What is the best way to protect assets?

Asset protection is e priority

Some people are at greater risk than most. For example, entrepreneurs run personal financial risks related to loan guarantees for their business. And they can be prosecuted, just like the professionals, who are responsible for their actions: the architecture of a building, a surgical procedure, the audit of an accounting statement, investment advice. For each of their commitments, they involve their residence, their investments, their RRSPs … Liability insurance includes ceilings and exclusions. The search for effective protection of assets is no longer limited to the transfer of assets to a spouse or the creation of a management company.

The recession is causing a credit crunch and an increase in business risks. In this context, protecting your assets is a priority. The establishment of trust protects personal property from prosecution, whether by creditors or by clients. By creating a trust, the entrepreneur or the professional effectively transfers the ownership of their property to the trust in order to have nothing more to possess. The trustee then receives this wealth which he will have to manage – according to the act of the trust – for the benefit of the beneficiaries alone. He who transfers his property to a trust may be the beneficiary, as well as any person he designates. Recipients may receive income or property from the trust. These do not belong to anyone: neither the trustee, nor the beneficiaries, nor the former owner of the assets. No one can claim any benefit from the trust. Only the trustee can decide how often to distribute income or assets in accordance with the rules of the trust deed. Trust has a life of 21 years.

An asset protection trust must be established when all is well when your assets are higher than your debts and most importantly when the transfer does not make you insolvent. Get more information at https://offshorecitizen.net/asset-protection/.

To protect your property, the trust must be established at least two years before any lawsuit. Your tax and estate must be carefully planned when you set up your trust. The consequence of protecting your assets is the impoverishment of your personal balance sheet: you have nothing left. The negotiation of loans then requires much more explanation. At the same time, it is the best protection against prosecution: no one can seize property that you no longer have!

What to put in the trust?

Property to never transfer to a trust: your retirement savings vehicles (RRSPs, RRIFs, LIRAs, LIFs).

Assets you can transfer investment portfolio, cash; principal residences (maintained exemption) and secondary residences; income properties; shares of private companies.

Who chooses the trustee?

The trustee must be a person of trust. It has the power to distribute both income and assets of the trust to the beneficiaries of the trust. The trustee must manage the assets according to the terms of the trust indenture.

Challenge “Panama dossier”: whether the state will overcome offshore aristocracy?

The “Panama Dossier” – the archive of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca with information about tens of thousands of offshore companies and their owners – has become public domain – is becoming an increasingly important factor in world politics. The materials of this archive have already become a pretext for official investigations in a number of countries, including Russia. Ultimately, the reputation of the state institution itself in its ability to cope with the new transnational class of “offshore aristocracy” is at stake. However, judging by the constant estimates of the aggregate size of offshore assets, this fight is clearly not in favor of the state, and the situation is unlikely to change fundamentally until representatives of the offshore aristocracy have direct representation in government. 4197 of offshore companies controlled by Russians were discovered during the study of the “Panamanian dossier”, many of them are connected with officials and public representatives of the state at various levels, Vitaly Andreev, head of the department for countering the laundering of Rosfinmonitoring, reported the last week at the conference “Priority Directions of Anti-Corruption Policy in Russia and the World” held in Moscow. 

According to him, these companies have made dubious financial transactions totaling more than 5 billion rubles. This is a comparatively small amount compared to the figures that appear in independent investigations of non-governmental organizations, however, the scale of Russian involvement in offshore schemes significantly exceeds many other countries: in particular, according to Rosfinmonitoring, US citizens control 3,066 companies from the Panama dossier, and citizens of Ukraine – only 470.

This speech by a representative of financial intelligence was a new confirmation that the Russian authorities did not perceive the “Panamanian dossier” as another drain of compromising on a global scale (initially about 11.5 million archive files were received by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung from an anonymous source). Back in April 2016, a short time after its appearance, a representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Alexander Kurennoi, said that the supervisory authorities are verifying the facts mentioned in the dossier, although the Prosecutor General’s Office later classified the checks. In April, the head of Rosfinmonitoring, Yuri ChikhanchinSpeaking at the Eurasian Anti-Corruption Forum, he stated that his department constantly analyzes materials from the Panamanian dossier and other similar archives and has already established a connection between the companies mentioned in them “with a number of Russian public officials, including from the governor’s composition of the executive authorities. ” The results of the investigation were sent to law enforcement agencies, Chikhanchin said then – Vitaly Andreev also informed about this on December 10.

Russian practice shows that it may take several years between sending the materials to law enforcement officers and initiating criminal cases against their VIP-defendants (if any). A typical example is the case of the Ziyavudin brothers and Magomed Magomedovs., the founders of the Summa holding. His main episode – frauds in the construction of a football stadium in Kaliningrad – dates back to 2014, but the brothers were detained only in March of this year, and, as RBC reported with reference to its own sources, this was preceded by several months of tracing and correspondence by employees of the Interior Ministry and FSB. . No less lengthy work was done in preparing the “Dagestan case”, which involved more than a dozen high-ranking officials — immediately after the detention of the first “party” of suspects, Abdusamad Hamidov, Prime Minister of Dagestan, was among them suspected of compromising information about him and preparing for what would come for him.

Therefore, to make any predictions as to when the materials transferred by Rosfinmonitoring to law enforcement agencies turn into criminal cases, and even less to guess who may become their figurant (lists of Russian officials mentioned in the Panama dossier were published more than once by the Russian media) clearly premature. But it is worth recalling about another feature of many high-profile anti-corruption cases of recent years: if such cases are initiated, then, as a rule, not certain individuals, but entire networks turn out to be in their field. The two mentioned plots are developed precisely according to this logic, and the first examples of this approach were the affairs of the Sakhalin Governor Alexander Khoroshavin and the head of the Komi Vyacheslav Geizer. – together with them, the representatives of their civil servants, and businessmen connected with officials were under investigation.

According to the US prosecution, the scheme has operated since at least 2000, so the process promises to be loud. So far, the US Department of Justice reports only general details of frauds. To hide the assets and incomes of their customers, Owens and Brower created opaque offshore trust and unannounced bank accounts on behalf of US taxpayers who were clients of Mossack Fonseca, and also created, sold and serviced fictitious funds and fake companies in Panama, Hong Kong and on British Virginia islands. The names of Mossack Fonseca clients, as a rule, did not appear in the registration documents of fictitious funds or front companies associated with them, although the clients were actually in beneficial ownership and had full access to the assets of these legal entities and accounts.

The very fact that the described scheme has been in operation for almost two decades reminds of the huge scale of capital hidden in offshores. In the recently published book “The State. Price order “of the rector of the European University at St. Petersburg Vadim Volkov. The following data is presented: “According to OECD estimates, in 2010 the volume of financial assets in the offshore sector ranged from $ 21 to $ 31 trillion. 

According to the latest estimates, in 2015 its volume ranges from $ 24 to $ 26 trillion. To this must be added up to $ 10 trillion of tangible assets such as real estate, yachts, jewelry, private jets, oil wells, art objects, etc., legally hidden in offshores by their owners from taxation, confiscation or division of property in case of divorce. 

Up to 90% of this wealth belongs to less than 10 million people, or 0.014 the world’s population. ”

By the end of the last decade, about a third of the world’s assets were established offshore, and they accounted for 53% of all cross-border financial transactions. “We simply do not imagine the scale of this sector,” stated Vadim Volkov in his speech at the international conference “The Return of Political Economy”, held in Moscow in September 2009, at the time of the global financial crisis. At that time, the idea of strengthening state regulation to avoid new “bubbles” leading to the crisis was very popular among economists, and a number of experts participating in the conference called for the reanimation of the welfare state. “If now there will be another wave of the welfare state and a change in the direction of increasing corporate taxation, strengthening the state and its distribution functions, then it will be easy to predict what will happen.

“With the onset of global financial crises,” he states in his book of 2018, “the leaders of leading countries are beginning to put pressure on offshore jurisdictions and, as was the case in 2009, are seeking to ease secrecy, that is, the possibility of disclosing accounts and owner names on demand financial authorities of OECD countries. However, after several high-profile processes against a large bank or fund, everything returns to its original state, and the scale of the offshore sector does not diminish … It looks like a shadow economy for the rich. But if the traditional shadow economy is limited to networks of personal connections, the offshore sector has a global scale and the most advanced financial instruments. ”

Judging by the above figures, the past few decades have shown that the offshore economy has not become smaller in the context of the widespread collapse of the remnants of the welfare state and a sharp increase in global inequality. But if in 2008–2009, the mass reaction to the irresponsibility of elites took quite carnival-postmodern forms like the 

Occupy movement, then the actions of “yellow vests” in France, spontaneously spreading to other countries, demonstrate already a completely different quality of anti-elite sentiments throughout the world.

By and large, for the state now comes the moment of truth: is it still able to express the common will of the people, as the classical doctrine of the social contract implies, or has it finally become a tool for serving class interests, in full accordance with Marxist formulations? In the latter case, the state’s fight against offshores will, alas, be described by the famous expression “bees against honey”. At the same time, offshore companies are by no means a particular case – in the end, it is an indicator of how social power is distributed on a global scale. “Offshores – this is how the world of the strong looks today,” concludes British journalist Nicholas Shakson.in his book “Treasure Island”. “The matter does not come down to money and taxes: many other processes – manufacturing, entertainment, energy consumption, waste, carbon dioxide emissions, safety – are taken offshore and completely or partially fall out of our sight. To a certain extent, all these activities have been transferred to offshore and located in “secret jurisdictions”. Find themselves in the offshore, they are connected in a variety of chains conceal the actual state of affairs “, – he adds in his book on offshore British sociologist John Urry.

“Why can’t we cover up the offshore sector?” After all, this can be done simply by blocking transactions from these jurisdictions to other countries. Obviously, the elites of most countries are interested in preserving it, ”states Vadim Volkov in the last book about the state. In general, in his opinion, this interest is connected with two aspects. First, classic offshore jurisdictions (“banana republics”) are linked by treaties and special relationships with countries such as Singapore, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany (more precisely, with Zurich, London, New York, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Hong Kong as global financial centers), besides all the largest private banks have subsidiaries in offshore zones. And secondly, Volkov points out, political elites, especially post-Soviet and developing countries, are interested in

Russia really stands out here. According to the group of economists led by the Frenchman Tom Pickety, the author of the best-selling Capital in the 21st Century, from 1990 to 2015, Russians put offshore wealth equal to about 75% of the country’s national income, and the value of assets and property owned by Russian citizens outside of Russia, approximately equal to the value of what is owned by citizens within the country.