Headline June 05, 2016/ ''' DIRTY MONEY GROWING : *ALL HURRICANES CROWING* '''



AS THE BACK AND FORTH  continues, ever more wealth is being parked in fancy storage facilities.
*For many a customer, freeports are attractive new breed of tax-heaven*.

Mr Guntram of AXA argues and says that demand is being driven not by Black Money but by a new breed of collector-

Buying not only for passion but as an investment. Mr. Arendt points out that  Luxembourg's freeport will be subject to EU money-laundering laws. 

Numerous investigations into tainted treasures have led to freeports. In the 1990s hundreds of objects plundered from tombs in Italy and elsewhere were tracked down to Geneva's warehouse-

{Along with papers showing that some had been laundered by being sold at auction to straw buyers,  then handed straight back with with the legitimate purchase documents}.

In 2003  a cache of stolen Egyptian treasures, including two mummies, was discovered in Geneva; in 2010 a Roman  sarcophagus  turned up there, perhaps pinched from Turkey.

Under pressure to respond, the   Swiss  have tightened up their laws on money-laundering  and the transfer of cultural property. A law that took effect in 2009 brought  Switzerland's  freeports  into its custom territory for the first time.

They must now keep a  register  of handling agents and end-customers using their space. Handlers must keep inventories, which customs can request to see.

In practice, however, clients can still be sure of a high degree of secrecy. Swiss custom agents still care about drugs, arms or explosives than about the provenance of a Pollock.

They do not share information with foreign authorities. Much of it is of limited value anyway, since items can be registered in the name off any person  ''entitled''  to dispose of them  -not necessarily the real owner.

Even greater secrecy is on offer in Singapore. Goods coming into the freeports must be declared to customs, but only in a vague way:

There is no requirement to disclose owners, their  stand-ins  or the value or precise nature of goods  [''wine'' or ''antiques'' is enough].

''We offer more confidentiality than Geneva,'' Mr Vandeborre declared when the facility opened.

However, it is not quiet true to say that Singapore and  other new sites are in arm's length competition with the more established facilities. In fact, they share the same tight knit group of mostly Swiss owners, managers, advisers and contractors.

Yves Bouvier, the largest private shareholder in the Geneva freeport, is also the main owner and promoter of the  Luxembourg freeport, a key shareholder on Singapore and a consultant in Beijing.

His Geneva based art art-handling firm,  Natural Le Coultre, is closely involved in running or setting up all these operations. Singapore's architects and engineers were Swiss, as are its security consultants.

This has fuelled speculation that  Swiss  interests have deliberately developed a strategy to globalise the  high-end freeport concept as a way to continue to benefit even as the-   Crarckdown  on undeclared money in Zurich and Geneva drives some of it to other countries. 

Franco Momente of  Natural Le Coultre rejects this interpretation. ''It's nothing more than supply and demand,'' he says. 

''Today, many countries see the advantages of  freeports for the local economy and to have a place in the global art market. They're looking for solutions with experienced operators, and   [the Swiss]  have a very long experience.

Barring dramatic regulatory intervention or moves to end their tax benefits, freeports are very, very likely to grow, and primarily be clients in the developing world and emerging markets.

At current growth rates,  the collective wealth of Asia's rich will overtake Europe's by 2017, reckon  UBS  and   Wealth-x.

As this population grows, so too could wealth taxes in the region, which are now low or non-existent.

That could drive yet more  Indians, Chinese, Indonesians    towards the discreet   duty-free depots   which   -if they aren't already there   -may soon be coming to the airport near You.

But don't forget, nothing ever escapes !WOW!  -the World Students Society. The !WOW!  vigil continues.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the World. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and  !E-WOW! the Ecosystem 2011.

''' On Yer Toes '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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