Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

US senator says he will probe American tax evasion through Europe principality's secrecy laws

US senator says he will probe American tax evasion through Europe principality's secrecy laws

A U.S. senator said Thursday he plans to investigate apparent tax havens in Liechtenstein to stop evasion by Americans that he said costs the U.S. Treasury $100 billion (euro67.9 billion) a year.
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin said one bank's secrecy about its investors was allowing thousands of citizens from around the world to hide taxable assets. He identified the institution as LGT Bank, "which is owned by the royal family" of Liechtenstein.
The principality, in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland, tightened its laws in the 1990s to keep out foreign criminals and others with ill-gotten money.
It was rewarded in 2001 by its removal from the money-laundering black list of the 26-nation Financial Action Task Force. Liechtenstein soon was back on the list of "uncooperative tax havens" compiled by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Only Liechtenstein, Andorra and Monaco, all European ministates, remain on the list.
Also, Germany has a major tax-evasion investigation under way of Liechtenstein's banking system in which German taxpayers are alleged to be hiding large amounts of money. A prominent German businessman, Klaus Zumwinkel, resigned as chief executive of Deutsche Post after prosecutors said he had evaded more than $1.5 million (euro1 million) in taxes with investments in Liechtenstein.
Levin, who introduced the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act last year, promised to investigate American connections to the principality's banks. He urged his Senate colleagues to pass it to stop "U.S. citizens who are dodging their tax obligations and ripping off America and honest American taxpayers in the process.
"Offshore tax evasion produces an estimated $100 billion (euro67.9 billion) in unpaid taxes each year," he said in a statement. "It's long past time to collect these taxes and stop the tax dodgers from offloading their tax burden onto the backs of honest Americans."
Levin is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government's permanent subcommittee on investigations.