Headline June 02, 2016/ ''' *GAMING THE RULES : FOR THE ULTRA RICH* '''



PANAMA LEAKS  - when history evens out and  gets complete and truthful, -someday-  will be Best Referred To   -as the  - *Panama Purgatory*. The day of pure reckoning for just so many, in this World. 

No One, I feel assured , can walk away from this, unscathed  This is one fatal happening that will roil and reel the world: stem to stern, fore and aft. So, when the story broke, the World Students Society, set about researching to a searing base line.

And here in Malaysia, I couldn't agree more with R. Nadeswaran. He and I, and the world,  and the World Students Society,  is terribly fascinated at the manner in which serious issues are treated lightly giving the impression that citizens do not deserve even a figment of the truth. 

STUDENTS/PASSENGERS  AT FINDEL airport in Luxembourg may have noticed a cluster of cranes a few hundred yards from the runaway. The structure being erected looks-

Fairly unremarkable  {though eventually it will be topped with striking hexagonal skylights}.  Along its side is a line of loading bays,  suggesting it could be intended as a spillover site for the brimming cargo terminal nearby.

*This new addition to one of  Europe's busiest air-freight hubs will not hold any old goods,  however. It will soon be home to billions of  dollars worth of fine art and other treasures,  -much of which will have been whisked straight from collectors' private jets along a dedicated road  linking the runway to the warehouse^.

THE WORLD'S RICH are increasingly investing in expensive stuff, and  ''freeports''  such as Luxembourg's are becoming their repositories of choice. 

*Their attractions are similar to those offered by offshore financial centres: security and confidentiality, not much scrutiny, the ability for owners to hide behind nominees, and a very large array of  tax  advantages*. 

This special treatment is possible because goods in freeports are technically in transit,  even if in reality the ports are used more and more as permanent homes for accumulated wealth. 

*If anyone knows how to game the rules, it is the super-rich and their advisers*.

Because of the confidentiality, the value of goods stashed in  freeports is unknowable. It is thought to be in  hundreds of billions of dollars, and rising super fast. Though much of what lies within is perfectly legitimate, the protection offered from prying eyes ensures that they appeal to kleptocrats and tax-dodgers as well as plutocrats.

Freeports have been among the beneficiaries as undeclared money has fled offshore bank accounts as a result of tax-evasion crackdown in America and Europe.

The concept is an old one. Originally  freeports   [also known as bonded areas] were used to house  commodities on the move, and later manufactured goods as well. 

In the past half-century more and more of them have moved upmarket, a trend that has accelerated recently as investment in art and other valuables has shot up.

Several factors have fuelled this buying binge. One is growing distrust of financial assets. Collectibles have outperformed stocks over the past decade, with some, like rare coins, doing a lot better, according to The Economists valuables index.

Another factor is the steady growth of the  world's ultra-wealthy  population. According to  Wealth-x, a provider of of data on the very rich, and  UBS, a financial-services firm, a record  199,000 - 235,000 individuals have assets of $30 million or more, a 6% increase over 2012.......

The goods they stash in the  freeports  range from paintings, fine wine and precious metals to tapestries and even classic cars. (Data storage is offered, too). Clients include, museums, galleries, and art investment funds, as well as private collectors.

Storage fees wary, but are typically around $1,000 a year for a medium-sized painting and $5,000 - 12,000 to fill a small room.

These giant treasure chest were pioneered by the Swiss, who have half a dozen freeports, among them sites in  Chiasso, Geneva and Zurich. Geneva's, which was a grain store in the 19th century, houses luxury goods in two sites with floor space equivalent to  22 football  pitches.

Luxembourg is not alone in trying to replicate this success. A freeport that opened at  Changi airport in Singapore in 2010 is already close to full. Monaco has one, too. A planned  ''freeport of culture''  in Beijing would be the world's largest art-storage facility.

The early freeports were drab warehouses. But as the content have grown glitzier, so have the premises themselves. A giant twisting metal sculpture, ''Cage sans Frontiers'' , spans the lobby in Singapore, which looks more like the interior of a modernist museum or hotel than a storehouse.

Luxembourg's will be equally fancy, displaying concrete sculptures by Vhils, a Portuguese artist. Like Singapore and the Swiss it will offer state-of-the-art conservation, including temperature and humidity control, and an array of  on-site services , including renovation and valuation.

The idea is to turn freeports into  ''places the end-customer wants to be seen in, the best alternative to owning your own museum,'' says David Aredt, managing director of the Luxembourg freeport. the newest facilities are dotted with private showrooms, where art can be shown to potential buyers.

To help expand it's private-client business, Christie's, an auction house, has leased space in Singapore's freeport  [which also houses a diamond exchange]. The wealthy are increasingly using freeports  as a place where they can rub shoulders and trade fine objects with each other.

It is not uncommon for a painting to be swapped for, say, a sculpture and some cases of wine, with all the goods remaining in the freeport after the deal and merely being shifted between the storage rooms of the buyer's and seller's handling agents.

Iron-clad security goes along with style. The Luxembourg compound will sport more than 300+ cameras. Access to strong rooms will be biometeric reading.

Singapore has  vibration-detection  technology and seven-tonne doors on some vaults. ''You expect Tom Cruise to abseil from the ceiling at any moment,'' says Mark Smallwood of the Deutsche Bank, which leases space for clients to store up to

*200 tons of GOLD at the Singapore freeport.* 

The Honour and Serving of the  *Operational Research on Life and Living* continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing. And see ya on the following one.

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:

''' Off Square One '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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