The term Treuhand is often translated over to “Trust” for English speakers.  Author, Shelley Stark, (Hidden Treuhand:  How  Corporations and Individuals Hide Assets and Money),  says this is not entirely accurate.   If you use your search engine and type in “treuhand,” you will get a great number of pages of links to companies, many in the German language who offer Treuhands, (the open and visible kind). 

Hidden Treuhands are a horse of a different color and may only be accessed in certain countries that have laws which allow them, or do not have laws prohibiting them, and all the invisibility and secrecy that goes with them.  Ms. Stark discusses this very succinctly in her book.  Her book is user friendly for average citizens and will make it possible to understand how the Hidden Treuhand, is used as a financial manipulation tool to accomplish many things, legal and illegal.

Due to growing problems with tax evasion and money laundering, and financing of drug cartels and terrorism, governments are beginning to try to investigate this arena.  How would a financial instrument that has created problems with tax evasion, money laundering and with connections to drug, cartels, organized crime, and terrorists have anything to do with our banking crisis, bailouts and economic meltdown? 

Hidden Treuhands are not only being used for notorious crime in arenas of violence and intrigue, but are also being accessed quietly by seemingly normal upper income citizens and corporations with seemingly bland missions.  Some European countries have suffered great tax losses due to Hidden Treuhands, which that country’s citizens have set up in neighboring countries who offer them. 

This concern has now become publicly acknowledged in the United States as well.  If individuals, families, or corporations can access Hidden Treuhands, they can not only evade paying taxes here in the U.S., but can also hide a great variety of things, such as money, property, and other assets, as well as hide people or beneficiaries, specific stock holders or consultants who are paid or are benefitting financially.  Ms. Stark explains how this is done in her book.  Recently vast numbers of Americans were discovered to have these accounts in certain European countries and were using them as illegal tax shelters.  The use of a Hidden Treuhand is illegal in America.

Link to About the Financial Action Task Force (FATF):

 http://www.fatf-gafi.org/pages/0,3417,en_32250379_32236836_1_1_1_1_1,00.html

The 35 Members of the FATF

The FATF currently comprises 33 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organizations, representing most major financial centers in all parts of the globe.

ArgentinaAustralia

Austria

Belgium

Brazil

Canada

China

Denmark

European Commission

FinlandFrance

Germany

Greece

Gulf Co-operation Council

Hong Kong, China

Iceland

Ireland

Italy

JapanKingdom of the Netherlands*

Luxembourg

Mexico

New Zealand

Norway

Portugal

Republic of Korea

Russian Federation

SingaporeSouth Africa

Spain

Sweden

Switzerland

Turkey

United Kingdom

United States

* the Kingdom of the Netherlands: the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba.

The Mission of the FATF is stated as follows:

 

FATF Mandate (58Kb, PDF, English) 

The FATF is an inter-governmental policy-making body whose purpose is to establish international standards, and develop and promote policies, both at national and international levels, to combat money laundering (ML) and terrorist financing (TF). 

It was established in July 1989 by a Group of Seven (G-7) Summit in Paris, initially to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.  Click here to see the Economic Declaration from that G-7 Summit.

In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering. 

Since its inception, the FATF has operated under a finite life-span, requiring a specific decision of the Task Force to continue.  The current mandate of the FATF (for 2004-2012) was subject to a mid-term review in 2007-2008 and was reaffirmed and revised at a Ministerial meeting in April 2008.

The priority of the FATF is to ensure global action to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, and concrete implementation of its 40+9 Recommendations throughout the world.  Starting with its own members, the FATF monitors countries’ progress in implementing AML/CFT measures; reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures; and, promotes the adoption and implementation of the 40+9 Recommendations globally.

Information on Cover Page:

Financial Action Task Force

Mutual Evaluation Report

Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism

Austria

26 June 2009

Link to full report:  http://www.fatf-gafi.org/dataoecd/22/50/44146250.pdf

This report is 358 pages long.  Hidden Treuhand information may be found throughout, but there are some key issues discussed pages 218-225.  For those of you with knowledge in this area, you will want to read this report.  If this appears to be daunting to you, please read Ms. Stark’s book which has been written to make it an easier read for the average non-career-financial-professional person to absorb. 

Link to full Report on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Securities Sector:

 http://www.fatf-gafi.org/dataoecd/32/31/43948586.pdf  (October 2009)

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