A well-known Palm Beach landowner, a Jupiter plastic surgeon, socialites and a high-profile realtor are among area stalwarts whose names appear in a secret database of people with bank accounts in foreign countries often used to hide assets from governments at home, Billionaire World News has learned through the website GossipExtra.com.
Known as “offshore leaks,” the database was obtained by the Washington, D.C.-based ICIJ, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. It contains the names of as many as 2.5 million people from 170 countries who own bank accounts or trust funds in so-called tax havens, countries like the Virgin Islands or Switzerland that allowed rich investors to hide assets in their banks.
Combined, they are believed to have hidden as much as $31 trillion!
The database yields an array of names of heads of states and top business leaders, including the campaign co-treasurer of French President Francois Hollande as well as Russian oligarchs, the children of dead dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a Canadian senator’s husband, and Denise Rich, wife of American oil trader and President Bill Clinton pardon seeker Marc Rich, among others.
The leaks created enough of a scandal that some countries launched investigations while calls for the end of tax havens rang out.
This weekend, the stash of information was finally made available to the general public — and the veil on the secrecy of offshore banking was lifted, exposing folks you might see at work or in your neighborhood.
Gossip Extra sifted through the names and addresses and found as many as 30 names of individuals or business entities throughout Palm Beach County! In general, the tiny Pacific Ocean monarchy of Cook Islands was the preferred location for the maze of Palm Beachers’ offshore accounts, with a handful preferring the Virgin Islands.
“Not all the people on the list did something illegal,” said a Palm Beach lawyer who helped several clients set up offshore accounts. He asked that his name not be used. “Many people set up offshore accounts to escape creditors and pay U.S. taxes on that money like anybody else. “But then, many other people opened accounts abroad to hide assets from the IRS.”
More than half those Palm Beach County residents in the database, by the way, closed their accounts over the past few years after the U.S. government promised amnesty from criminal prosecution if American citizens voluntarily took their money home and declared it to the IRS.
However, a good number of them, according to the database, still have accounts abroad.
Those named below, meanwhile, have not been accused of committing a crime — and none returned Gossip Extra‘s calls for comment about their presence in the database:
– Developer Brian Kosov, owner of the Royal Poinciana Plaza shopping center in Palm Beach, and four family members are named the beneficiaries of the Sterling Trust in Cook Islands
– Realtor Dudley Moore III, an agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Palm Beach, and four family members are named the beneficiaries of the Unity Trust, also in Cook Islands
– West Palm Beach realtor Nadine House is also named in the database but closed her trust account in the Cook Islands
– Palm Beach philanthropists Richard and Phyllis Krock, who have chaired some of Palm Beach’s fanciest black tie galas, are tied to four trust funds in the Cook Islands that have been closed, according to the database. They listed a PO Box in Palm Beach as the address on their accounts’ papers
– Well-known Jupiter plastic surgeon Israel Shuter and other family members are alleged to be the beneficiaries of three trust funds set up in Cook Islands
Said the Palm Beach lawyer: “It’s no longer worth setting up these offshore accounts. Obviously, the secrecy element isn’t what it used to be. And secrecy was the point. Now I tell my clients to look for asset protection in the United States.”
The ICIJ Offshore Leaks web app allows the public to search more than 100,000 secret companies, trusts and funds created in offshore locales such as the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands and Singapore.
We are doing this because the political climate has changed so much over the past few months, ever since we published the second part of a multi-year investigative series that aims to strip away the secrecy associated with tax havens.
Secret Offshore Hidden Bank Accounts Search
To search for people or companies you may know or are looking for information for click here,
Offshore Hidden Bank Accounts Database Excel File Download
Or if you prefer, the database is available for direct download in CSV zip format, which opens as an Excel spreadsheet.
Disclaimer: There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.
Thank you to Jose Lambiet's GossipExtra.com , South Florida's Best Gossip, for this story.