Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Economic and Social Cost of the Panama Papers

Death. Taxes. The endless, seemingly unholy awfulness of the Toronto Maple Leafs. For decades, these were the things Canadians could firmly believe in, the trifecta of issues that neither gods nor masters could hope to affect. But times change. Doctors find life-saving drugs. The Leafs find new management. And the overtaxed—some of them find lawyers.

Expensive ones, most of whom live on exotic islands with an abundance of blue water, white sand, and lax financial regulations. For the right price, you too can hire a gaggle of them to shuffle your money into and out of a web of offshore bank accounts, shell companies, and trusts so that the Canada Revenue Agency will be able to neither follow nor find it.

That’s the big take-away from the Panama Papers, a package of over 11 million e-mails, contracts, scanned documents, and other financial files leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca last year. The first news stories were published on April 3, 2016. Taken together, the Papers function as a kind of master class in avoidance and evasion, outlining how some of the world’s wealthiest politicians, entrepreneurs, sports stars, entertainers, and others (including 625 or so Canadians) use the laws of far-off lands to hide hundreds of millions of dollars from ex-spouses, tax authorities, Interpol, or sometimes all of the above.  (more...)


'Arrogant' top lawyer suspended from child sex abuse inquiry in latest crisis to hit £100m investigation

The senior lawyer to the national child abuse inquiry has been suspended from his £400,000-a-year post,  plunging the investigation into its worst  crisis yet.

Ben Emmerson QC was removed over concerns about his leadership, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) said in a statement. He later said he learned of his suspension from the investigation via the internet.

Mr Emmerson had been reported to be on the verge of resigning as counsel to the inquiry following an alleged clash with its new chairman, Professor Alexis Jay.

Insiders loyal to Prof Jay had described Mr Emmerson as “arrogant” ahead of the announcement.  (more...)

More coverage:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hitler was on cocaine and his troops were on meth: Author reveals deep influence of drugs in Nazi Germany

By late 1944, Nazi Germany was facing Allied armies to the west and six million Soviets to the east. Overhead, Allied planes were hitting Germany with near-constant city-leveling bombing raids.

But at grim military briefings, generals found German dictator Adolf Hitler upbeat, optimistic — euphoric even.

“I call it the Fuhrer-high; it makes you feel on top of the world even if the world is collapsing around you,” said German author Norman Ohler, speaking to the National Post by phone.

Ohler’s book, Blitzed, will be released in Canada on October 6. Published in the original German as The Total Rush, it tells the story of how Nazi Germany fought a surprising amount of the Second World War in a drug-fueled haze.

“It’s tough out here … today I’m writing you mainly to ask for some Pervitin,” wrote German soldier Heinrich Böll in a 1939 letter home from occupied Poland. It was one of at least three letters that Böll, a future Nobel Prize-winning author, would write home requesting a top-up of his Pervitin stash.

Pervitin, a popular over-the-counter drug in Nazi Germany, was a close cousin of modern-day crystal meth. Methamphetamines originated in Germany in the late 1800s, and Pervitin first hit the market as a “wakefulness pill.”  (more..)



Red tape keeps teachers accused of abusing students in classroom for years

Teachers who have been accused of sexually assaulting students may remain in the classroom for several years due to an arduous and convoluted disciplinary process.

CityNews has learned it can takes years for the regulatory body in charge of teachers to punish members who behave inappropriately in the classroom or with students, even those who have been found guilty of sexual assault.

“If it is found that a teacher has done something unprofessional, then you could have that teacher continue in the profession during that time (between when the misconduct occurred and a decision is made by the Ontario College of Teachers) depending on what the school board decides,” said Sachin Maharaj, a teacher with the Toronto school board who is doing his PhD in educational policy.

“What happens is the teacher is removed from the school in which the incident occurred, so it looks like something is being done but then they’re placed in another school oftentimes unbeknownst to the parents and students of that school, and so unless you’re someone that looks up your child’s teacher regularly, you may have no idea they may have been found guilty of some sort of misconduct.”  (more...)


Narcissism: Understanding Michael Voris

Dr. E. Michael Jones just wrote an eBook on Michael Voris and his homosexual past. The unhealed wounds from this past push Voris to scapegoat his self-loathing onto those holding authority in the Catholic Church. Jones explains how the notion of cheap grace picked up maybe from Lutheran/Protestant theology blinds many Christians to the possible necessity of first enduring a painful penitential healing process before venturing out into a public ministry. Narcissism is a possible result of unhealed wounds caused by sin.


This isn't only about Voris. It's endemic in neoCatholicism and its manifestations -- charismaticism, pro-life-ism, Medjugorism, Catholic Zionism, and unhinged anti-clericalism -- which have reinforced and magnified Voris's problems. Long-suffering and exiled grownups must be good parents and protect the young and experienced from exploitation by these controlling manipulators. We need sober and legitimate leadership, not self-affirming cults of personality.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

IMF targets Scottish tax haven firms behind child abuse websites

The International Monetary Fund has warned of the risk posed by Scotland's controversial 'limited partnerships' to the fight against global money-laundering and organised crime.

The IMF singled out the Scottish firms - which are widely used as tax avoidance and secrecy vehicles by Eastern European organised crime gangs - as it flagged up wider reforms it wants to see in the UK.

The Sunday Herald has exposed how Scottish limited partnerships or SLPs have acted as fronts for websites peddling child abuse images, and revealed that they have been part of major corruption cases in Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Latvia, including in the arms industry.

IMF officials said SLPs - which can be used to open bank accounts for anonymous owners - should be subject to anti money-laundering measures, such as rules which force other UK companies to name their ultimate owners.

The IMF remarks, in a new report on Britain's progress against money-laundering and terrorism financing, echoes concerns raised by Britain's own Home Office.  (more...)

Know any housewives on Caribbean islands?


Canada: A New Tax Haven: How the Country That Shaped Caribbean Tax Havens Is Becoming One Itself

 Canada: A New Tax Haven

In Canada: A New Tax Haven, Alain Deneault traces Canada’s relationship with Commonwealth Caribbean nations back through the last half of the twentieth century, arguing that the involvement of Canadian financiers in establishing and maintaining Caribbean tax havens has predisposed Canada to become a tax haven itself – a metamorphosis well under way.

Canada was linked to Caribbean nations long before they became tax havens. In the 1950s, an ex-governor of Canada’s central bank attempted to establish a low taxation regime in Jamaica. In the 1960s, the transformation of the Bahamas into a tax haven characterized by impenetrable banking secrecy was shaped by a minister of finance who sat on the Royal Bank of Canada’s board of directors. A Calgary lawyer and former Conservative Party heavyweight drew up the clauses that transformed the Cayman Islands into an opaque offshore jurisdiction. For years, Canadian politicians have debated annexing tax havens such as the Turks and Caicos Islands, making them part of Canadian territory. Canada has signed a free-trade agreement with Panama and is currently seeking a wider agreement with countries in CARICOM, the Caribbean economic community. And, notably, Canada currently shares its seat at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund with a group of Caribbean tax havens.

These exercises in fostering fiscal and banking leniency have predisposed Canada to become one of the most attractive tax havens to foreign interests. Not only does Canada offer one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the world, but a number of loopholes encourage companies to relocate to Canada as if it were Barbados or Bermuda.

Canada: A New Tax Haven is an attempt to analyze the situation and address its implications for Canadians.  (source...)