Secrets of the Cyprus Heist

Look around the European Union, follow the money trail and it will eventually lead back to one nation that isn’t being penalized. Hint: It’s known as the “export master” of the world and something people commonly thought was contained after sparking two of the bloodiest wars in world history. It’s looking like 1913 all over again.

I have served as a flag-man among the pirates of offshore banking. I know Cyprus well and have sailed into Larnaca in the dead of night, in small boats, on business. But in this story, the good guys and bad guys are not who you think they are.

Let me show you why the plunder of Cyprus is probably one of the most brilliant acts of wholesale theft the world has ever known, why the stolen treasure may be thousands of times greater than has been suggested, and why the names of the victims, and the full value of the loot, will remain a mystery forever.

In order to understand what has happened in Cyprus, you must first conjure, in your mind, images representing a truly colossal amount of money.

Briefcases full of cash? Think shipping containers. Bafflingly intricate networks of corporate and private wealth, shell companies, holding companies and staggering transfers between these entities and others. Think private planes and mega-yachts, too – the works – and multiply this kaleidoscope by thousands of beneficial owners, major shareholders and top executives all over the world.

Now you have a glimpse of the dynamic, multilayered, nebulous network – almost completely opaque by design – whose few points of convergence included Cyprus.

Though it may be easy to think of offshore depositors as foreign outlaws, pirates or simply “Russians,” this is not nearly the case. Cyprus was a leader – in some circles and for some applications, the leader – in quiet storage, management and structuring of exceptionally large sums for private individuals and corporations all over the world. Cypriots were fast learners in the fields of global asset protection and “tax optimization.” (I do cringe to say these words.) Cyprus’ 2004 entrance into the EU gave financial operations a deeper veneer of legitimacy and security. All of this meant almost a decade of rapidly expanding business. This was surely from Europeans and Russians wary of unpredictable tax laws and indiscriminate, extralegal confiscations, but also from entities in North America and elsewhere.

How much was stolen, after all? How many accounts were seized? Nobody likes to know a secret without getting all the details, but I don’t know all the details. Nobody does. That’s the point. All we know is that immeasurable sums have vanished, and the victims are quiet. It is a perfect crime.

You will never see a complete and verifiable list of beneficial account holders.

You will never see a complete and verifiable tally of the loot.

The best way to pull off a heist is to make it so nobody blows the whistle or calls the authorities. Better yet is to arrange things so the authorities are in on the job. Best of all, of course, is when the authorities do the job.

And that is exactly what has happened in Cyprus.

Full article: Secrets of the Cyprus Heist (WND)

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