Pandora profile reveals the 'ancestor' of keeping secrets for customers in tax paradise - Part 1

Among the individuals named in the Pandora File, is an Australian that is hardly known but is considered the "father" of the industry of hiding money for wealthy clients overseas.

Part 1: From accountant to millionaire

Graeme Briggs, founder of Asiaciti. Photo: Dailymail
Graeme Briggs, founder of Asiaciti. Photo: Dailymail

That's Graeme Briggs, now 75 years old. Also thanks to the profession of keeping secrets for customers, this character also accumulated a huge amount of personal fortune. According to Dailymail, Briggs' total net worth is worth $62 million. Over the years, he has bought expensive real estate globally, including a $10 million property in Australia. Among Briggs' expensive possessions is a rare Japanese fountain pen worth more than $4 million.

February is one of the coldest months of the year in Moscow, Russia. That's when Australian accountant Graeme Briggs set foot in the country in 2015. He went there to meet in person a client named Herman Gref.

Gref is the president of Russia's largest bank SberBank and wants Briggs' help to protect his vast wealth. Gref's bank had just come under international sanctions after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, near the Russian border. Although Gref personally was not punished, he is still considered a high-risk client, the type of client that most accounting firms avoid.

But not with Briggs. A genius accountant, Briggs and his firm Asiaciti made a fortune setting up financial structures and trusts to protect not only their clients' money but also their secrets.

Briggs always sought to stay on the right side of the law, but his decisions were not always safe. Details of the meeting in Moscow between Briggs and Mr. Gref can be found in the Pandora Files, the largest leak of financial documents in history.

Asiaciti, founded by Briggs, specializes in hiding money overseas for clients. Photo: Shutterstock
Asiaciti, founded by Briggs, specializes in hiding money overseas for clients. Photo: Shutterstock

Asiaciti, the Singapore-based offshore accounting and consulting firm co-founded and led by Briggs, accounts for nearly 2 million documents in the Pandora File. The documents reveal secret details of how Briggs amassed a fortune of $62 million for himself, in part by helping high-risk clients conceal their financial affairs.

Briggs is very good with numbers. Since he was in school, friends have commented that Briggs is smart, really good at math. Briggs started working as an accountant at the age of 23 and founded his own firm, Asiaciti, at the age of 30.

During the 1980s, Asiaciti began opening branches in several small island countries, where tax laws for foreign businesses were lax and confidentiality laws were tight.

With clients, Briggs always advertises an island nation that others often overlook: Samoa. In the middle of the Pacific, a new tax haven is emerging and Briggs helps it grow.

In a leaked email in the Pandora File, a Samoan administrator considers Briggs the "father" of the offshore industry (management, registration, operations in an outside country, usually a country of preference. financial, legal and tax incentives). Briggs established the structure and legality of the offshore financial center of Samoa. In other words, he helped establish the necessary legal and regulatory framework for the offshore banking and trust industry in Samoa.

This close relationship led to Briggs being appointed as Samoa's honorary consul in Singapore for 25 years to 2016. Briggs travels the world promoting Samoa's tax and privacy laws, calling it a choice. alternative to the British Virgin Islands and other Caribbean island states.

Briggs began creating and selling new financial products, taking full advantage of the legislation he helped draft. These products took advantage of a gap in tax law in Australia at the time, allowing individuals with high net worth to pay almost no tax or pay very little if they made money abroad.

The Pandora profile has 2.94 terabytes of exposed data. The dossier includes 12 million documents from 14 financial services firms in places such as the British Virgin Islands, Panama, Belize, Cyprus, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Switzerland. These documents were collected by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and shared with more than 650 reporters from over 100 newspapers.

Pandora records show that many world leaders, politicians and billionaires have used accounts in tax havens to accumulate wealth and make transactions. The dossier also exposes the confidential financial status of more than 300 public officials such as ministers, judges, mayors, military generals in more than 90 countries.

In addition to the officials, more than 100 billionaires were named among the leaked documents. Many celebrities, rock stars, and business leaders also appear on Pandora profiles. The Pandora profile includes a series of emails, memos, merger filings, stock certificates, compliance records, and elaborate charts that reveal the maze of shell businesses. For the first time, one could name the real owners of shell businesses.

After 18 months of data analysis, newspapers will gradually publish research results in the coming days, starting with the disclosure of financial deals in the tax havens of some of the world's most powerful leaders.

Google Tech News 

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