Who’s Looking After Momma?
When I mentioned the Caymans and Vanuatu as places to hide money to a wealthy German friend, he shook his head. “Liechtenstein,” he said. “That’s where you want to put your money—where it will be safe, and your identity will be protected.”
Last Valentine’s Day, the CEO of Deutsche Post AG and a director of Morgan Stanley, Klaus Zumwinkel, was subjected to a perp walk by German prosecutors with TV cameras rolling outside his home in the suburbs of Cologne, Germany. He was suspected of evading $1.46 million in taxes by hiding money in Liechtenstein.
It turned out that one Heinrich Kieber—who worked at the LGT Group, Liechtenstein’s largest bank, owned by the country’s ruling family—filched a slew of confidential client files and offered them for sale to tax authorities around the world.
“After checking out a sample of the information on the CD,” wrote Carter Dougherty and Mark Landler in The New York Times, “the German finance minister, Peer Steinbrück, authorized a payment of about €5 million ($7.3 million) for the information.”
Zumwinkel, who has resigned all business affiliations, is the first of potentially hundreds of important and wealthy tax evaders in Europe and the U.S. whose lives are about to be turned topsy-turvy—as in fines and jail time—because they got involved in operations outside their core businesses that they did not understand and believed they were untouchable.
The thief, Heinrich Kieber, is on the lam and in fear of his life.
Eliot Spitzer, the luv-guv
“I am a f*****g steamroller,” crowed Eliot Spitzer, former attorney general and later governor of New York. He was truly hated for the vitriol with which he went after his quarry as well as taking advantage of a complicit media to heap humiliation on people in high places even before they came to trial. Not only did he go after the rich and powerful, in 2004 he indicted 18 people involved in New York “escort services” and another ring that promoted sex tours to Asia.