Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Congress passes the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005

Congress has amended the Federal Communications Act, in response to the super bowl “wardrobe malfunction” of Janet Jackson that caused such controversy.
Congress amplified the penalties for “indecent” broadcasts to $325,000 per violation up to a ceiling of $3 million “for any single act.” Penalties are assessed by the FCC. Previously, the most the FCC was empowered to assess for indecent broadcasts was $32,500 per violation.

Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2005, P.L. 109-235 (2006), available at

Video-gamer Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard Records do not infringe one another’s trademarks.

Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard Records can both employ the “Blizzard” trademark; even though they are not related companies and both market recorded music.

The case concerned which company first used the “Blizzard” mark for the sale of music. Blizzard Records began using the mark in 1986 – predating Blizzard Entertainment use. The court found that the record company had abandoned the mark in 1987 and didn’t begin using it again until 1999.

The Blizzard Entertainment computer game company registered the “Blizzard” mark in 1994, but only for computer and video games. However, in 1995, the computer company began selling recordings of the music from its game soundtracks, using the “Blizzard” mark.

Since Blizzard Entertainment used the mark for music before Blizzard Records did, Blizzard Entertainment’s use of the mark did not violate any trademark rights of Blizzard Records.

And Blizzard Records’ use of the mark to sell music did not infringe Blizzard Entertainment’s trademark rights because Blizzard Entertainment introduced evidence that its customers were not likely to be confused about the source of recordings bearing the mark.

Mele v. Davidson & Associates, Inc., 2006 WL 1644693, 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 39054 (W.D.N.Y. 2006)

The Path To 9/11 Premieres On ABC September 10 & 11.

Congratulations to our client David Cunningham who directed the multi part film –on the events leading up to 9/11. It is told from the CIA, FBI, White House and terrorists perspective and based upon the 9/11 Commission Report.
It stars Harvey Keitel, Patricia Heaton, Donnie Whalberg and a top notch cast of 250 actors from 14 countries. It was filmed in Toronto, Morocco, New York, Washington D.C., and one of only a few films ever to be allowed to film at the CIA headquarters at Langley.

Time Magazine says: " Fast paced and shot with handheld cameras, 'Path' plays like a somber, dysfunctional '24,' with all the grit. Executive producer Marc Platt hired director David L. Cunningham a documentary veteran, to give the movie a verite look, without emotional tricks like zooming in on fraught moments. …The last few minutes—inside the planes, the towers and the conference rooms on 9/11—are tastefully handled, though no less chilling. But they're beside the point. What matters is what happened before and what happened—and didn't afterward. An epilogue notes the commission's report card, issued last December, which found that most of its recommendations—securing weapons of mass destruction, delegating antiterrorism funds by risk—have been carried out badly or not at all. That endnote is the scariest thing in the miniseries." Any source

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


For those in the Buffalo area, Matt Chambers & Andrea Strudensky, co-editors of the annual poetry journal PILOT, will be launching their inaugural issue at 7:00 pm, Friday, Sept 1 at Rust Belt Books on Allen Street. The launch coincides with the launch of Sarah Campbell's P-Queue. Though I haven't yet seen the current issue of P-Queue, both mags are astonishing - each of them powerhouses pack'd with innovative verse from both established and emerging poets.

The first issue of Pilot features work by Boi-Lucia Gbaya, Allen Fisher, Alan Halsey, Lisa Robertson, Jeff Derkson, Rachel Zolf, Chris Fritton, Karen Mac Cormack, Ashton Royce, Angela Szcsepaniak, Rodrigo Toscano, Kevin Thurston, Geoff Hlibchuck, Derek Beaulieu, Adrian Clarke, Redell Olsen, Ric Royer and Tony Lopez.

The mix, decidely Brit heavy, is a wonderful blend of verbo-visual work. Further, this issue includes an audio CD which contains an improvisational spoken word piece by poet, performance /visual artist Mike Basinski. For further information contact the editors at: 306 Clemens Hall, English Department, SUNY Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260... or via email at: Well worth taking the time to inquire

CHICAGO REVIEW. 51:4/52:1. Spring 2006. As always, essential reading. Sizable portion of this one devoted to Lisa Robertson, thus a pleasure to read in conjunction with PILOT. Includes a Robertson checklist, an interview with Robertson by Kai Fierle-Hedrick & essays on (around) Robertson by Benjamin Friedlander, Christine Stewart, Jennifer Scappettone, & Joshua Clover.

Robertson on the syllable, a passage from Fierle-Hedrick's interview: "About syllables - I mean that nubby material edging up of consonants against airy vowelness in a line. How for me a line has to have a presence in this way - this sound structure I go for at first intuitively, then tweak by making small moves and shifts and adjustments so there is no sonic flattening within a line. It has to, for me, have this sort of full knobbly quality..."

Also included in this issue of CR are poems, essays reviews unrelated to Robinson. For further info, google the site.

Any source

Monday, August 28, 2006

BVI companies in UK Press

Yesterday 3 UK newspapers published political and business news related to British Virgin Islands companies.

The Sunday Times put the post Barclays link in drug cash route that described the investigation related to Barclays Private Bank (BPB) transactions. The British investigators, following the dirty money trail, came to the account of a BPB client Auxerre Ltd. The investigation revealed that in 1997-2001 1.8 million USD had been deposited in Auxerre accounts at Barclays in 53 wire transfers.

Auxerre Ltd. is a British Virgin Islands company. It had tens of millions of dollars in five Barclays accounts. BVI company Auxerre has been owned by an elderly textile magnate Jose Douer-Ambar from Bogota, Colombia. The British investigators examined accounts held by Douer at HSBC in London and ABN Amro in Jersey - 60 wire transfers totalling 5.7 million USD and 2 deposits totalling 4 million USD respectively. The money in the frozen accounts was released back to Douer after he arranged his deal with the US authorities. He has now moved it out of Britain.

The second story was published the same day by The Guardian. It described allegations submitted to the Electoral Commission. It is assumed that the Conservative party used a complex real estate transaction that involved its former London headquarters in order to raise foreign funds, which is unlawful.

The Tories moved out of Smith Square 3 years ago but acquired the freehold on the property and an adjoining building, for 15 million GBP that had previously belonged to a British Virgin Islands company Platinum Overseas Holdings Ltd. One source told the correspondent that BVI company Platinum Overseas Holdings was owned by a group of Middle Eastern businessmen, clients of the Citibank, US. So, the Electoral Commission responsible for monitoring the funding of political parties confirmed the fact of the investigation but did not reveal any details.

Mail on Sunday, again, a UK nespaper, published its story on a wireless service company Hybyte sending unwanted jokes to cell phone users and charging money for that. Companies House informs that shares of private limited company Hybyte are held in the British Virgin Islands.

In spite of the fact that the company has already been fined for the above matter banned for 6 months from offering the service, it still continued to send the unwanted and unordered messages and charge them 1.5 GBP per joke. Some people demand their money back, so Hybyte must refund these people.

To conclude and sum up what was published by UK press this Sunday, this was definitely a "black Sunday" for BVI companies image. However, it is quite likely that this was just a coincidence and no "war" against BVI companies is going to emerge. It goes without saying that many negative information on wherever-based companies is published daily all over the world and the amount of information related with BVI-based companies in the ocean of negative information is really tiny.
Article any source

The link between intensive farming and human health

Zoonotic diseases that transmit from animals to humans are nothing new. Viruses have been jumping the species barrier through history, but modern industrial farming practices could increase the risk.

Given the widespread use of industrial farming in the EU, the potential for the emergence of new zoonotic diseases would appear to be high. Intensified animal production is creating a narrowing genetic base, particularly in dairy animals, poultry and pigs.

The economic imperative to make more use of high-yielding breds favours the spread of recessive genes responsible for traits such as poor immunity. According to Tony Hart, co-director of the National Centre for Zoonosis Research at the University of Liverpool, 'Livestock are highly inbred to produce maximum yield in the shortest time. This creates animals which are prone to become carriers of disease.'

Conditions on farms can promote the development of highly resistant strains of bateria, turning crowded pens into areas where there is a high risk of disease and increasing the risk of transmission to humans. There have been some positive developments such as the outright ban in January of the routine use of antibiotics in feed for growth promotion purposes.

Nevertheless, Dil Peeling, senior officer at the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare says, 'We expect to see an increase in the use of antibiotics on farms. The routine use of antibiotics may be banned. But, in the same system, animals are kept in stressful conditions that reduce immunity. In some cases, genetically they have less immunity, so we are forced to rely more on biosecurity [antibiotics] when minor diseases come up.'

According to Peeling, CAP with its historical emphasis on quantity rather than quality continues to drive harmful industrial practices. It could be argued that the reformed CAP is trying to place a great emphasis on quality, including animal welfare. Fischler was the first farm commissioner to introduce this theme into the debate, but Peeling believes that the CAP has gone backwards since then.

Certainly there is a risk of accession states learning bad lessons. 'New accession states believe that the future of agriculture must be the same as that which they have seen in Western Europe. They are not learning from old mistakes, so we're seeing funds going towards intensification,' says Peeling.

The BSE scare shook up European agriculture and contributed substantially to the public resistance to GM crops. Another crisis could reinforce demands for higher standards of animal welfare, although farmers would argue that in the interests of a level playing field there should be some tightening of standards in relation to goods imported into the EU.Any source

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Practicing lawyer Dawn Smith appointed as new BVI London Office director

On Thursday, August 17, 2006 BVI Government announced the appointment of practicing lawyer Dawn Smith as the Director of the BVI London Office. Her duties in this post will be connected with representing the Government's interests in London and Europe.

The new Director of BVI European Office is a recognized specialist in the sphere of international business relations. This fact may be important for the successful development of the ongoing strategy of the BVI International Finance Centre, which is based on promoting and marketing the BVI finance sector to the outside world. The strategy of popularizing the BVI offshore and finance sector is executed mainly by the BVI Financial Services Commission and its Chief Executive Officer Robert Mathavious. We already discussed the role of his agency and his personal role in making BVI the leader of offshore industry both in the region and all over the world in the post BVI offshore marketing. The appointment of Dawn Smith may be interpreted as the step towards reinforcement of the promotion strategy.

Smith came to the government post from the offshore law firm of Conyers Dill and Pearman in the BVI, which engaged her as an associate attorney specialising in advising clients in multiple jurisdictions in commercial litigation and corporate law. Before this, she held the position of associate attorney at another BVI legal firm - O'Neal Webster O'Neal Fletcher Myers and Gordon. Her academic qualifications include a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts from Middlebury College in Vermont, USA; a Bachelor's of Law degree from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, Barbados; and a Certificate in Legal Education from the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica. Also, she is a notary public of the British Virgin Islands.

Lorna Smith, the Executive Director of the BVI International Affairs Unit, said that she is delighted that Smith has joined Government as Director of the BVI London Office. She also said that Dawn Smith is a very competent and confident professional whose background in liberal arts and experience in the financial services industry mean that she will not only effectively represent the BVI at the "political" level but also in the field of international business.

Smith's service on a variety of government boards and committees including the Education Advisory Board, the Court Review Board, the Board of Referees for Income Tax, the BVI Bar Association and the Board of Immigration will give her possibility to speak with wide authority on Government's behalf.
Article any source

Sunday, August 20, 2006

China is cutting down already declining FDI growth from BVI and other countries?

Probably, the result of the changes in legislation about acquisition of Chinese companies by foreign investors may be further decline of foreign direct investment (FDI) in China, which is continuing already for several months. In accordance to Ministry of Commerce released statistics on the foreign funds absorbed by China in the first seven months, during the January-July period, a total of 24,652 new foreign-funded enterprises were approved to set up, down 2.02% year on year and growth rate compared to the same period of 2004 fell 15.12 percentage points. Foreign funds in actual use came to 33.09 billion US dollars, down 3.42% year on year and growth rate fell 6.14 percentage points.

Some experts, however, say that this decline does not mean loss of interest towards the country's economy, but just the end of investment rush. Anyway, the amounts of foreign direct investments may continue to fall, and that will refer not only to BVI but also to the other top countries and regions, who are investing in China and whose realized investments account for 86.26% of the country's total.

Currently, in accordance to the last 7 months results, BVI is one of the major FDI sources in China, along with Hong Kong and Japan. You can learn more about recent BVI positions in the market in the posts BVI as the 2nd largest foreign investor in China and BVI is again the 2nd to have invested in China.
Article any source

Saturday, August 19, 2006


[NOTE: George Evans sent the following essay out several days ago to a modest number of people via email. The essay has since been posted to a number of blogs and websites & I am indeed delighted to include it here. Enjoy.--RO]

Based on what was initially announced regarding the August 10, 2006 terrorist plot exposé, we were encouraged to believe that twenty four Einstein‑like Middle Eastern types (17 years old and up) from Pakistan—a country we are not yet at war with—were arrested in England and Pakistan while in the midst of launching an attempt to carry off plans so esoteric, complex, and brilliant that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff declined to say (on the day of the announcement) exactly what they were planning. In general it had to do with smuggling various liquids onto US‑bound airplanes so they could blow them out of the sky over the Atlantic or over unnamed cities. But what lethal concoction of water, make-up, toothpaste, cafe latte, peroxide, shampoo, and lip balm they planned to mix and arm via iPods, cell phones and laptops was left to the imagination. Whatever their methodology, Mr. Chertoff decided it was better kept from the public, for our own good no doubt, in an era when one can easily find (so I’ve read) blueprints and operating manuals for nuclear weapons on the internet. In the meantime, airline passengers all over the world, but especially in Britain and the US, were being stripped of their possessions, their dignity (at least what remains of dignity in airports), and any sense of well‑being they managed to muster in order to fly at all during these horrific times.

Am I wrong, or did I actually hear, in Chertoff, the voice of someone so fearful of the American public that he thought we might do the same thing if he told us how the terrorists planned to succeed? “No, no,” reasonably couched voices might respond, “the discretion, the secrecy, is not because of you, good citizen, but for the sake of terrorists who might be listening. It’s them we do not wish to inform.”

That attitude is not only ridiculous but melodramatically avuncular, insulting, and dangerous. It’s high time someone informed the unelected minions of the Bush administration—which includes Mr. Bush himself—that terrorists already know what they need to know (if they don’t, they can easily find it on the internet, or by text messaging their nefarious colleagues), and not only is the general American public not a mob of copycat terrorists itching to use such information to blow up their own planes, its government’s employees do not have the constitutional right, responsibility, or permission to conceal (at any time) details about anyone planning to murder them. And it is not a conundrum to wish for the truth of homicidal methodology while wishing to conceal knowledge of it from one’s potential murderers. It is merely a symptom of the times, during which we must prepare ourselves for a future (as British novelist Martin Amis suggested in a recent interview) in which we will need to learn to bear a tolerable degree of terrorism in our daily lives, because it is not going away. But neither are the causes of it, nor the type of hysteria perpetuating its effectiveness.

In this most recent blur of non-information, we are not witnessing an exercise of caution by those who know better (“knowing better” is an argument best confined, if used at all, to parents with young children rather than government officials), nor are we witnessing the expressed convictions of anyone who has our best interests at heart. We are witnessing the machinations of control freaks and political manipulators who not only believe the public is better off in the dark, but might (just might) have a corporate interest in giving the airline industry further license to raise ticket prices and begin charging exorbitant, quadruple gas‑price‑level rates for bottled water, henceforth forbidden to be carried onto airplanes by passengers. Did someone suddenly see an opening for a little profit? And am I suggesting that airlines would exploit patrons in the shadow of tragedy, or that the US government would exploit its citizens via the drama of terrorist plots and tragedies?

Of course I am, because of course they do. They have a solid track record.

The air traveling public, after five years of abuse by the airline industry (beginning 9/11), and the general public, after six years of incompetent paranoiac caterwauling and warmongering by the unelected Bush administration, have a responsibility to be not only skeptical but borderline dismissive of anything any one of them claims, proclaims, declares, or decants.

Otherwise, on the airline front we will retain only the right to be strip‑searched and marched naked through airport detection machines holding our belongings aloft in transparent plastic bags (brutalized and insulted, as usual, by angry, underpaid, ill‑trained security personnel who may themselves never be able to afford airplane tickets to anywhere), and on the government front will have only the right to be stripped of all ostensible rights so that the juggernaut of an obviously pending Evangelical‑Fascist dictatorship can finally take over full throttle.

One clichéd response to the likes of the funereal Mr. Chertoff and his ilk (the non‑elected three Rs: Rove, Rice and Rumsfeld) might be to complain that, in the end, even appointed government officials work, in theory, for the public (not for lobbyists, corporations, or the soap selling media that can’t discern any important difference between a Federal mouthpiece and an animated toilet bowl character), and as employers, we have the right to know, theoretically, what’s going on in the front office, especially at the exact moment any events unfolding there threaten our lives, if indeed they do threaten our lives. I prefer to make the decision about whether or not to board an airplane on any given day on my own, and do not wish to defer that decision (which may determine the remaining length of my life) to the likes of a stuffed shirt at a podium or dry drunk president at a pulpit. Thank you.

If in fact, as British authorities claim, this latest terrorist event has been under investigation for months, why not at least alert us on the level of being frank, if not discreet, about needing to adjust the rules of travel, and allow travelers the personal choice of either risking their lives on airplanes or not? Or, on the other hand, since nothing had actually happened yet, why make the announcement when it was made? Why that particular moment? Could it possibly have political ramifications? Is it yet another political smoke screen of the sort we’ve grown to expect? And in light of the hard‑earned mistrust we have for our highest government officials (after a half decade of being subjected to their dark foibles), who among us can afford to be magnanimous enough with their lives and personal freedoms to trust them to the likes of Mr. Chertoff (a.k.a. the neo-con Bush administration), the morally bankrupt British Tony Blair government (from whence this conspiracy sprung), or the airline industry itself (which cares nothing about anyone—its employees included—or about anything except its profit margin? Who are they to decide our mortal fate? And who are we to be foolish enough to permit it?

In fact, Americans (of the US sort) do not really wish to be treated like employers by their elected (and non-elected) representatives, and don’t want to act like employers either; they simply want to be treated like adults. They want to be told the truth, and want their government’s officials to exude a sense of reasonable confidence that they can handle the truth because they are neither idiots nor terrorists.

We’re all dumbed‑down to some degree these days (who wouldn’t be after being condescended to like nursery inmates in the five years since 9/11)—numbed is a more appropriate description—but we deserve better than the lame, paranoid prime time interview or press conference blather we get, canned events that are no more than soap opera arias peppered with crypto‑jargon (terms like “asymmetrical warfare”) which everyone comes away from feeling less informed than they were, and even dizzy with deepened ignorance.

As for why this latest government‑TV media overkill circus event might be happening at this particular moment, just look around: our government’s US war in Iraq is lost; our government’s US war in Afghanistan is slipping out of control and the Taliban are ascendant; our government’s Middle Eastern ally Israel is butchering innocent people on a large scale right out in the open (with our government’s consent, support, and encouragement); and (surprise, surprise) it turns out (on the morale front) that our government’s “professional, all volunteer military” (perpetual motion machine of the unacknowledged backdoor poverty draft) is laced with rapists and murderers. Not only that, but the American public (if it cares to look) finally has proof (in recently declassified Army files) that civilian massacres by US troops during our government’s US‑Viet Nam War, were not at all uncommon (as many of us have long known), which leads us to believe they are not at all uncommon now.

To top everything off, anyone paying attention knew that the results of the Joe Lieberman‑Ned Lamont primary election in Connecticut (held two days before the London bomb plot was trotted out) was of profound importance to the Bush administration and Republican dominated Congress. Avid poll watchers could have predicted some type of a backlash in the event of a Lieberman loss, but is it possible that the sanctimonious, self‑serving Lieberman’s defeat (harbinger of neo-con demise that it was) sparked this latest madness?

Of course it is. First word of the London terrorist plot came twenty four hours after his defeat was announced, at a time when moderate progressives (those still buoyed by the notion that there is even a splinter of difference between current Democrat and Republican office holders) were celebrating a rare moment of ostensible success.

Once the Republican administration safely had its faux Liberal “Independent” Republican candidate in up‑for‑grabs Connecticut (where Bush II’s Republican granddaddy, Prescott Bush, son of an arms dealer, was first elected to the US Senate in the 1950s), it could only be expected that they would fabricate a means of changing the subject from their stealth candidate’s defeat, thus diminishing his negativity factors as well as the importance of the message delivered by his anti‑war, anti‑administration (not anti‑American), electorally legitimate and victorious opponent.

Two days after that election, on Thursday, day of the London plot announcement, Vice President Dick Cheney attacked the Democrats as weak on terror, and used the Lieberman defeat as proof. Also that day, Joe Lieberman himself, loyal Democrat reconstituted as an independent, resumed running for re-election as if nothing had happened to him. Smugly staging his first post-primary campaign stop in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he won big the night before, he seized on the terrorist plot in Britain as an argument for his brand of thinking, while beating the usual war drums and beaming like a fresh plucked flower.

While on a trip this past June, I sat in a hotel room one morning and watched a sneering press conference held by US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to announce yet another earth shaking terrorist plot in which the plotters planned to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago, conduct a ground war against the US, “kill all the devils” they could, and create a scenario “as good or greater than 9/11.”

The mainstream media had jumped the gun and mistakenly reported that the plotters were African Americans from the Nation of Islam, then changed their minds, then didn’t, and until the national confusion got sorted out at the press conference, no one knew exactly who the terrorists were, except that they were black and either al‑Qa’ida or trying to join the ranks of al‑Qa’ida.

The clarifying Gonzales press conference was like a Fellini scene: Gonzales holding forth, smirking, sweaty, and contradicting the hapless honesty of his confrere, F.B.I. deputy director John S. Pistole (with his ominous last name), while the reporters squealed and gagged for information like a nest of robin chicks. The occasional camera pan revealed looks of genuine concern that slowly slid towards incredulity as details of the plot emerged, or, rather, failed to emerge—credible details, that is. In the end, the plotting terrorists turned out to be a crew of seven luckless, unemployed men with militia‑like aspirations who were set up by an undercover FBI agent posing as an al‑Qa’ida operative. They were not Muslims of any sort, did not possess any weapons or explosives, and, it seems, agreed to the Sears Tower as a target only after it was suggested to them by the undercover agent, who took their “al-Qai’da” oath, along with their shoe sizes, afterwards rewarding them with some boots, which they supposedly requested from his al‑Qa’ida majesty, along with uniforms, guns, vehicles, money, a camera to photograph potential targets, and bullet‑proof vests (which they certainly would have needed in their ground war).

If you check the news you’ll discover things were not going well for the Bush‑Cheney administration that week either. As suddenly as it appeared, the Sears Tower plot vanished from view, but it had served its purpose: changing the subject in our attention deficit society. Twenty‑four hours into this latest plot (the Transatlantic Water Bottle Cabal)—which I reserve the right to revisit if it turns out to be true or genuine—it was already slipping from the headlines.

The next new airport announcement a traveler hears, might go something like this: “Your attention please. All passengers on Flight X to X city, remove your clothing and line up to board the aircraft.” As for the rest of us, until our own time comes, fellow citizens and fellow residents (legal or illegal) alike, it would not hurt to mull the words of our great 19th Century poet Walt Whitman, who sent us a message from the past:

To the States or any one of them, or any city of the States, Resist much,
obey little,
Once unquestioning obedience, once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city of this earth, ever afterward
resumes its liberty.
Any source

Friday, August 18, 2006

New law regulating FDI in China and setting limits to the amount of investments

The government of China has worked out regulations about acquisition of Chinese enterprises by foreign investors. They will come into effect on September, 8. According to these new regulations, domestic enterprises with foreign direct investments making more than 25% of the total share capital, can enjoy preferential treatment as foreign-funded enterprises. Those domestic companies having less than 25% foreign investment share in their total capital, won't have such an advantage.

Another incentive implemented by the regulations sets an upper limit for investors. For companies with registered capital not exceeding 2.1 million US dollars, total investment amount should not exceed 143% of the registered capital. For companies whose registered capital is between 2.1 million and 5 million US dollars, total investment amount should not exceed 200% the amount of the registered capital. For companies with registered capital between 5 million and 12 million US dollars, the investment amount should not exceed 250% the amount of the registered capital. At last, the investment amount for those companies whose registered capital is over 12 million US dollars, should not exceed 300% the amount of registered capital.

The regulations are to certain extent connected with the problem that not all foreign investors in China are really foreign-owned. This issue was already addressed in Offshore Capital coming back & Direct Foreign Investments, and it has not lost its actuality. There was a common practice that many domestic companies registered their names in the British Virgin Islands or some other jurisdiction with favourable legislation for overseas invsetment companies; then they bought their own domestic company in the name of a foreign enterprise and received all the advantages of foreign enterprises.

The BVI companies as well as other foreign companies registered in such a way won't get this preferential treatment. According to the new regulations, the domestic companies under the name of their legal foreign company overseas that have close business relationship or are controlled by the domestic company, will not enjoy the preferential policies for foreign-owned enterprises.
Article any source

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

BVI is the second investor in Shanghai's economy

White Paper on the Environment for Foreign Investment in Shanghai, that was released last week, gives some information about the city's main overseas direct investors.

Hong Kong, the leading investor in the economy of the Republic of China, is also investing in the projects of China's largest city Shanghai - the leader of the country by economic growth, with population of about 17,420,000 and GDP increase in the first half of 2006 by 12.6 percent from the same period of last year. The amount of Hong Kong investments into Shanghai's projects is US$3.1 billion, which makes up to 22.6 per cent of the city's total foreign direct investments.

Being the main investor in Shanghai for several years, Hong Kong is traditionally followed by British Virgin Islands, which holds the second position in the list by the amount of direct foreign investments in Shanghai city. Another offshore jurisdiction, Cayman Islands, is in the third place, according to the White Paper. It should be noted that, although BVI is the second by offshore investments into Shanghai city projects, among merely foreign investors it holds the first position, since Hong Kong still retains its status of Special Administrative Region of China.

Hong Kong and British Virgin Islands are both keeping the highest positions by the amount of foreign direct investments not only in the most developed regions, such as Shanghai, but in the whole country. Detailed information on investments of Hong Kong and British Virgin Islands in country's economy is listed in the blog BVI is again the 2nd to have invested in China.
Article any source

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Business transactions of Hamdaan Exports Ltd (BVI) and Indrus (Jersey) published for achieving political goals?

During last days the political struggle in India has become much more intense, and that is connected with information provided by the Justice R. S. Pathak Inquiry Authority, which was created on November 11, 2005 for auditing Paul Volcker's report on UN Oil-For-Food Programme and particularly transactions related to oil contracts bearing number M/9/54 and number M/10/57.

The main pressure is made on former Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh who is accused of corruption by his political opponents. The former Indian official conducted a press conference at his New Delhi residence and denied all the accusations; he noticed that the things he was accused of by Pathak Inquiry Authority rather concern the Indian Congress, than him who held the post of Indian Foreign Minister at the moment of these business transactions. He added that "the malicious campaign launched in the last few months against me has questioned my honour, integrity and political and diplomatic credentials acquired over a lifetime."

The accusations are based upon the description of business transactions of British Virgin Islands company Hamdaan Exports Ltd. and Indrus, which was registered in Jersey, the Channel Islands, UK. The BVI company belongs to Delhi based businessman Andaleeb Sehgal, who was introduced by Natwar Singh to Saddam Hussein regime, and Jersey company is a joint venture 50:50 between Andaleeb Sehgal and his business partner Aditya Khanna.

It should be noted that information revealed by investigators shows quite normal business transactions. The oil money was received by BVI company Hamdaan Exports Ltd. (bank account with Jordan National Bank, Cyprus) from reputable Swiss energy trading company Masefield AG (bank account with Chase Manhattan Bank, New York) and paid to State Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) of Iraq. Certain commissions were paid to Aditya Khanna and Andaleeb Sehgal.
Article any source

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

BVI keeping strong positions in Vietnam foreign investor’s list

We already discussed Vietnam foreign investment environment and results till March 2006 in the blog BVI foreign investment in Vietnam. Recently Vietnam officials reported on the seven month results that show the BVI keeping very strong positions as a foreign investor in HCM City.

In accordance to the results for the first seven months, the British Virgin Islands are among the first six foreign investors’ countries in HCM City. The largest new foreign investments come from Hong Kong, with two projects which are worth 605 million U$, the Republic of Korea which has invested 44.2 million U$ into 38 projects, Japan with 41.5 million U$ invested into 29 projects, the British Virgin Islands with 36.5 million U$ invested into 7 projects. Also Singapore and Taiwan have invested 11.4 million U$ (15 projects), and 3 million U$ (9 projects) respectively.

As we can see these projects are quite different and Hong Kong having the least number of projects keeps the first position in the average value of the project.

The second by their average value investment projects are held by the BVI investors – in average they make 5.21 million U$ per project. Other investing countries have substantially smaller projects - Japan 1.43 million U$, the Republic of Korea 1.16 million U$, Singapore 0.76 million U$, and Taiwan only 0.33 million U$.

Totally, during these seven months licenses were granted to 155 foreign direct investment projects for HCM City. Compared with the same period last year, the number of new projects in HCM City increased by five. Combined investment capital increased by three and made 780.2 million U$.

The projects of foreign investors in HCM City include 126 those which are wholly foreign owned, worth 719.7 million U$, 27 joint venture projects, worth 47.8 million U$; and two business cooperation contracts, worth 12.7 million U$.

Article any source

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Between tax advisors and tax authorities

continued from US Senate Homeland Security study of offshore tax shelters.

In "IRS Chief Says Offshore Abuses a Problem" publication there are mentioned couple of examples of unprofessional advisers who have invented illegal asset protection and tax planning schemes. In particular, those are mentioned:
1) Quellos Group LLC scheme of capital losses from securities transactions and
2) asset protection advises provided by retired dentist Lawrence Turpen.

Sometimes it is not so easy to distinguish Tax Avoidance from Tax Evasion. Some Tax Evasion method may seem completely legal, but careful look into it may show it is not. There are also situations when the method which was considered to be legal a year ago, cannot be used today because of changes in legislation.

If it is so difficult for specialists to see this difference, then what to say about common client which is seeking tax advisor's service? It must be noted also that in case of tax evasion these are not only providers of non-qualitative tax advise who would suffer but also their clients.
For example, we can observe the publication of Freeman, Haber, Rojas & Stanham, LLP – reputable international firm that consists of a group of attorneys with headquarter in Miami, Florida. Along with other information, it is clearly described here how to reduce the taxes in Florida by:

"1) paying their executives higher salaries and bonuses so that the tax is reduced from the corporate rate of 40% to the individual rate of 31%;
2) work done abroad for a company such as marketing can be paid for and deducted as an expense in the United States; and
3) trips for business are also deductible. Individuals can deduct from their personal income interest on home mortgages, charitable contributions, and a fixed sum for each dependent and medical costs, but receive relatively few other deductions."

Who can guarantee to the client that the advice given to him by law firm or tax advisor will not be put in question by tax authorities later on?

Many multinational corporations have headquarters or daughter companies opened on the British Virgin Islands and other offshore jurisdictions. Also there are many international companies wholly or partially owned by the BVI companies. Some of them are already mentioned in this blog and BVI Company News but there are much more around. Most part of these companies have used services of professionals before setting up business structure; if advisers have done their job professionally, even if put in issue, these taxes should remain as avoided, not evaded.

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Wednesday, August 2, 2006

US Senate Homeland Security study of offshore tax shelters

Belize, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Isle of Man, Nevis and Panama were among jurisdictions recently examined by Investigative subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Security in their yearlong study of offshore tax shelter. Mary Dalrymple from Associated Press in her yesterday’s publication IRS Chief Says Offshore Abuses a Problem has disclosed some facts, findings and proposed solutions that could have concern to US taxpayers as well as some offshore jurisdictions too.

It is estimated that tax havens allow Americans to avoid paying $40 billion to $70 billion in taxes each year and "an armada" of professional advisers provides all the possibilities for wealthy Americans to find legal or not so legal ways how to minimize their tax burden.

Should these numbers indicate to us that thousands of attorneys and tax advisors providing their services in USA and other countries are doing something illegal or advising their clients to do something illegal?

It is known by term definition that Tax Avoidance is the legal utilization of the tax regime to one's own advantage, in order to reduce the amount of tax that is payable by means that are within the law. In contrast - illegal method of reducing taxes is Tax Evasion. Tax evaded remains due. Tax avoided is not due.

If this term is correctly used by spokesman, then it means that attorneys, law firms and advisers assist wealthy Americans to save 40 - 70 billion US dollars per annum. Sounds like really good advertisement on their efforts to potential clients.

Most likely there should be another number not mentioned in particular report, representing billions of US dollars not paid by the means of tax evasion and this is to much extent the result of the work of unprofessional advisers.

To be continued.
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