Today officially begins autumn, when leaves should be falling just like Hillary Clinton’s feeble body and poll numbers:
Posts Tagged ‘fraud’
Here’s a potentially huge scandal that’s just unfolding now:
An unprecedented leak of more than 11 million documents, called the “Panama Papers”, has revealed the hidden financial dealings of some of the world’s wealthiest people, as well as 12 current and former world leaders and 128 more politicians and public officials around the world.
More than 200,000 companies, foundations and trusts are contained in the leak of information which came from a little-known but powerful law firm based in Panama called Mossack Fonseca, whose files include the offshore holdings of drug dealers, Mafia members, corrupt politicians and tax evaders – and wrongdoing galore.
The law firm is one of the world’s top creators of shell companies, which can be legally used to hide the ownership of assets. The data includes emails, contracts, bank records, property deeds, passport copies and other sensitive information dating from 1977 to as recently as December 2015.
It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues.
There’s 2.6 terrabytes of data released, including Donald Trump’s favorite Russian dictator:
The most extraordinary allegations in the archive revolve around Putin’s closest associates, including Sergey Roldugin, a close friend since the late 1970s when Putin was a young KGB agent.
Roldugin is a cellist for the St Petersburg orchestra, yet his name appears as the owner of offshore companies that have rights to loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars. A Russian news service report in 2010 disclosed that he owned at least three per cent of Bank Rossiya, Russia’s most important bank.
When Mossack Fonseca helped open a bank account in Switzerland on behalf of Roldugin, the application form asked if he had “any relation to PEPs (politically exposed persons) or VIPs.”
The one-word answer was, “No.” Yet, Roldugin is godfather to Putin’s daughter Mariya.
“Roldugin is, by his proximity to a serving head of state, clearly an exposed person,” Mark Pieth, a former head of the Swiss justice ministry’s organized crime division, told the ICIJ team.
The documents show how in 2008 a company controlled by Roldugin had influence over Russia’s largest truck maker Kamaz, joining with several other offshore companies to help another Putin insider acquire majority control of the company. They wanted foreign investment, and German carmaker Daimler later that year bought a 10 per cent stake in Kamaz for $250 million.
The offshore company that connects many Putin loyalists is Sandalwood Continental Limited in the British Virgin Islands. Roldugin was a shareholder until 2012, as was Oleg Gordin, a little-known businessman whom incorporation documents describe as linked to “law enforcement agencies.”
The files also mention a company co-owned by Putin friend Yury Kovalchuk, the largest shareholder of Bank Rossiya. Kovalchuk was among those targeted by US sanctions in 2014 in retribution for Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Another friend, Arkady Rotenberg, Putin’s judo partner and a billionaire construction mogul, openly obtained companies through Mossack Fonseca. The US Treasury Department, when sanctioning him in 2014, suggested that the oligarch acted on behalf of “a senior official.”
That was widely believed to mean Putin, whose fingerprints were not on any offshore company.
The fact that Putin is lining the pockets of himself and his cronies is hardly shocking, but having concrete proof of it is a different thing altogether.
Strangely, the web page for the papers run by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, doesn’t seem to have any Americans fingered by the papers yet. There’s a good chance that could change.
“Health investigators with the state of Texas went into Planned Parenthood’s clinic in San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas Thursday morning, but declined to say why.”
“Earlier this week, the [Texas Health and Human Services Commission] alleged that Planned Parenthood “committed and condoned numerous acts of misconduct captured on video that reveal repeated program violations and breach the minimum standards of care required of a Medicaid enrollee.”
I’m sure Planned Parenthood’s backers will soon tell us why abortion is such an important and fundamental right that the organization should be allowed to commit Medicaid fraud at will…
Remember the Kroll Report, the look into the University of Texas’ system of preferential admissions for unqualified friends and relatives of the well-connected? The one that showed UT Regent Wallace Hall was right and his critics were wrong?
Now it turns out that the Kroll report whitewashed some aspects of the UT scandal, namely how low the LSAT scores were for some of those well-connected applicants:
“Of 6,155 admitted applicants from 2010 to 2014, only four were admitted with an LSAT score below 150,” Kroll reported. Also, “During the time period reviewed, we found only two applicants who were admitted with both an undergraduate GPA below 3.0 and LSAT score below 155; however, both applicants belonged to an under-represented minority group and had valuable public sector experience before applying to law school.”
Actually, Kroll found dozens of students with LSAT scores below 150, and even found three students admitted during the Powers years with scores in the 130s.
It’s impossible to say now exactly how many underqualified students were admitted, as UT redacted the tallies. We can say that in 2004, UT Law admitted at least one person with each of the following scores: 137, 140, 141, 144, 147, 148 and 149.
In 2005, UT Law admitted at least one person with each of the following scores: 137, 140, 141, 143, 144, 147, 148 and 149.
In 2006, the low scores recorded were 137, 141, 143, 146, 147, 148 and 149.
So who ordered the Kroll to spike its findings?
“Vice Chancellor Dan Sharphorn oversaw the report. He reports directly to Chancellor Bill McRaven.”
Ongoing lawsuits by Watchdog.org and a Dallas Morning News columnist may succeed in getting past UT’s stonewalling (“In response to a public records request, UT last week produced a key 24,536-page document from the Kroll files, with every last page redacted.”) to cast some light on the subject.
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Greece managed to make its scheduled IMF loan repayment of around €750 million ($837 million) which “buys the country a few more weeks to reach a deal with creditors on fresh financing.”
Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said “Greece must escape the ‘strictness trap’ of budget measures that might hurt the economy and so prevent the country from reducing its debt mountain to manageable levels.” In other words: “We absolutely refuse to stop spending other people’s money to prop up our welfare state.”
So the farce will continue on a little longer, at least.
In other Greek debt news:
Hope you’ve finished your taxes already! Time for another Texas vs. California update:
Time for another Texas vs. California update:
Here’s your first Texas vs. California update of 2015:
This is all the result of the regents’ irresponsible oversight. In 1990, UCRP had 137 percent of the assets it needed to meet its obligations, so regents suspended employer and employee contributions to the pension fund. State legislators also stopped allocating money to UCRP. This “pension contribution holiday” lasted 20 years. To top it off, during this period, university officials boosted pension benefits a half-dozen times. By 2012, more than 2,100 UC retirees were each collecting six-figure pensions for life.
(Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
— HeisenbergHattie (@HBergHattie) January 4, 2015
A Friday LinkSwarm after a very eventful week…
Can You Hear Us Now? pic.twitter.com/nvaSsMe78n
— Bryan R.. (@youthpastorbry) November 6, 2014