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Sat Oct 26, 2019, 06:58 AM

I have just finished watching "The Laundromat" [View all]

on Netflix. If you haven't already done so, I strongly urge you to do so. If you don't have Netflix, please find a friend or family member who does and watch it with them.

I am posting this in the Warren 2020 Group because, to me, the film provides excellent reasons for why Elizabeth Warren should be the next President of the United States. If there is something that she understands better than any of our current Dem candidates, it is how financial products and markets work and how easily innocent people can become caught in their tangled snare by those who are totally and unashamedly unscrupulous.

While the movie has so far received mixed reviews, my personal opinion is that it works, both as entertainment and as a cautionary tale.

For an excellent overview of the whole Panama Papers situation, here is a fascinating website:

Panama Papers FAQ: All You Need To Know About The 2016 Investigation

Some excerpts from the link:

What is the Panama Papers investigation?
The Panama Papers is the name given to one of the biggest leaks of documents and largest collaborations of journalists in history.

Published in 2016, the Panama Papers involved more than 350 reporters from 80 countries and was coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Since then, dozens more journalists have been added to the collaboration, and the investigation has continued.
Has ICIJ done anything else since then?
ICIJ has published more groundbreaking global investigations, into the offshore industry (see Paradise Papers, West Africa Leaks, Mauritius Leaks and Bribery Division) and other sectors beset by regulatory loopholes that endanger public safety, like medical devices and solitary confinement (see Implant Files and Solitary Voices).

Our reporting on the Panama Papers has also continued. In June 2018, ICIJ and its partners published new stories from a fresh leak of 1.2 million Mossack Fonseca files. The documents, which included emails, passport copies and criminal case files, were dated from early 2016 through the end of 2017, a few months before the firm collapsed. The information was obtained by the same newspaper that had received the first leak, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared with ICIJ.

This part is especially important:

I want to know more, where should I start?
Read the original announcement. See the key findings from when the first stories were published in 2016 (2 minutes)
What’s happened since the Panama Papers? Find out how the world responded to the groundbreaking investigation with arrests, protests and new laws (3 minutes)
Watch the Victims of Offshore video. Discover how shell companies have played a role in hurting real people, from brutal attacks on civilians to child sex rings to dilapidated hospitals. (4 minutes)
Relive the memorable (and strange) moments. From yoghurt protests to small moustaches to the #fontgate that cracked a major court case, read 11 things that stuck with us as we reflected back on the Panama Papers investigation (5 minutes)
Explore the Power Players. See some of the high-ranking politicians (and their relatives and associates) who were linked to secretive offshore companies
Play the Stairway to Tax Heaven game. Pick a character and see if you can hide your wealth without getting caught
Read the story of the law firm. Discover how Mossack Fonseca was founded, and how it came to be a key player in the offshore finance industry (18 minutes)
Go behind the scenes as Mossack Fonseca responded to the Panama Papers. See what we found in a second leak of Mossack Fonseca documents that showed how the firm fared (and the emails they sent) in the immediate aftermath of the investigation (17 minutes)
Dive into a comprehensive overview of the investigation’s findings. From Vladimir Putin’s associates to terrorist organizations to celebrities and sports stars, read the original Panama Papers story that created headlines around the world (27 minutes)

Please also note that the USA itself is considered to be one of the easiest places in which to set up so-called anonymous shell companies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_as_a_tax_haven

From the link:
A 2012 study by various US universities showed that the US has the most lenient regulations for setting up a shell company anywhere in the world outside of Kenya.[6] Tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, Jersey and the Bahamas were far less permissive, researchers found, than states such as Nevada, Delaware, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming and New York.[2][6] "[Americans] discovered that they really don't need to go to Panama", said James Henry of the Tax Justice Network.[2] For example, a single address in Wilmington (1209 North Orange Street) — is listed as the headquarters for no fewer than 285,000 separate businesses[7] due to Delaware's desirable corporate taxes and law, and it is estimated that 9 billion dollars of potential taxes is lost over the past decade, due to the Delaware loophole.[8] Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have firms registered in North Orange Street,[9] and lawyers, trust companies and financial firms including Rothschild & Co are moving offshore accounts from locations such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands into the US to take advantage of the country's loose regulations, calling it the "new Switzerland" (see Banking in Switzerland).[1]

Mark Hays of Global Witness said "the US is one of the easiest places to set up so-called anonymous shell companies",[2] and Stefanie Ostfeld from the same organization said that "the US is just as big a secrecy jurisdiction as so many of these Caribbean countries and Panama".[10] More than 1.1 million live legal entities were incorporated in Delaware at the end of 2014. An increasing number – more than 70% – of those were LLCs.[11] The Delaware Division of Corporations said in August 2015 that "an LLC entices all types of people since it is easy to operate and oversee", and Delaware is currently one of the few states without sales tax.[12] Delaware does not tax companies which operate there, nor their royalty income. However, the LLC is more popular and often less expensive in states such as Wyoming, Nevada and Oregon. Approximately 668,000 anonymous LLCs are registered just in those three states.[11]

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