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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

1.3 millions files from the Bahamas company registry leaked

1.3 millions files from the Bahamas company registry were anonymously released to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung about a month ago, jeopardizing the financial interests of a veritable cornucopia of VIPs.

Information on approximately 175 thousand shell companies, trust and foundations made the rounds and these details have been collected in Washington DC by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) to create a public Bahamas leaks database.

Among the myriad of prominent figures affected by these leaks are UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd, former EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes, former Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold, current Argentine President Mauricio Macri and former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Plenty of wealthy individuals and companies have chosen to set up in the Bahamas thanks to its multiple tax breaks on company profits, capital gains, income and inheritance, and the anonymity awarded to its users.

According to James N. Mastracchio and Sanpreet Dhaliwal of Dentons, “The Bahamas claims to be a transparent jurisdiction with a public register of companies, but the information shared from the seat of government in Nassau is limited.”

Furthermore, they write, “Although the Bahamas Corporate Registry is supposed to contain the names and addresses of all directors and officers, there is no requirement to register the owners of a company with the authorities.”

1.3m Files Leak In Bahamas Papers

FIVE months after the country’s financial services sector was dragged into the spotlight as a top tax haven in the infamous “Panama Papers”, international watchdogs yesterday unveiled a free online database created from 1.3 million leaked files from the Bahamas’ corporate registry.

The database by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) circumvents the local register’s costly retrieval fee and incomplete online registry by providing, for the first time, a publicly searchable forum of the names of directors and some shareholders of more than 175,000 Bahamian companies.

Released in tandem with detailed reporting on the offshore links to high-profile international politicians, including UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd, the latest instalment to the massive Offshore Leaks Database created by the ICIJ has labelled the country as the “Switzerland of the West”.

The reports detail the country’s longstanding struggle with international tax agencies, namely the United States’ Internal Revenue Service and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), since the 1930s.

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