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Legal Reality Newsletter 29 October A. D. 2011


29 October A.D. 2011

Subscribe / unsubscribe :  legal_reality@earthlink.net

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Swiss Banks May Pay Billions, Disclose Names
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 15:06:15 -0500

Swiss caught up in commercial law.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-24/swiss-banks-said-ready-to-pay-billions-disclose-customer-names.html

Swiss Banks May Pay Billions, Disclose Names
By David Voreacos, Klaus Wille and Giles Broom –

Swiss banks will probably settle a sweeping U.S. probe of offshore tax evasion by paying billions of dollars and handing over names of thousands of Americans who have secret accounts, according to two people familiar with the matter.

U.S. and Swiss officials are concluding negotiations on a civil settlement amid U.S. criminal probes of 11 financial institutions, including Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), suspected of helping American clients hide money from the Internal Revenue Service, according to five people with knowledge of the talks who declined to speak publicly because they are confidential.

Switzerland, the biggest haven for offshore wealth, wants an end to new U.S. probes while preserving its decades-old tradition of bank secrecy, the people said. The U.S. seeks data on Americans who have dodged U.S. taxes and a pledge by Swiss banks to stop helping such clients, according to the people. The Swiss reached accords this year with Germany and the U.K. on untaxed assets.

“The Swiss would like to get out of this by paying money, and they’ve done that with other countries,” said tax attorney H. David Rosenbloom of Caplin & Drysdale Chartered in Washington, who isn’t involved in the talks. “For the U.S., it’s not primarily a money question. It’s a matter of making sure the laws apply fairly among taxpayers.”

Final Accord

The Swiss government seeks to outline a final accord for the Foreign Affairs Committee of its Parliament’s upper house on Nov. 10, according to a person familiar with the matter. The number of banks that will pay to resolve the U.S. negotiations may extend beyond the 11 under criminal investigation, the people said.

“We are aiming for an all-encompassing solution that will apply to all the banks,” Finance Minister Eveline Widmer- Schlumpf said in an Oct. 4interview in the Swiss capital Bern. “We don’t want to be confronted with the same issues time and again.”

Under accords this year with Germany and the U.K. on untaxed assets, the identity of clients remained secret. The U.S. insists that the Swiss disclose client account data, and the banks may end up handing over data on 5,000 to 10,000 accounts, the people said. A final determination hasn’t been made, they said.

Criminal Charges

The U.S. Justice Department also may bring criminal charges or civil enforcement actions against any of the 11 financial institutions. They could avoid prosecution by separately paying fines, admitting wrongdoing and disclosing data, the people said. On Aug. 30, the Justice Department requested statistical data from the 11 about their U.S. accounts, which the U.S. has received and is analyzing, the people said.

Credit Suisse, the second-biggest Swiss bank, said July 15 that it was a target of U.S. prosecutors. On July 21, seven Credit Suisse bankers were indicted on a charge of conspiring to help U.S. clients evade taxes through secret accounts.

The group of 11 also includes HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), the biggest European bank, Basler Kantonalbank, Wegelin & Co., Zuercher Kantonalbank, and Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER), the people said. Three Israeli banks — Bank Leumi Le-Israel BM (LUMI)Bank Hapoalim BM (POLI), and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank Ltd. (MZTF) — are on the list, as well as Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG and an asset manager, NZB AG, according to the people.

U.S. Crackdown

The U.S. crackdown against offshore tax evasion has led to charges against UBS AG (UBSN), the largest Swiss bank; at least 21 foreign bankers, advisers and attorneys; and at least 36 U.S. taxpayers.

UBS, which isn’t one of the 11 banks now under scrutiny, avoided prosecution in 2009 by paying $780 million, admitting it fostered tax evasion and handing over details on 250 secret accounts. It later disclosed another 4,450 accounts.

UBS made 10.75 billion francs ($12.1 billion) in revenue in the U.S. in 2010, or 34 percent of the group’s total. Credit Suisse made 12.84 billion francs in revenue in the Americas in 2010, or 41 percent of the total. HSBC’s Swiss private bank and Julius Baer declined to disclose information on revenue from U.S. clients. A spokesman for HSBC in Geneva declined to comment on the settlement talks.

Credit Suisse gained 2.4 percent to 24.42 Swiss francs, at 3:09 p.m. in Zurich. Baer was unchanged at 34.70 francs. Basler Kantonalbank and Liechtensteinische Landesbank dropped 0.4 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively.

Statistical Data

Urs Rohner, chairman of Credit Suisse, last month told newspaper NZZ am Sonntag that the bank has transferred statistical data sought by the U.S. Marc Dosch, a spokesman for the Zurich-based bank, declined to comment further.

Basler Kantonalbank (BSKP) spokesman Michael Buess said it also gave such data to the U.S.

Wegelin & Co. spokeswoman Albena Bjoerck said it will show “Swiss and U.S. authorities that the bank has not breached either Swiss or U.S. law.” The bank is cooperating with authorities “within the scope of Swiss law.”

After a U.S. indictment of two Julius Baer bankers this month, the bank said it “is one of a number of Swiss financial institutions supporting the ongoing tax negotiations between the U.S. and Switzerland” and is cooperating with the U.S. probe. Spokesman Martin Somogyi declined to comment further.

Youval Dichovski, Zurich-based head of internal audit at Bank Leumi Switzerland Ltd., said the bank is cooperating.

Bank Hapoalim Switzerland is complying with its legal and regulatory duties in cooperating with Swiss authorities, said Chief Executive Officer Michael Warszawski. He said the bank “has only a limited number of American clients whose holdings with the bank are very small.” The bank, he said, “is not aware of any violations of U.S. law by the bank or its employees.”

Few Employees

Cyrill Sele, a Vaduz, Liechtenstein-based spokesman for Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG (LLB), said it sent statistical data to the U.S. A man who answered the phone Oct. 20 at NZB said it is closing and has only a few employees.

Zuercher Kantonalbank spokesman Urs Ackermann said the bank was informed in September of the U.S. investigation. A spokesman for Mizrahi Bank had no immediate comment.

The UBS turnover of 4,450 names, in the face of Swiss laws barring most disclosures of client data, set a precedent for the current talks. The U.S. agreed to submit a request for specific accounts under a 1996 tax treaty and a follow-up agreement in 2003. Under that accord, Swiss bank secrecy doesn’t protect accounts if the owner engaged in “tax fraud or the like,” which is a narrower definition of tax evasion than U.S. law provides.

Turned Over Accounts

The Swiss directed UBS to turn over accounts to the Swiss Federal Tax Administration for review before handing them to the IRS. Negotiators are determining how to apply the 1996 tax treaty and one adopted in 2009 that still needs ratification by the U.S. Senate, the people said.

Switzerland is continuing talks with the U.S. authorities on administrative assistance in cases of tax fraud and tax evasion,” said Norbert Baerlocher, spokesman for the Swiss embassy in Washington, in a statement. “Any exchange of client data can occur only within the scope of the current legal system, in accordance with the procedures provided for in the existing or the new double-taxation agreement with the USA.”

The Swiss agreed in March 2009 to meet international standards to avoid being blacklisted as a tax haven by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The London-based Tax Justice Network this month ranked Switzerland at the top of its financial secrecy index.

‘A Big Issue’

“This is a big issue for these banks,” said C. Evan Stewart, an attorney at Zuckerman Spaeder LLP in New York, who isn’t involved in the settlement talks.

“These are no longer small institutions catering to wealthy people in a small part of central Europe,” he said. “These are multinational institutions now that have a reach that’s all over the world. This has a huge impact on the banking system in Switzerland. Another issue is the sovereignty in Switzerland and whether that will be given deference by other governments.”

The IRS has said 30,000 U.S. taxpayers with offshore accounts avoided prosecution since 2009 by entering a limited amnesty program, paying back taxes and saying who helped them hide their accounts from authorities. Hundreds of taxpayers in the program have given information to prosecutors that have helped them build criminal cases against bankers and advisers.

‘Wide Net’

“The DOJ and IRS are casting a wide net as they try to identify Americans guilty of offshore tax evasion,” said Aaron D. Schumacher, a Geneva-based wealth planning attorney, with Withers LLP.

“They obtained a lot of information about various Swiss banks from the participants in the voluntary disclosure programs and that has likely enabled the recent indictments we’ve seen,” he said. “More people than we saw previously have come to us looking to renounce their citizenship.”

Attorney Robert Katzberg, who represents clients in criminal tax cases, said U.S. taxpayers with Swiss accounts don’t understand that the IRS and Justice Department will get a trove of new data on secret accounts.

“There are thousands of Americans, who are the functional equivalent of residents of New Orleans on the eve of Hurricane Katrina, who have no idea that Katrina is about to happen,” said Katzberg, of Kaplan & Katzberg in New York.

To contact the reporters on this story: David Voreacos in Newark, New Jersey, at dvoreacos@bloomberg.net; Klaus Wille in Zurich atkwille@bloomberg.net; Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net; Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net; Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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Legal Reality Update – Yahoo! Finance Story


Google to Offer More Privacy for Owners of Wi-Fi Routers

 

14 September A.D. 2011

Not that the lack of privacy via Google was ever really a secret, but this one is rather confessional about their intent to invade privacy, worldwide.

A few European communities seem to have taken a lead role in the privacy protection area, which concepts may very well benefit people the world over.

Time will tell.

Harmon L. Taylor
Legal Reality
Dallas, Texas

Subscribe / unsubscribe :  legal_reality@earthlink.net

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Yahoo! Finance Story – Google to Offer More Privacy for Owners of Wi-Fi Routers – Yahoo! Finance
Date: 13 Sep 2011 13:14:36 -0700

Personal message:

Speaking of using cellphones/towers to track location data, etc.

Google to Offer More Privacy for Owners of Wi-Fi Routers - Yahoo! Finance
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Google-to-Offer-More-Privacy-nytimes-640565503.html?x=0

============================================================
Yahoo! Finance http://finance.yahoo.com/

Keeping Up Appearances


Keeping Up Appearances

So often in the Commercial world, appearances do not match reality. We see happy consumers, cheerful, happy employees, Utopian community scenes and of course, promotional freebies. The anxiety of predatory marketing and suppressive consumer relations practices are an undercurrent of consumer abuse. All is not well in the land of Commerce, and we know it.

History records many destructive and injurious results from the Corporatist worldview. People are forced to yield to sub-human and abusive, uncaring demands. The result is that the social structure becomes fractured and communities are divided off to be conquered. Sweeping the streets and sprucing up the neighborhood can’t hide structural defects, for very long. Appearances mean nothing if they only hide the certainty of future damage.

The Corporatist response to a negative situation is to neutralize or eliminate people. When faced with an obstacle, Corporatism displaces populations and seizes resources. Opposition to Corporatist goals is met with acts of financial war, followed by occupation and subjugation. Civil disruption is the outward display of the deliberate dismantling of a social structure. Millions of people are rendered non-entities by social programs and development policies. When people submit to external management, they are not the highest priority. Government sees itself as the highest priority in society. Corporatism brings the mechanism of oppression together. People are measured for their cost-effectiveness. Their status within the corporate structure is changed according to inhuman parameters. Eventually, they are classified as “Expired”, before they stop breathing.

What can the public do to defend itself from the excesses of the Corporatist agenda? Overall, the Corporatist agenda ignores human concerns. Individual components of the corporate structure are more vulnerable, because they are replaceable agents. In many instances, another corporate entity steps in as the “White Knight” figure and punishes the transgressor. It’s a stage show that makes the public feel better and does nothing to actually penalize abusive behavior. Just because an “Under New Management” sign goes up, doesn’t mean anything. The process keeps up appearances long enough to continue the conquest of the economic environment. In the Corporatist world, people are no more real than the cartoon characters in their advertising. They don’t have to be. Their only purpose is to encourage a calculated and expected response.

A very sobering lesson comes out of examining the motives in promoting private agendas in the Corporatist structure and worldview. The great atrocities of history didn’t start out as finished plans. They were works in progress that went beyond their original vision. Concessions to expediency always seem like a good idea, at the time. The problem is that keeping up appearances sometimes results in the elimination and disposal of people. People wouldn’t normally shoot their neighbors in the head and bury them in a pit. Unfortunately, people have stood in silence, while others did it. After the fact, no one has a good answer for what they were thinking, at the time.


Process Of Elimination


Process of Elimination

With the methods of ostracism and administrative character assassination that are in common practice today, who is able to to resist and defend themselves against agenda driven invasions of privacy? Compliance with regulatory demand will be no protection, in the end. After depending on a system to provide their needs by robbing their neighbors, the corporate structure sees that people are no more loyal and trustworthy than any other mercenaries. People are so accustomed to going along, to get along, that they ignore their complicity with activities that will eventually be turned back, upon them. Life won’t always be this good. As budgetary and commercial pressures intensify, expediency will be served. If the choice comes down to who eats and who starves, the bureaucrats and corporate thieves will make short work of the population.

We have seen a number of triage programs to deal with economic upheaval. Those who are compliant and trusting, are the first to go. Shelters and “work” programs are polite euphemisms for ghettos and internment camps. You are “helped” only if you are the property of a dead thing. This is how more than 100 million people were exterminated in the 20th century. Marginalized people are eliminated, their numbers reduced to break any remaining spirit of independence, and the compliant survivors are trapped on a cresting wave of debt, only to be swamped in the collapse. There are more riches-to-rags stories, every day.

These conditions won’t change. There has never been a recovery of purchasing power in the Federal Reserve note, since 1972. It was at that time that it became a pure fiat paper currency. Without any connection to gold and silver, men were pledged as security against debt. If this comes down to people cooking and eating their children, they were warned. They’ve harvested their neighbors for long enough. The carousel of revolving, pass-the-buck debt is about to slow to a stop. The currency collapse, in it’s final phase since 1972, will be complete. In the meantime, all of the indebted, indentured servants in their material prosperity will enjoy the adjustment periods between the downward steps, called “recoveries”. The hypocrisy that displays the audacity to define economic terms has no standing to define anything involving equity. Without independent audit of a monetary system that has engineered the wealth transfer from real money life into fiat currency death, there is nothing but the economic evidence to examine. The convicting fact is that the United States no longer has the ability to produce wealth to match the ability to incur debt. The common phrase for that is “operating in the red”. A disruption in the flow of debt caused the collapse of September, 2007. The conditions that produced that collapse have been placed in a different basket. Instead of a housing bubble, the financial disease is now infesting the United States Treasury. The remedies applied to date are a negative. Whether they are called liquidity infusion or refinancing, both are a form of selling the future to an adversary.

In the notes from the madness that is financial news, we see that the banks are going to loan the Federal Reserve “money” to help stabilize it. The question is, which walnut shell is the pea really under? It’s in Ben Bernanke’s right-hand jacket pocket. It must be quite a scene when Ben Bernanke makes a withdrawal. He presents the demand at the teller window. The teller responds, “But, of course, Mr. Ponzi! Would you like that in small, unmarked bills?” In a related headline, “Banks at risk after wild copter heist”. Helicopter Ben must be at it, again.

I know that I will see many of the people who now tell me what I have to do, in the street. I will listen to them tell me how they lost everything, when the economy went to Hell. The only response I can give them is, “It’s not there, yet. You’re still breathing.” If things get that bad, there won’t be any tree bark and grass left to eat.