Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New Zealand is a haven for corrupt money II

Another day, another story of a corrupt foreign politician using new Zealand to launder their money. This time, its Eduardo Cunha, former Speaker of the Brazilian Congress:

A controversial and disgraced prominent Brazilian politician accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes used a New Zealand company as part of a complex arrangement to hide his wealth in secret bank accounts.

Eduardo Cunha, the suspended speaker of Brazil's lower house of Congress, used a New Zealand trust company run by people featuring prominently in the Panama Papers and tax haven organiser Mossack Fonseca, to hide millions of dollars in bribes involving the state-run oil company Petrobras.

Mr Cunha was suspended for obstructing the official inquiry into the corruption scandal and his notoriety in Brazil is such that he's been likened to the fictional corrupt US politician Frank Underwood, featured in the television series House of Cards.

And National's friends have enriched themselves by taking a cut of his corruption.

But while National was defending corruption to the death in Parliament just a few weeks ago, now they've changed their tune, and are promising stronger anti-money laundering laws by next year. But its unclear if they have any intention to solve the core problem: secret foreign trusts which are effectively tax-free. Until we eliminate them, New Zealand will continue to be a haven for corrupt foreign money.