Wednesday, 20 March 2013



As tiny Cyprus, 1/550th of the EU, writhes in torment on the horns of its dilemma – whether to tax the bank deposits of super-rich Russian and Greek tax evaders, or tax the honest retirees from overseas, or tax the humble ordinary Cypriots; or give their new gas fields to Russia – the direct and collateral damage of the global pandemic disease of tax-evasion continues to kill our economies. See the unfolding dramatic Cyprus story at CYPRUS BANK TAX AND PUTIN 

The Guardian newspaper prints these two letters (below) today; the first signed by 844 well informed people who see Greece descending into the very real hell of extreme right-wing politics; and the second from an academic who is researching EU politics, explaining it was the Cypriot government not the EU that insisted on a bank levy on the poorer Cypriots – the EU is after the foreign tax-evaders and money launderers.

I ascribe the collapse of Greece into impoverished anarchy to the long tradition of tax-evasion-capital-flight typified by The Lagarde List of 2059 top Greek families who have shovelled all their wealth off-shore. The 2059 accounts alone hold or held billions of dollars; and they are at just one HSBC branch in Zurich. Several billions of the Greek capital flight went to the easy-come, easy-go, no questions-asked Cypriot banks – which in turn were fully plugged into the more strictly regulated and respected European banks. By joining the European Union, Cyprus opened a free channel for billions, perhaps trillions of dollars to be laundered and be buried in tax-havens.

TODAY - French Budget Minister, Jerome Cahuzac, who is responsible for cracking down on tax-evasion, has resigned after being accused by French investigator website Mediapart of having a secret Swiss, Geneva bank account at UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland) for decades; which he switched to tax-haven Singapore in February 2010, just before he took up the post of Witch Finder General Scourge of French Tax Evaders.

There seems to be a deeply embedded pattern, in Europe, in London and in the USA, of arch tax-evaders, global professional tax-planners from the Big Four audit companies, corrupt government tax officers and now corrupt senior politicians – who have infiltrated the once reliable and honest taxation and collection system.

In the UK, two major giveaways through tax settlements “at the highest level” amounting to billions of dollars in “forgiven” tax debts are currently being challenged in the courts. Not, as you might have assumed some years ago, challenged by Her Majesty’s Government and Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenues HMRC, but quite extraordinarily, being brought privately by a bunch of students – UK Uncut – who complain that Vodafone, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks and most other major companies dodge billions in taxes. In a David and Goliath battle, UK Uncut challenge these mighty corporations and their hirelings. Where are the official tax-collectors? Why are they not prosecuting these massive tax-evasion cases? Where is Justice?

The students are no doubt concerned for their jobs and futures in a Britain that with Cameron double-speak both vilifies and celebrates tax-evasion, and which put the “industry” on  a formal footing a hundred years ago, typified by the Lord Vesty Case (international meat traders), which argued that money the noble Lord brought into Britain was not INCOME but non-taxable CAPITAL. That precedent remains true for many money-aristocrats – it is less true for plumbers, riff-raff, plebs, hoi-polloi and peasants. That is how UK Courts work - selectively.  "Only little people pay tax"

The Board of HMRC currently sports several notorious “tax-planners” appointed from the professions – and HMRC’s disgraced Ex-Head, Dave Hartnett, has recently danced through the big-money revolving door into the welcoming arms of Tax-Planners Inc – appearing as guest speaker at their conferences and being hired by HSBC bank.

As Britain (and America also) gently bleeds to death from tax-evasion-capital-flight and can find no money to invest in its industries, and as brilliant UK science and engineering graduates are bullied through unemployment rules into stacking shelves and serving (tax-free) coffee, with no prospects of real careers – these 5th Columnists tax-planners siphon away all the nation’s capital and sabotage the tax-revenues. Why are they elevated into top jobs instead of being thrown into prison?

The parasitical “tax-planners” and money launderers are killing the host economies by persistently increasing the $21 trillion sitting in tax-havens – such as Cyprus – at the rate of $1 trillion a year. 

How many dying and dead economies and US fiscal-cliffs will we suffer before these killer viruses are eradicated from the population and body politic?


Guardian Letters – 20 March 2013.

Threats to democracy in Greece

The Guardian, Tuesday 19 March 2013 21.00 GMT
The crisis in Greece is posing serious threats to democracy and human rights (Report, 15 March). We are particularly concerned about the rise of fascism and racism. The government continues to tolerate the violence and hate speech of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. Golden Dawn MPs attack democracy and display symbols of the military junta of 1967-1974; the party recruits supporters unopposed by the authorities, including schoolchildren. Members of the Greek police engage in violence against immigrants and protesters but have not been brought to account, despite calls from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and UNHCR.
Refugees and migrants face attacks from supporters of far-right groups; the Council of Europe's commissioner for human rights recently called such violence "a real threat to democracy". European and constitutional law is persistently violated. Legislation is introduced through presidential and ministerial decrees, abandoning parliamentary accountability. Independent journalists are censored. We are deeply concerned that fundamental rights and freedoms for which the Greek people have fought for decades are being undermined.
George Bizos, Jon Cruddas MP, Prof Costas Douzinas, Maria Margaronis, Prof Peter Mackridge, Prof Donald Sassoon, Gillian Slovo and 837 others. Full list at

It was the Cypriot government – not the EU or the IMF – which insisted that small depositors be levied to save the banking system. Cyprus has been acting as the clearing house for Russian oligarchs for years. It was this group that the EU and IMF sought to target against fierce resistance from the Cypriot president. The real villains is the Cypriot government, which is hell-bent on protecting Russian tax cheats at the expense of their own citizens.
Andrew Byrne
Doctoral researcher in EU Politics, University of Edinburgh


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