Bigwig Tax Cheats Next On WikiLeaks Hitlist

An ex-Swiss banking exec has given Wikileaks data on what he says are over 2,000 high-level people and companies involved in tax evasion and other potential crimes. At a news conference where he passed the discs to Julian Assange in front of reporters, the man refused to name names, but said that roughly 40 politicians and “pillars of society” were on there. Assange said that Wikileaks would vet the information and publish it, along with names, in just two weeks.

In recent years the rich have taken advantage of off-shore banks to evade scrutiny and stash profits away from the tax-man. Complex rules governing these banks, as well as their general disinterest in cooperating with external authorities, have turned these islands, for instance, the Caribbean, into tax havens for the wealthy. It will be interesting to see what kind of light the latest Wikileak will shed on their goings-on.

Ex-Banker Gives Data on Taxes to WikiLeaks [NYT]

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  1. Urgleglurk says:

    …and what will happen to the super well-off tax cheaters from the USA? Not a thing.

    • jvanbrecht says:

      Your dead wrong there.. the IRS will use whatever info they can, and often do to track down tax evaders.

      What is more interesting, is that most of the US Federal, State and Local governments have banned wikileaks, have threatened employees with some sort of punitive action if they read wikileaks (even on their own time at home), and yet I will bet a months salary (no, not really.. heh) that the IRS will be combing that list the minute it pops up online.

      • DerangedKitsune says:

        And I bet that any Americans on that list will have enough high-level connections to have any IRS auditors slapped down before they can come close to acting on what’s released. We’ll be seeing lots of news stories about the unreliability and evil of Wikileaks in the media when this happens.

        • YokoOhNo says:

          This.

        • palfas says:

          I can’t wait to hear how the right wing mouth pieces are going to spin this.

          “wiki leaks wants you to pay more taxes” or some nonsense probably

          • FuzzyWillow says:

            They will scream from the highest mountain the names of the people who are tax cheats with a ‘D’ next to their name – while defending their republican brethren as being targeted by this left wing assange loony.

            • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

              Yup. In a world where Delay gets 3 years and will probably appeal even that until he dies, none of these people will suffer any.

          • Ixnayer says:

            I wonder if Obama will use this list as a recruiting tool to hire more tax cheats in his administration? How would the left wing lunatics spin that?

        • 72Riv says:

          I think you underestimate the power of a massive outcry from the general population… even though IRS bigwigs are not elected officials, their bosses are. Everyone with a federal job has CYA as the top unwritten line on their job description.

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    Please, please let bank of America be on there. There is a special place in hell for this corrupt criminal (redundant) organization.

  3. Hoss says:

    Govt communications. Gray area. Personal attacks though is blatant bull shit use of stolen data

    • cosby says:

      Depends. Personal attacks on normal people I’d agree with. If it is on politicians, higher ups in unions, higher ups in the military or police forces, etc then go nuts.

    • myCatCracksMeUp says:

      I’m totally in favor of exposing big-time tax cheats.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        Alledged tax cheats

        • jason in boston says:

          I think the bigger question is if what they were doing is legal. It may be ethically wrong, but was it indeed breaking any laws?

          I expect corporations to take advantage of every tax loophole in order to protect my share price (a good % of my retirement is in stock…I’m still young-ish), why can’t private individuals do the same?

          If they did break any laws – burn them at the stake. Mmmmm…stake.

          • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

            Hopefully, if things aren’t illegal, it may give our government the oomph to close these loopholes up. I pay my taxes, and everyone else should, too.

    • Doncosmic says:

      They aren’t personal attacks, they are reporting criminal activity.

    • Virginia Consumer says:

      Oh, and how is this different. Everyone came a rallying when the government was embarrassed and it’s ability to effectively influence foreign policy was destroyed, but Ohhh now that it’s personal it’s somehow different. BS indeed either it’s an open world or it’s not.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      I believe the term you’re looking for is “whistle-blowing”, not bullshit.

      • Hoss says:

        So you won’t mind if our political process becomes a watergate-style game of obtaining data illegally and blackmailing opponents with the threat of giving it to wikileaks? They (wikileaks) are now acting like nerds that didn’t get attention in high school.

        • FuzzyWillow says:

          Replace “Wiki-Leaks” with the name of any news organization and your statement still stands – this is nothing new.

          • Hoss says:

            Which reputable news orgs have knowingly published stolen info?

            • jason in boston says:

              “WikiLeaks turned over all of the classified U.S. State Department cables it obtained to Le Monde, El Pais in Spain, The Guardian in Britain and Der Spiegel in Germany. The Guardian shared the material with The New York Times, and the five news organizations have worked together to plan the timing of their reports.” They all published excerpts.

              Or in the past: New York Times in the Pentagon Papers.

            • unkel_rico says:

              How about any agency that’s ever used the line “according to a source close to the investigation who wished to remain anonymous because they are not yet authorized to discuss specifics”.

            • jayde_drag0n says:

              Um.. how about the New York Times Hoss.. check your history http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers

    • blinky says:

      It’s not personal. It’s just bidness. And it’s not a personal attack if it’s ongoing criminal activity.

    • Rayonic says:

      Depends if they’re actually breaking the law or not. Seems a little shady to punish people for not breaking the law.

      Best case scenario: This spurs the government to do a complete tax overhaul. Anything short of that probably won’t make a difference, though.

      • Hoss says:

        Receiving stolen financial information is the only crime here that can be verified.

        • failurate says:

          Is it time to call in Team America World Police?

          The Atlantic Ocean won’t stop us from enforcing our American laws… in London.

        • chargernj says:

          But what if said stolen information is itself evidence of other more serious crimes. Perhaps someone put his duty to the greater good above his duty to his employer

  4. agent 47 says:

    Please let it be full of NY politicians, please let it be full of NY politicians, please let it be full of NY politicians…

  5. JoeXJoe says:

    They couldn’t successfully shut down wikileaks before… but I bet they’ll figure it out now.

    • FreshPorcupineSalad says:

      +1

    • jason in boston says:

      Nope. Too many mirrors. Just ask the MPAA after their AACS keys were released.

      • c!tizen says:

        This! The web has grown to a point where it’s nearly, if not completely impossible to keep information off of it, let alone remove information from it. Once that information hits the site it’s going to propagate like John and Kate + 8.

    • ExtraCelestial says:

      I was thinking the EXACT same thing. The uber rich are significantly more powerful and connected than any government entity

      • jason in boston says:

        Unless the super-rich wants to may me off to tune tune of $50MM cash in said offshore accounts, I will seed any and all wikileaks torrents and even help run a mirror. Worst case, I’ll find my old BBS software and become a sysop again.

        • jason in boston says:

          may = pay

        • ExtraCelestial says:

          I agree with you in that once the information has been posted, there’s no taking it back, but I don’t think the actual site will last much longer after this one hits. I assumed that’s what JoeXJoe meant in his comment as well

          • jason in boston says:

            My point is that the Wikileaks crew is basically giving away their “data dump” to anyone that wants it and wishes to host the information.

            I agree that wikileaks.org may get taken offline from a DNS standpoint. However, that doesn’t mean that wikileaks.it; .fr; .tv, or anywhere that isn’t under the imperial control of the US will comply. Hell, I’ll just host a mirror from my house. I have a static ip and a spare server.

  6. savvy9999 says:

    Ben, we know this site rakes in $$$$$millions$$$!!! Care to tell us something about some possible, shady, Consumerist off-shore accounting, before wikileaks does… ? hmmmmmm?

    • dragonfire81 says:

      Oooh going for the jugular on that one huh? The consumerist bashing posts have gone up lately. I wonder when we’ll get a formative response from Ben and Meg

      • savvy9999 says:

        haha, I’m not a consumerist basher, far from it. I just want a piece of that lush hush money, to pipe down! :)

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Ben and Meg – aka “The Kingpins”, are on their way to assasinate Assange, So you won’t be seeing any comments from them, but you may get a disemvoweling from Roz, aka “The Enforcer”

        /s

  7. oldwiz65 says:

    Wonder how many will be members of the U.S. congress? They need to hide all that dirty money they get for selling votes.

  8. c!tizen says:

    come on Comcast executives!!!

  9. AllanG54 says:

    I think the government would have found out about many of these people/companies anyhow, as the Swiss banks have been turning over names by the thousands on their own. I suspect many of these people have already paid up and the only thing that they’re in for now is a huge dose of embarrassment. But, if it gets them to pay what they rightfully should owe then so much the better.

  10. osiris73 says:

    Mark my words. There will be a preponderance of politicians of one particular party and the other party will jump on it. The corrupt party will then accuse Assange of a political agenda/assassination when in reality, that particular party is just inherently more corrupt.

    • jason in boston says:

      Meh – both parties are corrupt and boring. Obama should just call himself Bush Jr and ran with it.

      Sealand is looking more attractive every day.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      I can’t figure out which party you’re saying is inherently more corrupt. I would guess you’re talking about the Republicans because everyone thinks they get paid off by businesses, but being from NJ I know the democrats are no stranger to corruption.

      • palfas says:

        No doubt both sides takes kick backs, the Repubs are just well connected to hide it off shore. Also, there’s probably a difference in the amount of money they’re taking. lets face it, unions don’t have deep pockets like the mega corps do.

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        Perhaps it’s just me, but I don’t think you were meant to think one way or the other. He either has no wish to open Pandora’s Box ‘O Political Rhetoric, or he believes that corruption has little to do with party affiliation and therefore has refrained from accusation or assumption based on nothing more than partisan beliefs.

        It’s really silly to start pointing fingers before any information has emerged at all.

    • kajillion123 says:

      It’s cute that people think that he Democrats aren’t as horrid as the Republicans.

    • osiris73 says:

      I intentionally didn’t mention which party I was referring to. There’s corruption in both parties, just in different ways and in different scales. Gut feeling though? There will be more republicans on this list. Republicans seem to be a bit more corrupted by money while Dems are a bit more corrupted by power.

  11. CharlesFarley says:

    It will be interesting to see how many Brazilians of German ancestory who immigrated in the late 40’s are on the list.

  12. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    At the very least, even if not prosecutions result from this, it will bring our flawed tax system to light and hopefully get citizens to push for better tax reform. Middle class families seeing a list of the wealthy who pay little to no tax and keep their money offshore to not trickle down into the economy should hopefully spur change.

    • Gregg Araki Rocks My World says:

      I wouldn’t give the public too much credit. They will still go on about how rich people shouldn’t pay taxes and trickle down and other such crap. Of course they will say this as they struggle to pay their mortgage and eat ramen.

  13. mannyvel says:

    So…is wikileaks now going to be a place where people can:

    1. bypass due process,
    2. publish information on private individuals who may or may not have broken local laws,

    You don’t hear Assange/wikileaks threatening to publish information on all those people who “accidentally” don’t report tip income. Guess that’s not macho enough?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Al that lost tip income tax revenue probably accounts for 5 people’s offshore accounts lost tax income.

      I think it’s best to work on the big guns first before we start exposing the little guy making less than minimum wage.

    • failurate says:

      Maybe you are confusing it with Facebook.

  14. MrEvil says:

    This will definitely point out a ton of hypocrisy once it hits. I bet you more than a few of the guys on that list are the most vocal about how taxes are too damned high. What place have you to bitch about taxes when you hide your shit off-shore so it can’t be taxed?

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      Er… not defending them, but your logic makes no sense. They hide their money BECAUSE taxes are too high.

      • Gregg Araki Rocks My World says:

        I weep for the wealthy, I really do. They have such hard lives and so many problems that hiding their vast wealth is one of their top priorities. Not putting food on the table, or making sure the kids have clothes. No, they have a much greater problem: hiding their huge amounts of money.

  15. Mcshonky says:

    I wish upon a star that republican’ts in the senate and house and governors are on the list

  16. Press1forDialTone says:

    What I don’t understand fundamentally is why WikilLeaks and Assange are not
    guilty of US Treason. Is it because he isn’t a US citizen. Or ?? Please fill me in?

    • zantafio says:

      Look up the definition of “treason” in a dictionary, that should be plenty to fill you in…

    • jason in boston says:

      He is only a “bad guy” to people who are corrupt and harmed by his leaks. To people like me, he is just another outlet to expose corruption. He deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      Yes, it is because he is not a US citizen. You can’t betray us if you’re not one of us.

    • TheGreySpectre says:

      First off treason only applies when sabatoging your own nation. Assenge/wikileaks are not American so they cannot be guilty of trason against the US, it is impossible.

      2nd he has not leaked any classified documents himself, he has only published classified documents that SOMEONE ELSE leaked, in the same way that Ellsberg was the one who leaked the Pentagon Papers but the NY Times and a few other news organizations were the ones who published them to the general public.

    • Cetan says:

      I love all the right-wing nuts who cry and scream for his execution for treason… when he’s an AUSTRALIAN citizen.

  17. momtimestwo says:

    I want to see documents from big pharma companies about their drugs, vaccines in particular.

  18. palfas says:

    Everyone who defends these bigwigs and their corporations from taxes needs to take a serious look at their life and the world around them. I’m certain that if you pay enough attention you will see that you are never going to get invited to their parties, you will never get a share of the profits, you will never be one of them (unless you already are, but then what are you doing here).

    You’re just white knighting and she’s not going to sleep with you because of it. Oops, habit, I meant they’re not going to give you money because of it.

  19. NumberSix says:

    Now we’re talkin’…

  20. msky says:

    so the guy who stole the data got caught, is being prosecuted for theft and desided to give it to WikiLeaks in hope of support during his trial. If that is not a definition of manipulation, I dont know what is.

  21. jayde_drag0n says:

    Because its buried as a response to someone else. I take it that nobody here has heard of the Pentagon Papers. Internal Top Secret documents that were stolen, leaked to the times and then reported and reproduced in full in their newspaper.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._United_States

  22. vicissitude says:

    For those who the thought hasn’t occurred to… America IS a corporate one party political system now. There was an FBI report about our corrupt politicians referred to in a UK lawsuit, which since has disappeared. Corruption is rampant in America and unfortunately Americans for the most part don’t care and most will defend ‘their team’ to the bitter end. Corruption is expected and usually you get what you expect, yeah. Another point is that most States have built in tax breaks for bringing in new business. Then of course those companies appeal the taxes they are supposed to pay, usually behind closed doors and negotiated by your State Governor’s political appointee. Billions are lost, it’s not a level playing field and it’s a dumb system. How about all corporations doing business in the U.S. paying their proper taxes, Federal, State, or otherwise…

  23. MisterE says:

    You know, it’s easy to shut down a website. Simply ask the MPAA to handle it- they seem to have the resources the government does not have to shut down sites. Just sayin’

  24. FrankReality says:

    This Wikileaks business certainly has some potential for making some big bucks through extortion.

    But I’m sure they’re completely honest – NOT!