporting on more than 20,000 offshore clients from mainland China and Hong Kong contained in our Offshore Leaks database, and relate the untold story of how offshore dealings emerged as a favored business strategy among China’s elite.
While the full details are being withheld so far in the database, a search does show a listing and several related entities, with links to the British Virgin Islands, dating from 2004 for a Fung Wing Cheung, Tony. What are the chances?

Links to and between the offshore entities can be graphically displayed:

Of course it may not be unusual for a wealthy individual to be associated with offshore tax havens.  ICIJ also advise to check any details with alternative sources. The following disclaimer is also posted:
There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly. If you find an error in the database please get in touch with us.
Release of any further details is awaited?

Update: A search again today doesn't appear to any longer reveal the name Fung Wing Cheung, Tony.  The link provided under the name above still displays the entity names however now displays "details temporarily withheld" where the name previously appeared. The image posted here is from a screenshot following a search and link on that name on 22/01/2014.

Update 2: The man from the British Virgin Islands

ICIJ reports: The People's Republic of Offshore; Inside the global offshore money maze

Global Mail: China's elites master the secret offshore cash stash

The Guardian: China's princelings storing riches in Caribbean offshore haven

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