Barack Obama once described it as “either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world”. That was in 2009. The building was Ugland House in George Town on the Caribbean island of Gran Cayman.
Ugland House was then home to 18,857 corporations. And Ugland House is soon to be home to another one, along with the profits of 43 Australian hospitals, unless Treasurer Josh Frydenberg blocks the deal on grounds of national interest.
No sooner had the Northern Beaches Hospital in Sydney been built at a cost of $2 billion to taxpayers, its operator Healthscope opted to sell it, along with another 42 Australian hospitals also subsidised by taxpayers, to a shadowy group which has a large presence in tax havens.
At least 800 Australians have been linked with the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca, and there could be many more. And this firm is just one of a multitude of similar firms operating similar tax secrecy networks in similar jurisdictions to Panama.
Journalists sifting through thousands of documents from the leaked Panama Papers have uncovered a list of dumb idiots still paying income tax.
The list – which includes Australians – is said to be several pages long. It could be the most explosive find yet in what is believed to be the biggest data leak in history.
“We’ve learnt some pretty amazing stuff this past week, but even we were taken aback by the idea that some dumbasses were filling in tax returns and paying tax at the proper rate,” Investigative journalists Jenny McGuire said.
The tax – which is funnelled directly to central tax offices in countries across the globe – is believed to be used to fund hospitals, schools and roads.
“Some chumps are paying literally thousands of dollars in tax, every single year. That’s money that could be used to fund extra houses and yachts,” McGuire said.
More to come.
Wilson Parking seems to be burdened by uncannily high costs.
The avoidance of tax by corporate executives and the very rich is the last thing the Turnbull Government needs as it prepares for a federal budget that is likely to be anchored by a cut in the company tax rate.
The Panama Papers may be the defining story of the 2016 Democratic Primary. And Bernie Sanders is on the right side of history.