The assets of Russian oligarchs and other wealthy people seen in various ways have been frozen to aid Vladimir Putin’s goals with Ukraine, risking losing luxury possessions and big boats. Many of them have been reported in the international media to evade sanctions by docking their giant ships in paradise islands in countries far from the European Union and the USA.
Through open marine data services, DN has been able to locate some of the luxury boats to rule the oligarchs. There are many of them in places like Seychelles or the Maldives, while some still in European ports are said to have problems with the authorities.
But avoiding sanctions of the kind that the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States decided recently is not as simple as simply moving your boat to a far country.
Daniel Waldenstrom Professor at the Institute for Business Research with a focus on taxation. Explains the purpose of the sanctions imposed on the rich oligarchs and other wealthy people.
The goal is to pressure the elite in Russia so that the elite can pressure Putin to change his policy.
Penalties are doubled. Partly, financially, partly it harms the reputation of the business, which is probably worse than financial.
Previous It means that bank cards stop working. Concretely, this means that countries order individual banks to freeze accounts linked to people on the lists. The money remains but cannot be used or transferred.
Countries with favorable tax bases such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the Channel Islands off the coast of France, which they would be happy to resist, are forced to cooperate.
This is where the money is often.
The system depends on To know who the people are and to know their family members and other relatives. It also depends on the banks’ knowledge of the accounts revolving around them.
Prior knowledge is required to have any effect. We see that it appears to have some effect, says Daniel Waldenstrom.
second side It is more political, and it means discrediting a person. A good reputation is important in the business world. Being blacklisted is bad for business.
They become “toxic,” as they say in the business world, and it will hurt their business interests in the long run, says Daniel Waldenstrom.
The seizure of luxury boats and the limited opportunity to use holiday homes on the French Riviera or in London can be considered acts of symbolism. This is only a small part of the origins of the oligarchs and other wealthy Russians.
– It would seem strange if you ignore the luxury yachts and focus only on arranging the ownership structures in stocks and in bank accounts. But the latter is likely to be more difficult than physically taking possession of a yacht.
at The Panama Papers of 2016 Show how a number of people in Vladimir Putin’s closest circle have escaped taxes through advanced arrangements at mailbox companies in tax havens. It is difficult to fully control the property of the owners of “eggs in many baskets”. But when sanctions hit wealthy companies, their effects can be clearly felt.
Businesses must have access to their accounts in order to pay bills. Within a few weeks, there could be a risk of bankruptcy, says Daniel Waldenstrom.
Ownership structures in companies are often advanced.
– It is not always known which accounts represent the ultimate targets of sanctions. This is because the companies are owned by many shell companies and middlemen, which means that a great deal of research effort is required to determine where the oligarch’s money ultimately resides.
Why is there so much on the Sanctions List on Paradise Islands now?
“Maybe it’s a combination of nice weather and the opportunity to be there without risking a fire because you have a lot of money,” says Daniel Waldenstrom.
International cooperation It makes it relatively easy to confiscate assets outside of countries that have imposed sanctions. That’s what Johan Lundberg, an internationally supervised tax auditor at the Swedish Tax Agency, said. Although capturing a yacht in the Seychelles may be more difficult than in Hamburg, he does not think that this is the reason for the transfer of boats to the Paradise Islands.
– I can imagine people using yachts do this over the weekend or a shorter period of time. Then you want them to be in a nice place. I don’t think that in order to hide anything, it is possible to follow the movements of larger ships via websites. They are easy to find.
Johann Lundberg stresses that tracking money is more difficult. Bank money can be hidden in long chains as it is difficult to know who owns the money.
Banks are obligated to maintain order and take risks if they do not track down who is checking accounts. Today, it is difficult to hide money, but there are certainly ways to circumvent regulations, and there are conditions for bullying. Johann Lundberg says he is not always the right person in the calculations.
Read more: Putin’s friends from the Russian elite are on the EU blacklist
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