The number of complaints received by the ethics watchdog last year which related directly to Tipperary North TD Michael Lowry is 388
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A HIGH Court judge has cleared the way for aggrieved customers to initiate private criminal prosecutions against bank staff. read full article
INDEPENDENT MEP Nessa Childers, who resigned from the Labour Party last week, has sensationally claimed that she was subjected to a campaign of “overt bullying” by senior part read full article
(Some) Irish super-rich bricking it as secretive offshore haven leaks confidential information | NAMA Wine Lake
We are expecting a comprehensive list by the end of this week, but the partial leaking of lists of directors and shareholders of companies in the secretive offshore tax, banking and corporate-regulation haven of the British Virgin Islands has already caused waves with the campaign manager for French president Francois Hollande being forced to reveal his business relationship with a Chinese partner, and a Mongolian politician saying he might have to resign. The partial and full lists are/should be, available here.
But in Ireland, we know that the BVI has been a destination of choice for Irish property developers, as well as businessmen and women generally. After all, its (hitherto!) secrecy and tax regime have been attracting such titans of Irish business as the (Sean) Quinn family and Ray Grehan. A BVI registered company is after NAMAed Paddy Kelly, now in Florida. There is nothing illegal or untoward about incorporating BVI companies, but there are long-held suspicions that the secrecy provided by the BVI has been abused. You cannot generally find out the shareholders, directors or financial information of companies incorporated in the BVI, it’s all hidden behind nominees like BVI solicitors. This leaking has changed all that.
The Revenue Commissioners and NAMA will be just two state agencies chomping at the bit to get their hands on the lists which might expose omissions in tax returns and disclosures of assets. NAMA has already reported two developers to the Gardai, apparently for false statements made in connection with business plans, which you might recall required developers (and sometimes their spouses) to provide sworn affidavits. NAMA has engaged lawyers in the BVI previously.
Revenue will ruthlessly bring to bear the full arsenal of laws at its disposal to enforce the new tax.
If necessary Revenue will deduct the tax directly from the salary, pension or bank accounts of those who fail to co-operate.
People can only judge for themselves Revenue’s record for pursuing people…We have very extensive data. We will pursue. We’ve done it in the past.
Well I’d like to accept Ms. Feehily’s invitation and judge her organisation’s record of pursuing people.
A report in last Sunday’s Independent reveals that not one person has been prosecuted over the Ansbacher tax criminality.
Ms. Feehily extends three excuses for her organisation’s disgraceful failure in bringing the Ansbacher white-collar criminals to account.
Excuse one: A lack of original documentation.
An essential requirement for a successful criminal prosecution is original documents. There were very few original documents available and there was no legal mechanism to compel Caymen entities to produce such documents.
This excuse is, of course, bullshit. There is a mountain of good quality evidence available to Revenue if it had a mind to prosecute.
The reason this good quality evidence has never been used is simple – it would most likely result in damaging the interests of very influential and powerful people.
Excuse two: Time elapsed has made prosecutions impossible.
While many cases passed the serious evasion test to be considered for prosecution, the time elapsed – typically in excess of 10 years since the alleged offence occurred – meant it would not be possible to mount a successful prosecution.
Ms. Feehily’s admission that many cases passed the serious evasion test for prosecution directly contradicts her first excuse re original documents.
The ‘time lapsed’ excuse is the most powerful strategy employed by state agencies when it comes to protecting influential and powerful people.
It is no accident, in my opinion, that almost every major white-collar scandal is strung out over many years in order to benefit from the ‘time lapse’ excuse.
Excuse three: Some of the criminals were too old or too dead.
Being too old will not be accepted as an excuse by Revenue for failing to pay the property tax. This excuse is strictly reserved for influential and powerful people.
Neither will death be accepted as an excuse. If an ordinary citizen undervalues his property and the property is sold on after his death the tax due, with interest, will be extracted from the new owners.
Influential and powerful people are exempt from such exacting laws. For example, when the criminal politician Haughey died his wealth was passed on to his family with no response from Revenue.
In functional democracies such ill-gotten wealth is heavily taxed or even seized outright.
Returning to Ms. Feehily’s invitation to people to judge Revenue’s record of pursuing people I think the following sums up what most ordinary people think.
The very fact that so called law enforcement agencies like Revenue and the Financial Regulator are incapable or unwilling to enforce the law when dealing with white-collar crime but are more than efficient in enforcing the law against ordinary citizens suggests that there is indeed one law for the rich and another for the peasants.