Sunday, 15 May 2011

NZ role in drugs, arms and tax scams

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Companies registered in New Zealand have attracted attention from authorities worldwide for years, long before prime minister John Key started talking about turning New Zealand into a finance centre

One longish running story concerns a Vanuatu representative and long time Kiwi Geoffrey Taylor. December 2009 saw Taylor exposed, first by a former Navy intelligence officer, in the WMR or Wayne Madsen Report, and then by the Times Online as being behind a New Zealand registered company involved with arms exports from North Korea on a massive Russian air transport, stopped in Bangkok.

Now the Sydney Morning Herald has done a follow up, ending on this note:

New Zealand company records show that snuggled up inside Bristoll Export is yet another shell company that can be traced via Panama to an unrelated offshore banking firm in Cyprus operated by a former Russian diplomat. Further evidence, perhaps, of an even more impenetrable labyrinth.

Entitled "
Inside the shell: drugs, arms and tax scams", the piece raises serious questions about how easily companies can be set up in New Zealand, a practice praised as "business-friendly" by organisations like the OECD, apparently without regard to ongoing costs in crime and corruption.

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