Incorporation Lawyers Nassau

Trillion-Dollar Hideaway – Mother Jones

“You’ve done just the right thing, ” Colin Honess, a garrulous, pleasant man with a big white beard and matching hair, tells me. “If you’re going to put your money away, you want to make sure it’s in good hands. And this is a very good, safe place to put your money.”

It’s a steamy mid-July morning and we’re sitting in Honess’ office at Jerome E. Pyfrom & Co., a law firm in Nassau, capital of the Bahamas, one of the world’s premier “offshore” financial havens. Pyfrom & Co. specializes in setting up secret bank accounts that allow people to hide their funds—from tax collectors, law enforcement authorities, creditors, or anyone else who might have a claim on their cash. Some experts estimate that more than $5 trillion is now hidden in offshore accounts. I’ve come to the Bahamas to investigate what kind of financial services are available to wealthy Americans eager to bury their riches abroad. Since my own resources are modest, I tell Honess I’ve grown rich as a NASDAQ trader and am sick and tired of being “taxed to death” by the US government. How can Pyfrom & Co. be of assistance? I ask.

I’d initially contacted the firm via email and learned there was no need to actually visit the Bahamas to open my clandestine account; I could submit a few pages of paperwork by mail, and Honess would handle the rest. But now, sitting across from him in his office, I explain to Honess that I felt it prudent to take a firsthand look.

He hands me a packet of information, including a detailed report that lays out the advantages of stashing one’s money in the Bahamas. “Imagine a company which is not required to file any public notice of who its officers and directors are, ” it begins. “No need to reveal the identity of its shareholders; no need to file any financial statements or keep any accounts. Imagine that such a company can be incorporated in an economically and politically stable country which is a member of the British Commonwealth and which imposes no income, capital gains, or inheritance tax. ‘Pinch me! I’m dreaming!’ you may be saying if you have never been introduced to the Bahamian International Business Company.”

For the would-be tax evader or money launderer, International Business Companies, or IBCs as they are generally known, are indeed a dream come true. These shell companies often conduct no real business—they are simply used as front operations by people trying to hide their wealth. A 1998 United Nations report says that IBCs “have few commercial or financial justifications, except to conceal the origin and destination of goods in international commerce…and to evade taxes by moving profits and assets out of the reach of the tax collector.”

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