What I’ve been reading:

No one knows how much undeclared money is stashed offshore. Estimates range from a couple of trillion dollars to $30 trillion. What is clear is that America’s share is growing. Already the largest location for managing foreign wealth, it has picked up business as regulators have increased information-exchange and scrutiny of banks and trust companies in Europe and the Caribbean. Money is said to be flowing in from the Bahamas and Bermuda, as well as from Switzerland.

A recent investigation by Bloomberg, a news provider, found several wealth managers whose American arms have benefited, including Rothschild, a British firm, and Trident Trust, a provider of offshore services. New business has been booked through subsidiaries in states with strong secrecy laws and weak oversight, such as South Dakota and Nevada. Another investigation, by Die Zeit, a German newspaper, concluded that for the tax cheat looking to pull money out of Switzerland, America was now the safest bet. “It’s going nuts. Everyone is doing it or looking into it,” says a tax consultant, speaking of the American loophole.


My recent post on The New Tax Haven https://eightateeight.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/the-new-tax-haven/

I wrote the words “Deng Xiaoping, Party Central, Beijing” on an envelope, put the letter into it, and deposited it in a public mailbox outside the Beijing Observatory about noon on January 6. It later became what the authorities called “the letter that led to the Beijing riot.”

When I mailed it I had no expectation that anything would result. The fate of most letters to top leaders—which arrive in the thousands, maybe tens of thousands, each day—is to sink into silent oblivion, perhaps without even being read. Chinese leaders never answer letters from commoners (except when, in well-selected cases, they publish an exchange in order to spread a certain message). Certified letters mailed “return receipt requested” do not bring receipts. I was a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and my letters to the president of the Academy had never received any acknowledgment; so why should I expect one from Deng Xiaoping?

Still, I felt it likely that Deng would at least notice my letter, if not answer it. For better or worse, I was one of the people he “cared about.”

The next day, January 7, two guests came to my home, and their visits made it considerably more likely that my letter would get noticed by the addressee. The first guest was Liu Da, the open-minded former Party secretary at USTC, who followed the practice of “opening one eye and closing the other.” Liu read my letter (I had saved a handwritten copy) and expressed his strong approval. “Yes,” he kept saying, “yes, those people should be released.”



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