More than half of B.C.’s most expensive homes owned by secret shell companies spurring money laundering fears
Almost half of Vancouver’s 100 most expensive homes are bought using shell companies or other financial tools that obscure who the identity of the true owners

Almost half of Vancouver’s 100 most expensive homes are bought using shell companies or other financial tools that obscure the identity of the true owners, a report from anti-corruption group Transparency International says.

The report, which focuses on money laundering and tax evasion vulnerabilities in Canadian real estate through a study of Vancouver luxury homes, slams Canada for failing to close home-ownership loopholes related to shell companies, trusts and nominees.

The report also concludes the prevalence of non-transparent ownership in B.C. luxury real estate makes it impossible to measure how much offshore cash is invested in B.C. homes, even though B.C. is attempting to collect data on foreign ownership.

“An influx of overseas capital is one of several causes of rising property prices, (in Vancouver and Toronto) but the extent and impact of foreign investment remains unknown since very little data is collected on property owners,” the report says. “Individuals can use shell companies, trusts and nominees to hide their beneficial interest in Canadian real estate.”

Compared to other advanced economies, Canada has weak transparency laws, the report states. Transparency International is a non-government coalition that studies global corruption and advocates legal reforms to fight financial crimes.

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Obama administration offers parting protections for Alaska waters and tribes
An executive order blocks off two offshore oil leasing areas in the Bering Sea and sets up a task force to manage federal activities in a more than 100,000-square-mile region.


The White House on Friday announced parting protections for portions of Alaska’s Arctic, including closing off two offshore areas to future oil leases and establishing a required federal focus on the input of Native people in the region.

President Barack Obama has made clear that the future of the Arctic is of interest to him: He was the first sitting president to visit Alaska’s Arctic in 2015 and has spoken extensively about protecting the region from climate change. The changes released Friday will likely require some effort for the incoming administration to undo.

The executive order closely mirrors requests brought to the White House this year by the Association of Village Council Presidents, Kawerak Inc. and the Bering Sea Elders Group.

The president’s executive order closes off 40,300 square miles from oil and gas leasing — the Norton Basin planning area and parts of the St. Matthew-Hall planning area. The areas are in the waters offshore of Nome and surrounding St. Lawrence Island.

The executive order came not just with oil and gas leasing restrictions, but with creation of a 112,300-square-mile area — they named it the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area — where a task force will help coordinate federal activities “focusing a locally tailored collection of protections related to oil and gas, shipping and fishing,” the announcement said. The goals of the task force include conserving natural resources and a subsistence culture for the more than 40 Yup'ik and Inupiaq tribes in the area.

The president has also ordered federal agencies to consider traditional knowledge in their actions and set up a formal consultation program to employ the input of regional tribal governments.

The move comes just one day after Alaska’s all-Republican congressional delegation — Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Don Young — sent Obama a letter objecting to any use of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to withdraw offshore waters from future oil and gas leases.

Apple's tax-dodging offshore billions are sunk into Treasury Bills that pay out using Americans' taxes

Apple – which is one of the multinational poster children for tax dodging, along with Google, Amazon, Ikea and others – has billions of dollars “offshore” and in theory they can’t bring that money into the USA without paying tax on it; but thanks to some fancy accounting, much of that money is sunk into US Treasury Bills (floated by the government Apple is starving through tax evasion), and the US taxpayers pay Apple, about $600M so far.

This trick is legal.

Donald Trump has promised to allow companies like Apple to bring their profits back to the USA at very low tax rates – not available to law-abiding firms that lacked the accounting sophistication or the unpatriotic sentiment to avail themselves of this loophole.

Israel, Greece and Cyprus agree to cooperate on wildfires - 9 December 2016

Israel, Greece and Cyprus have agreed to launch a regional force for tackling fires and other natural disasters, their leaders said Thursday.
Speaking before a three-way summit at which they were expected to discuss Mediterranean offshore gas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the force would also respond to earthquakes and floods.
“We have agreed to move forward on a multi-national, regional rescue and emergency services force, to be formed by our three countries,” he said, voicing hope that other countries would join. Netanyahu did not specify the size of the force or where it would be based.
The announcement comes two weeks after Greek and Cypriot personnel helped extinguish some of Israel’s worst wildfires in years.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he was “proud” of the role Greek planes played in dousing fires in the northern Israeli city of Haifa, as he backed the joint force initiative.
In June Israel provided six aircraft to help bring Cypriot wildfires under control.Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said the two operations were a clear example of how “effective cooperation” could help eastern Mediterranean countries. “Cyprus, Israel and Greece stand side by side” when facing crises,“ he added.
At a previous summit in January the three countries discussed the development of a gas pipeline from Israel to Europe. Both Israel and Cyprus have discovered offshore gas in recent years.
Tsipras said Thursday he wanted to move forward with the plans, with the aim of Greece becoming "an energy transit center of Israeli and Cypriot national gas to Europe.” He hailed Israel’s decision this week to give the green light for the sale.

  • Barack: drone bombs weddings, spies on citizens, indefinitely detains people in offshore prisons, holds the record for deportation
  • Malik: probably never killed anyone, "being autistic isn't a bad thing"

Why isn’t Tumblr talking about the biggest leak in history?

The Panama Papers are information that has the potential to change the world and this story broke over 2 hours ago now. Putin might go to prison. Same with the Saudi-Arabian king Salman ibn Abd al-Asis, the Ukranian president Petro Poroschenko, the former Georgian prime minister Bidsina Iwanischwili, the Argentinian president Mauricio Macri, a quarter of the Icelandic cabinet, several other world leaders, and ‘best soccer player of all time’ Lionel Messi.

This is 2.6 terabytes of leaked data about tax evasion and off-shore companies, drug trade, etc etc etc. Remember Wikileaks? That was huge, right? The Panama Papers dwarf the 1.7GB of data we got out of that.


Just watch it. Think about it. Talk about it. This is real journalism and probably the biggest scandal of our lifetimes.


Panama Papers map visualizes where the money is hiding

11.5 million documents and 2.6 terabytes of information have been leaked from offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca. It’s being called the “Panama Papers” and it paints an ugly portrait of how wealthy figures worldwide illegally take advantage of offshore tax havens for personal benefit. Now an interactive map shows where all those tax evaders come from.

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