Tax experts believe that between $7.6 trillion to $32 trillion are hidden in offshore tax and secrecy accounts. More than 70 percent of big American companies have subsidiaries in offshore havens. One major focus of the Trump team investigations is expected to be the island of Cyprus, a secrecy haven for Russian oligarch money. For a while it wasn’t even considered a haven because its sinking banks loaned too much money to crumbling Greece. But dirty Russian money didn’t stop flowing to the island nation.
Cyprus is the only European Union country that has allowed the Russian military to use its bases for operations. According to the Democratic Coalition, as related by the Huffington Post, president Donald Trump has two companies registered there.
Wilbur Ross, Trump’s secretary of commerce, was vice chairman of Cyprus’s largest institution, the Bank of Cyprus. He has invested $500 million in the bank, which failed once, and which has had a top officer who was an ex-KGB friend of Vladimir Putin. But since Ross made his $2.5 billion in assets by investing in troubled businesses, his Cyprus adventure may not get him in trouble. Trump, who doesn’t do much borrowing from American banks, may be able to explain any Cyprus borrowing he may have done.
Early this month, the Washington Post reported that Erik Prince, founder of the mercenary firm once named Blackwater, allegedly had a with a Putin ally in an attempt to establish back-channel communications between Trump and Putin. The meeting was supposedly held in the Seychelles, an island country off East Africa. Tax Justice Network calls the Seychelles “a paradise for dirty money and corruption.” A decade ago, the San Diego County hamlet of Potrero, near Tecate, thwarted Blackwater’s attempt to build a training facility three miles from the town. In 2013, Prince, who is no longer with the firm, told the Daily Beast that Blackwater was “a virtual extension of the CIA.”
The Channel Islands — Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man — are havens, along with Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Gibraltar, and former British colonies Hong Kong, Singapore, the Bahamas, Bahrain, and Dubai. But the United States is coming on strong — particularly Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers