How Much Wealth Are Our Wealthiest Hiding?

Tax havens like the Seychelles Islands are helping our super rich annually evade hundreds of billions in taxes.
Almost everyone knows how Al Capone went down. We’ve seen the movies.
The biggest and baddest gangster in American history extorted and murdered for years. But the feds could never convict him on anything, until the green eyeshade guys went to work. They finally nabbed Capone — on income tax evasion.
The moral of this story? Even the most ruthless of our richest can’t hide what the federal government really wants to find.
We need the green eyeshades back on the job. Today’s wealthy have taken tax evasion to a level that old Scarface never dared imagine. Their network of offshore tax havens is now hiding a significant share of the world’s wealth.

How much are the mega rich hiding offshore? Independent analysts have been working to pin that figure down. The most recent — and statistically robust — of these estimates comes from the young London School of Economics analyst Gabriel Zucman, a protégé of the widely heralded French economist Thomas Piketty.
Zucman has zeroed in on what he calls the “anomalies” of international financial record-keeping. His prime example: the “residence principle.”
In theory, this notion works simply. Say, for instance, that a French national holds a $1 million investment in U.S. financial securities. Financial records, under the residence principle, are supposed to record this $1 million as an asset for France and a liability for the United States.
At the end of the day, these assets and liabilities should balance out globally. But they don’t. Not even close. Why not? The wealthy are stashing a growing share of their wealth in tax haven banks that don’t, Zucman notes, “automatically report the investment income earned by their clients to tax authorities.”
In effect, the economist relates, we’re living in a world where taxes on our wealthy can only be collected if these wealthy “self-declare their income.” Ever fewer do.
Zucman’s virtuoso statistical sleuthing ends up concluding that the global super rich — deep pockets who typically hold over $50 million in assets — had stashed, as of 2008, $7.6 trillion in offshore tax havens, about 8 percent of total global personal financial wealth.
About 80 percent of this offshore wealth, Zucman calculates, goes undeclared to tax authorities. Declaring that income — and paying a taxes due on it — would add, Zucman estimates, over $200 billion annually to global tax collections.
Zucman emphasizes that his figures only cover financial wealth. His calculations do not cover the huge sums the ultra rich have parked in jewels or fine art or luxury real estate.
Helping the wealthy hide their wealth, financial and otherwise, has become an astonishingly lucrative business opportunity for bankers and barristers the world over. Most all major global banks, including American giants like JPMorgan Chase, have subsidiaries in the world’s top tax havens.
This lucrative, tax-evading universe occasionally surfaces out of the opaque accounting depths. One story broke late last month when a federal judge sentenced powerhouse Illinois lawyer Paul Daugerdas to 15 years behind bars for a two-decade-long fraud that saved his wealthy clients $1.6 billion in taxes.
Those clients ranged from an early investor in Microsoft to the late oil billionaire Lamar Hunt, one of the most powerful owners in professional sports.
For his services, Daugerdas personally pocketed $97 million.
“This case shows the astonishing lengths some super-wealthy Americans will go to avoid their obligation as citizens,” U.S. district court judge William Pauley fumed at the sentencing. “Mr. Daugerdas was a tax shelter racketeer who tapped into the incredible greed of some of the country’s wealthy.”
A new tax law provision that went into effect July 1 could make life for Daugerdas and his colleagues more difficult. Or at least IRS officials hope so.
The 2010 passage of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act gave these officials the regulatory wherewithal to level stronger sanctions against foreign banks that play footsie with wealthy American tax cheats. As of this month, the heart of the law goes fully into effect: Foreign banks must now report the accounts of U.S. citizens that total over $50,000.
About 70 nations have so far agreed to abide by the new Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act reporting requirements, many without much enthusiasm.
Other nations — tax havens like the Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean — remain defiant. They see the new law as an ideal opportunity to boost their global market share in tax-evasion services.
Financial operators in the Seychelles specialize in creating “shell companies” that help their wealthy clients conceal their fortunes. They take a fee for every company created.
“The British Virgin Islands registers 30,000 companies a year,” Paul Chow, a former member of the Seychellois parliament, boasted recently to a visiting journalist. “We are at about 11,000. We are catching up.”
The United States has in the past, of course, invaded islands with less “just cause” than the tax-evasion enablers in the Seychelles are now providing. But the United States wouldn’t have to invade anybody to end the tax evading ways of America’s rich. A serious squeeze on their financial industry enablers — a series of sophisticated, high-profile sting operations, for starters — would do.
That squeeze ought to go hand-in-glove with financial wealth reporting reforms that could set the stage for a still bolder step, a global tax on excessive wealth.
“With the right policies,” as Gabriel Zucman puts it, “this trend in rising wealth concentration could end pretty soon, sooner than we believe.”
 By Sam Pizzigati
By Sam Pizzigati


  1. difficult tosay but we could rightfully say multi-bliions of dollars for the fact that we know there is at least u$ 2,4 billions that is sleeping on Pl thievies bank accounts in Switzerland as confirmed by the Swiss Bank Organization.To that the multi-million laundered by Guy Adam in the ifve star hotel at Port Launay,the multi-million laundered via Francis Savy for RENE at Ste Anse,another multi-billion in Lumeria,other multi-million in share holders deal with the foriegners Pl are selling our patrimony to and allowing them to make us economic slave by selling thme our economic for free.And many other multi-millions in share holders deal abroad with for instance,Sir Lankan Despots,or Glenny Savy in Mauritius.,Michle invested some multi-millions in an illegal OFF SHORE Company,Rene himself a multi-millions dollar mango farmer in Australia,Adam in Panama and other South Maerican countires the list is just endless....MOney that would have made Seychelles the wealthiest African Country or the Switzerland of Africa.Should our billions not robbed by thr little gang of Plthieves ,Seychelles today would be the most porsperious,without the astronomic debt incurred by Pl,and would not be depending of foreign charity and would have been able ot solve amny curses such as hard drug addiction,healthcare standard,water supply,higher education,etc..etc..etc...

    Those thives and crimnals would have to pay for their gross crimes on the people of Seychelles sooner than later.

    Jeanne D'Arc

    Jeanne D'Arc

  2. After toppling Pl.Paul chow would be called for investigation for he seems well placed andpro-activily involve in this gross criminal activity call money laundering.Paul Chow would have to tell us all he knows about this illicit activities else we only would have to pay for Pl money laundering crimes.The thing is Paul Chow does not only know and an active perpetrator but pre-meditate his crimes as he demonstrates when he tell us publicly that there are already over 11 thousands companies created illegally by Pl and ilks abroad.Paul chow would be the first witness and accuse.

  3. Could it be that this fake Seychellois has been officially chosen by Pl thieves to laundered the ill-gotten billions for Pl around the world which help to cover up Pl illegal activities?

  4. ^Seychellois are being bled dry no matter how hard they fight their way out of absolute destitution and poverty, and they swimming upstream of illicit Capital leakage,corruption,money laundering ,theft by Pl gangsters.

    The cancer of corruption is deeply embedded in the marrow of Pl crooks.Seychellois are poor because they have been and continue to be robbed ,ripped,flimflammed bamboozled,victimized shafted and taken to the cleaner by those in clinging to power like blood sucking tics of a milk cow.

    Public owed assets are acquired by regime-supporters,liks and collaborators or officilas through illegal transactions or fraud.Bank loans are handed to front enterprises owed by party members or party officials without sufficient or proper colateral.Some businesses must pay high bribes to be able to participate in public contracting and procurement.And Pl addiction to theft is so that only a new democratic government would be able to stop the trend.

  5. We don't see why Chow would be excluded from an investigation.
    He is the biggest sell out after Mancham.
    Christopher Gill

  6. Chow i kakatwa menm bar eksepte i aparet pandan vanswet.

  7. Coco de Mer is being export illegally by Partilepep criminals.Co Co de Mer should be a seed that could be bought soley in Seychelles.Parti elepep has since years illegally decided to export on National nuts to probably China and other ASiean countires thereby making a ofrutne for themselves on the back of both Seychellois and our National symbol.

    Export from Coco de mer should be stopped as it is illegal and those invovel in importing this rare nuts face justice.Parti lepep is a criminal organization,Parti lepep is state terorirsm,Partilepep is a gang of ganster illegally controlling and abusing our institutions.Parti lepep was traitors that SOMETIME AND SOEMHOW WIOULD NEED TO FACE JUSTICE FOR THEIR MANY CRIMES.

  8. Paul Chow sems to be an active palyer in the money luanderying scadal taking palce in Seychelles.He has more than once came public to advertise the illegal pratices,and seems proud of being an active member of Pl gang the same gang who forced him into exile in 1977.Sohow ,like Mancham,CHow has proven that he can be easily manipulate and use therefore not someone to trust.It is sad to see how pl can buy the souls of these guys who pretended to be patriots,anti-communists.

  9. PUC is gong to suck Seychellois by increasing electricity.water etc prices.Morin tells us that PUC needs money to build more power stations though all experts including locals and International told Pl that the development and use of Solar energy is the long term solution to our regular shoratege of eleletricty.As to enlarging the Rochon DAm ,ti is a short term solution in ten years Morin wil come to tells us we still do not have enough stock of water for the population,Solution Morin is not desalination or building new dams but building a real Artificial lake which would solve Seychelles water sghoratage for centuries to come donkey.

    As to sEwages Morin----Sewage produce natural Gas that can be used to produce electricity instead of putting illegal fires into the garbages as Pl is doing at the moment because the later does not have solution of how to get rid of the mountain of trash that keeps growing at the port.

    Yout Wind turbine which is a a dsitrubance of the natural beauty of our country is not liked by Seychellois--there are much effective,easthetic wind turbins such as MAg Wind turbine which are much aesthetic and useful than Michel ugly wind turbine which are disturbing birds,producing noise ,aneasthetic,etc...

    For fresh water---Scietists have proven that there are 100 times more under water under the Coean than that on the surface of lands.maybe you should be making researches to find out if we also do not have under Ocean fresh water wells in our ezz instead of digging for Oil in the first palce.the possibility of having fresh water wells in millions of cubic meters of water is more porbable than oil Michel.Under Ocean wells have been discovered in south Africa Waters and elsewhere Morin.Stop sucking Seychellois with price hike when you cannot deliver a satisfying service to the communities Morin.

  10. MOrin wants more power stations to destroy the environment ,Michel wants to fight against climate change by allowing Morin to polluate the atmosphere with more future power stations.Who is ruling Michel or Morin?


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