Our Richard Smith Speaks on Taxcast

Yves here. This Taxcast, a monthly podcast of the Tax Justice Network, manages the seemingly difficult task of making tax news accessible and engaging. Host Naomi Fowler interviews our international fraud gumshoe Richard Smith and another sometime NC guest poster, journalist Ian Fraser, on their work on Scottish limited partnerships and in particular, the damage they’ve been able to do in Moldova.

The enormous back story of Moldova and Scottish Limited Partnerships can be found here (overview), here, (the nuts and bolts of the fraud), here (the burgeoning mess of Scottish LPs)  and here (the out of control company agents who created the partnerships and other companies used in the fraud, and the even bigger mess that is UK money laundering “enforcement”).

The summary of the Taxcast 30 minute podcast:

In the January 2016 Tax Justice Network podcast: What’s Scotland got to do with the plunder of Moldova? We take a look at the ‘Wild West’ of Scottish Limited Partnerships. Also, we discuss the tensions in the EU; is the net finally closing on multinational companies, the tax minimisation deals they’ve been getting from various European countries and the big four accountancy firms who advised them? Just how bad was the sell off of one of Colombia’s most profitable power generation companies? What’s former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair got to do with it? And why’s it been ignored outside Latin America? Also, we talk about the MEP who’s dragging the European Commission through the courts to get access to papers they’d rather we didn’t see. John Christensen will eat his hat if they DON’T reveal what MEP Fabio De Masi suspects they will: ‘systematic political backup for a tax avoidance cartel that costs taxpayers in the EU hundreds of billions of dollars annually.’

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  1. TheCatSaid

    Incredibly insightful podcast from beginning to end.

    Regarding the Scottish Limited Partnerships as a vehicle for obscuring ownership, Richard Smith points out that sensible disclosure rules should be brought in all at once for companies, limited partnerships and trusts–not piecemeal, as is happening now which leaves gaping loopholes. He says a simple immediate remedy would be to bar 20-50 dodgy jurisdictions (i.e., places that exercise secrecy and non-disclosure) from hosting companies that can be accepted as General Partners of Limited Partners of Scottish Limited Partners.

    The piece near the beginning about the Colombian power plant, and the Blair and “GOD” connection, was also a humdinger.

  2. ambrit

    Thank you for this source. It reaffirms for me the idea that “muckraker” is a term of respect.

  3. susan the other

    It reaffirms for me that exploitation is a gene. We can never rely on the “goodwill” of international corporations. It’s an oxymoron. We are currently,out of extreme necessity, divesting ourselves of all our now obvious oxymorons. So then I was wondering as I listened to this, spacing out on a map of the plane, that Earth’s gravity pulls us around in our orbit – we are not pushed – because the momentum has created the separation of Europe from No. America, Africa from So. America and the breakaway of Australia from the rest of Oceania. That means the planet is turning faster than the continents by a tiny bit. No? Slightly unbalanced little orb … no wonder we are so goofy.

  4. Jim in SC

    I thought this was suprisingly uninformative. We really didn’t learn the mechanism through which Scottish limited partnerships were used to funnel billions out of Moldova. There is a lot of insinuation, but little in the way of facts.

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