Wiener Blut

A Billion Here, A Billion There …
We always wondered a bit why the Austrian government was so eager to adopt the EU’s bail-in law (a.k.a. the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive) one year earlier than demanded by the EU Commission. What was the rush? Well, now we know. Last year, the decision to wind down the former Hypo Alpe Adria (HAA) ‘in an orderly manner’ helped push Austria’s government debt above 87% of GDP – a level perilously close to what has so far in many cases proved to be the point of no return.
This decision was not exactly unanimously welcomed in Austria, but the government found itself between a rock and a hard place. Credit rating agencies are busy downgrading banks across euro-land, as government support assumptions are revised in light of the EU’s bail-in directive. Austria’s banks however have come under special scrutiny. This has of course absolutely nothing to do with the country’s government sometimes appearing to be sympathetic to evil Uncle Vlad in Moscow (it signed the South Stream agreement and occasionally one of its representatives will bemoan the utter uselessness of the sanctions regime). Honni soit qui mal y pense!

This post was published at Acting-Man on March 3, 2015.

Financial Collapse Leads To War

Scanning the headlines in the western mainstream press, and then peering behind the one-way mirror to compare that to the actual goings-on, one can’t but get the impression that America’s propagandists, and all those who follow in their wake, are struggling with all their might to concoct rationales for military action of one sort or another, be it supplying weapons to the largely defunct Ukrainian military, or staging parades of US military hardware and troops in the almost completely Russian town of Narva, in Estonia, a few hundred meters away from the Russian border, or putting US ‘advisers’ in harm’s way in parts of Iraq mostly controlled by Islamic militants.
The strenuous efforts to whip up Cold War-like hysteria in the face of an otherwise preoccupied and essentially passive Russia seems out of all proportion to the actual military threat Russia poses. (Yes, volunteers and ammo do filter into Ukraine across the Russian border, but that’s about it.) Further south, the efforts to topple the government of Syria by aiding and arming Islamist radicals seem to be backfiring nicely. But that’s the pattern, isn’t it? What US military involvement in recent memory hasn’tresulted in a fiasco? Maybe failure is not just an option, but more of a requirement?
Let’s review. Afghanistan, after the longest military campaign in US history, is being handed back to the Taliban. Iraq no longer exists as a sovereign nation, but has fractured into three pieces, one of them controlled by radical Islamists. Egypt has been democratically reformed into a military dictatorship. Libya is a defunct state in the middle of a civil war. The Ukraine will soon be in a similar state; it has been reduced to pauper status in record time – less than a year. A recent government overthrow has caused Yemen to stop being US-friendly. Closer to home, things are going so well in the US-dominated Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that they have produced a flood of refugees, all trying to get into the US in the hopes of finding any sort of sanctuary.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/03/2015.

This special treaty gives Americans preferential treatment in Thailand

Those who have traveled will understand me when I say that you can instantly feel what local people’s attitudes towards you are just from the way they look at you.
It’s hard to describe specifically what the differences are… you just feel it.
As a traveler this can have a huge impact on how you feel about a place, while as an expat it can make all the difference. It’s hard to ever feel at home in a place where people watch you when you walk by as if you’re some bizarre alien.
That’s not to say that you want to avoid anywhere you might stand out, because while in some places those glances can mean hostility or wariness, in others they can mean curiosity and adoration instead. And it’s always great to be where it’s the latter.
In fact, I’ve found that in some places, the fact that I look foreign actually gets me better treatment.
This is exactly how I feel whenever I arrive here in the Land of Smiles, where I’m quickly reminded of how the country got that nickname.
From the moment I step off the plane I’m met all around with deep bows and pleasant greetings.
Famed for their warmth, the Thais heartily welcome foreigners into the country to enjoy their beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and incredible food.
But as friendly and accepting as the Thais are, a barrier always remains between them and everyone else.
This distinction is particularly apparent when it comes to business – which is quite evident in how policymakers didn’t mince words at all in coming up with the Alien Business Law.
This law, which dictates foreign business operations in the country, sets strict limits on what industries a non-Thai company can engage in and limits ownership stakes in Thai businesses by foreigners to 49%.

This post was published at Sovereign Man on March 3, 2015.

Is Chicago The Next Enron?

Is Chicago the next Detroit? The State of Illinois has one of the largest, if not the largest, State fiscal deficits. The public pension funds in Illinois is woefully underfunded – as it is in almost every State. As it turns out, the municipality of Chicago may become the next Detroit, as Moody’s downgraded the Chicago to two notches away from junk status:
Chicago’s finances are already sagging under an unfunded pension liability Moody’s has pegged at $32 billion and that is equal to eight times the city’s operating revenue. The city has a $300 million structural deficit in its $3.53 billion operating budget and is required by an Illinois law to boost the 2016 contribution to its police and fire pension funds by $550 million. LINK
I would like to point out here that it is likely that Chicago’s financial condition is FAR worse than the Baa2 rating given to it by Moody’s. Moody’s after all had Enron rated triple-AAA until about a week before it blew up. In other words, Moody’s ratings are essentially worthless.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on March 3, 2015.

Bernanke Wants the U.S. President to Declare ‘Economic Emergencies’ in Future Crises

Presidents should get the power to declare economic emergencies along the lines to declare war, said former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday.
It might make sense to give ‘the president some ability to declare emergencies or take extraordinary actions and not put that all on the Fed,’ Bernanke said at a conference. ‘The constitution gives the president significant flexibility to respond to military situations,’ in part because they are chaotic, he noted.
‘I am sure it is not politically possible, but it would be worth thinking about,’ the former Fed chairman said.
– From the MarketWatch article: Presidents Should Be Able to Declare Economic Emergencies: Bernanke
For those of us who remain horrified and disgusted by the 2008-09 Federal Reserve and U. S. government bailout of the kleptocratic oligarchs who created the crisis, the above comments by the mastermind of this historic theft should be extremely concerning.
Although bankers and oligarchs got everything they wanted and more from the post crisis panic, what seems to bother Bernanke is that some of the response measures had to be pursued publicly. By calling for the U. S. President to declare economic emergencies in future crises, he is explicitly saying he doesn’t want Congress involved at all, even if just ceremonially. This man is a dyed in the wool fascist.
MarketWatch reports that:

This post was published at Liberty Blitzkrieg on Mar 3, 2015.

Chicago’s Only Possible Salvation: Bankruptcy – a Name That Cannot be Spoken

Is the Chicago pension system so messed up and union work rules so entrenched the only way to change either of them is bankruptcy? I think so.
So does Dennis Byrne who wrote on his blog today Chicago’s Only Salvation: A Detroit-Like Bankruptcy.
This is a guest post from Byrne.
Chicago’s Only Salvation: A Detroit-Like Bankruptcy
Wait, I thought only the Republican Party was being torn asunder by a rift between the establishment middle and the fringe. That impression was nailed down, again, last week by the embarrassing fracture among House Republicans over funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
But don’t forget last Tuesday’s Chicago primary in which incumbent Rahm Emanuel, the so-called establishment candidate, was forced into a runoff election for mayor with progressive Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
Observers on the right and left expect that Garcia’s unexpected success bodes well for progressives and is bad for moderate, establishment Democrats. That includes “centrist” (I don’t necessarily agree with the label) and president-in-waiting Hillary Clinton.
They see an uprising among progressives that’ll energize the drive to draft the far-left Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to challenge Clinton. Suggesting that a national movement is afoot to cleanse the Democratic Party of centrist heretics, they also point to the election of New York Mayor Bill (“I’m a progressive, don’t call me liberal”) de Blasio. Others said last year’s election of labor-backed Ras (“We are the mayor”) Baraka as Newark, N. J., mayor energized progressives.
Locally, left-wing Democrats have draped their mantle over the shoulders of Garcia. That’s happened even though, after reading his answers to the Tribune’s Candidate Questionnaire, I wouldn’t call him the perfect progressive. The Illinois branch of (the left’s noisy equivalent of the right’s tea party) endorsed Garcia. The Chicago Teachers Union and assorted progressive activists credit themselves for Garcia’s unexpectedly strong showing and their successes in several alderman races.
So, yes, there is a fissure within the Democratic Party, between the establishment types and progressives.
So what?

This post was published at Global Economic Analysis on March 03, 2015. – How A Romanian Hacker Exposed Hillary Clinton’s Secret Email Life

While the Hillary Clinton email fiasco is sure to be the talk of the town for the next few days, weeks, and months and may have seriously jeopardized the former SecState’s chances at becoming America’s next president, an even more important story is how the revelation that Hillary exclusively used a private, unencrypted and unsupervised email for 4 years of state-level, official business communications, emerged in the first place.
The answer, shockingly, comes courtesy of a Romanian hacker who was known by the handle “Guccifer”, and who is currently serving time in a Bucharest prison for his online attacks against countless public figures including the infamous leaks of George W. Bush personal paintings.
How is it possible that a Romanian convict may have helped accelerate the downfall of Warren Buffett’s presidential hopeful? According to the Smoking Gun, which first reported on this topic back in March 2013, ‘Guccifer’ illegally accessed the AOL e-mail account of Sidney Blumenthal, who then worked as a senior White House adviser to President Bill Clinton, and later became a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/03/2015.

As The Battle For Tikrit Begins, A Map Of Who Controls What

As the world awaits to see if following his speech, Israel’s PM will now proceed with launching a full on assault on Iran just to show he means business, or at least stage yet another false flag intervention to greenlight war in the middle east, several hundred kilometers to the northeast, the biggest offensive in the “war on ISIS” is now taking place after thousands of Iraqi soldiers and Shi’ite militiamen seek to retake the northern Iraqi town and birthplace of Saddam Hussein, Tikrit.
As previously reported, U. S. officials said last month that plans are afoot for a massive operation to recapture Mosul from ISIS – probably this spring – but wresting Tikrit from the militants beforehand is seen as critical given the city’s strategic location. The question is whether third time will be the charm, er, offensive: Iraq’s security forces have tried repeatedly – in June, again in August – to retake Tikrit but made little headway against the militants. This time may or may not be different, with a key variable being whether US air support will be granted to the local “resistance” fighters.
According to Reuters, Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, who has helped coordinate Baghdad’s counter-attacks against Islamic State since it seized much of northern Iraq in June, was overseeing at least part of the operation. In other words, the same Iran that was being vilifies in Congress is now fighting on behalf of the US-led “alliance”, to eradicate the same terrorists which according to some, have seen a substantial Mossad influence in their appearance. Ironic.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/03/2015.

Ukrainian Food Riots

The CONFIDENCE in the Ukrainian government is collapsing. The price of food is soaring as people now believe their currency will buy less with each passing day. The hrynya has fallen below 4 cents US. Like German Hyperinflation, here too we see people trying to spend their money on food as soon as they get it. To quiet protests over food, President Petro Poroshenko ordered the minister of the food reserve to fill the shelves of stores with flour, sugar, canned meat, and buckwheat from the reserve. The problem – there was no reserve left.
Some are calling this the ‘Financial Maidan’ for it was a march staged at the National Bank of Ukraine to protest the crash of the hryvnya currency and the resulting impoverishment of masses of people as food rises in price. Earlier in the day, Kiev mayor Klichko accused the demonstrators of being ‘Russian provocateurs’ and expressed puzzlement as to the cause of the protests. Obviously, he is not qualified to run even a bar no less a government. Then he unleashed riot police on the demonstrators. Confidence in the Ukrainian government is simply collapsing.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on March 3, 2015.

DHS: ‘Violence Stemming from Sovereign Citizen Extremist Ideology to Ramp-up in 2015’

I guess in the now bankrupt, forgotten, and rapidly deteriorating country in which we all live the powers-that-be are so desperate to latch on to what’s left that they are doing, and will continue to do, everything in their power to sell a new narrative to law enforcement.
In fact a new report issued this Feb. by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says the ‘sovereign citizen extremist (SCE)’; those who believe in their Constitutional rights, will be a growing problem this year after reviewing 24 select law enforcement investigations on the matter.
The report, which is nowhere near realistic, details how SCE violence in 2015 will mostly occur at ‘SCE homes, during routine traffic stops or at government offices’ as ‘SCEs perceive government representatives directly infringing on their rights and freedoms in an irrevocable way’ and may be ‘violent’. Essentially the report persuades various and even astute law enforcement officials to buy into an official narrative which maintains how SCEs are commonplace and potentially dangerous.
Hell in some ways maybe they are. Maybe we all have a little SCE in us; also known as pride.
Maybe a SCE is someone who is truly fed up with what the current political administration has done to the country, the debt it has charged up.
Maybe an SCE is someone who doesn’t like the fact that Big Brother is watching over their shoulder every step of the way, someone who wants to feel free.
Maybe an SCE is someone who doesn’t want to be a slave their whole life or be part of the system that has been created by the devil’s will, the mark of the beast if you will.
If that’s the case you may as well lump us all in or at least the free thinking ones.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on March 3rd, 2015.

Former CIA Head Pleads Guilty To Mishandling Classified Information, Faces Year In Prison

In a ‘ripped from The Onion’-esque headline, WSJ reports that David Petraeus – the former director of the US Central Intelligence Agency – will plead guilty to a charge of mishandling classified information. The reitred military general, whose career was cut short by a very public affair with his biographer, reached a plea deal over sharing unauthorized information with her, in order to avoid an embarrassing trial. To summarize, the man trusted with all of the America’s most secret secrets just plead guilty to pillow-talk-sharing of classified information…
David H. Petraeus, the best-known military commander of his generation, has reached a plea deal with the Justice Department that will allow him to avoid an embarrassing trial over whether he provided classified information to a mistress when he was the director of the C. I. A. As NYTimes reports,
Mr. Petraeus will plead guilty to one count of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material, which carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. Mr. Petraeus has signed the agreement, said Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman.

F. B. I. agents discovered the affair as they investigated cyberstalking allegations that had been made by Jill Kelley, one of Mr. Petraeus’s friends. Ms. Kelley, of Tampa, Fla., told the F. B. I. that an anonymous person had been sending her threatening emails that told her to stay away from Mr. Petraeus.
The agents determined that the emails were coming from Ms. Broadwell. As they investigated Ms. Broadwell, they learned of the affair and found evidence that Mr. Petraeus had shared classified information with her.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/03/2015.

East Coast Tsunami: If It Happens, MILLIONS Of Americans Could Die

Could you imagine what would happen if a tsunami hundreds of feet high slammed into the east coast of the United States at several hundred miles an hour? Just because it has never happened during any of our lifetimes does not mean that it can’t happen. In fact, scientists tell us that there is a very good chance that it will happen someday. And if it does happen, there is a very good chance that the number of dead Americans could be in the millions. Even though there are ‘Tsunami Hazard Zone’ signs on Florida beaches to remind us of this potential threat, we have built giant cities right along the edge of the water all along the Atlantic coast. Today, an astounding 39 percent of all Americans live in counties that directly border a shoreline. The potential damage that a major east coast tsunami could do would be unimaginable. Remember, those living along the Indian Ocean never expected a tsunami in 2004, and those living in Japan never imagined what would hit them in 2011. These things do happen, and it might very well happen to us one day.
If you do not think that this is within the realm of possibility, just consider what the Washington Post has had to say on the matter…
However, while there is no indication it could happen soon (but could), there are scientifically sound reasons for concern that at some point a mega-tsunami could engulf the entire East Coast with a wave almost 200 feet highsweeping everything and everybody up to 20 miles inland. The consequences of such a relatively unlikely but very possible event in loss of life and property are inestimable and beyond the realm of imagination (at least for me).
Yes, there has not been a major tsunami event along the perimeter of the Atlantic Ocean during any of our lifetimes.
But it has happened.
The most famous Atlantic Ocean tsunami during recorded history happened in 1755…
The most widely known Atlantic Ocean tsunami struck Lisbon, Portugal on November 1, 1755 . It was caused by a magnitude 8.6 earthquake beneath the floor of the Atlantic about 100 miles offshore. This earthquake and associated tsunami destroyed most of the city of Lisbon. Waves up to 12 meters high hit the coastlines of Spain and Portugal just minutes after this earthquake. Over nine hours later waves with seven meter runup heights arrived in the Caribbean and caused significant damage. The earthquake and tsunami killed between 60,000 and 100,000 people.

This post was published at End Of The American Dream on March 2nd, 2015.

Netanyahu’s “Don’t Deal With Iran” Speech To Congress – Live Feed

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the US Congress this morning at 11ET to issue ahigh-profile warning against what he considers an ill-advised nuclear deal with Iran. This brings to a head weeks of tension between Israel and The White House and numerous politicians (including The President) will boycott be absent during Bibi’s speech. In what NYTimes calls an ‘implicit challenge to Obama’, Bibi plans to outline his case for a tougher strategy to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and to dissect the flaws of an agreement that has been emerging from American-led negotiations; gambling that disclosing compromises the U. S. made in trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran will delay or derail any agreement.
Netanyahu arrives…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/03/2015.

As Jeb Bush Pounces On The Hillary Email Scandal, The Real Winner Is… Goldman Sachs

While the Clintons have had their share of funding snafus in recent history exposing the former “not truly well off” first lady as not only a puppet of not only Wall Street but also America’s mega corporations, Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email accounts as America’s former top diplomat is a far more serious issue as it touches directly on accountability, and rational decision-making while in a top position of government power. To say that it impairs her image as a presidential candidate who puts the country ahead of her own interests, would be an understatement.
However, depending on just how aggressive the US DOJ is, it may have criminal implications as well: according to the Weekly Standard, citing CNN conversations with “experts”, Hillary Clinton broke the law by using her personal email account to conduct official State Department business while she was secretary of state.
“This is a very big deal,” Brianna Keilar said to host Chris Cuomo. “And you said she may have broken laws or rules here, Chris, well a lot of experts say that she did by using only a personal account while she was secretary of state. This is a huge development, especially as Hillary Clinton is just perhaps weeks from declaring her candidacy for president.” Keilar went on to suggest other Democrats might be tempted to run for president after this latest revelation.
One person who was obviously delighted by the latest development was Clinton’s main Republican competitors, Jeb Bush, whose camp on Monday was quick to pounce on the email scandal, while also invoking the farcical IRS Lois Lerner “excuse” that emails were lost due to failed hard drives. To wit from Politico:
“A potential rival of Clinton in the presidential campaign, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.), called on the former secretary of state to make the collection of emails public. ‘Hillary Clinton should release her emails. Hopefully she hasn’t already destroyed them,’ Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell said. ‘Governor Bush believes transparency is a critical part of public service and of governing.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/03/2015.

Little-Known Laws That Cripple American Trade

The harm that Britain’s protectionist Navigation Acts imposed on the colonies was a major impetus for the American Revolution. But the United States did not abandon those unjustifiable restrictions. Even before the Bill of Rights was adopted, Congress in 1789 enacted similar protectionist restrictions on coastal shipping. It is centuries past time to eliminate such harmful restrictions and the Jones Act that is their modern progeny.
What is the Jones Act? The Jones Act (1920) mimics the rationale and terms of Britain’s Navigation Acts. It was meant to guarantee a merchant marine fleet ‘for the national defense and the development of the domestic and foreign commerce of the United States,’ that was ‘capable of serving as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency.’ It also restricts trade between American ports to vessels built and owned by Americans, and to vessels whose crew is at least three-quarters American. Unfortunately it works against its stated goals, and does so at a steep cost.
The need for the Jones Act restrictions to strengthen our naval defense capability would make sense only if our naval defense was inadequate without such restrictions.
One might make the case that during the early days of the fledgling American government that privateers could be effective military assets. However, the US navy has grown to be the world’s premier naval superpower and has been for longer than most Americans have been alive. It was President Eisenhower in 1961, in his farewell address, that warned of the military-industrial complex that would give America more military than it needed. Despite this the Jones Act has been maintained.
Britain’s Navigation Acts were directly aimed at undermining Dutch sea power, which Adam Smith called ‘the only naval power which could endanger the security of England.’ One could say that the burgeoning Chinese military sea power posses a similar threat today. But restricting America’s coastal trade to American ships cannot appreciably thwart Chinese sea power, military or otherwise, given the tidal wave of goods their ships carry around the world.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on MARCH 3, 2015.

Hryvnia Rallies To 1-Month Highs After Ukraine Raises Benchmark Rate To 30%

Ukraine’s infamous pink Porsche-driving central bank governor, Valeriya Gontareva, raised the nation’s refinancing rate from 19.5% to a stunning 30% (effective Wednesday) in order to “stabilize the situation in the money and lending markets,” and imposed some ‘capital controls’ on exporters holding foreign cash.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/03/2015.

Congressman Urges Protection for Power Grid: EMP Attack ‘Could Bring Our Civilization to a Cold, Dark Halt’

When it comes to an EMP attack, the question remains ‘when’ not ‘if’ the SHTF. Few other scenarios hold as much potential for disaster and disruption to the lives of everyone in society. At a moment’s notice, 300 million Americans could be made instantly desperate – and even likely to die in the aftermath. A single event could easily be enough to take down the power grid and render inoperable all the computers and electronic tools that individuals, businesses, banks and governments all rely upon.
Arizona Congressman Trent Franks recently reintroduced a bill intended to provide better security for critical infrastructure, with particular emphasis on the threat posed to the power grid by an EMP – which Rep. Franks points out could occur either naturally from a solar flare or by way of a targeted man-made weapon.
In reintroducing the bill this week, Franks said, ‘The Department of Homeland Security has the specific responsibility to secure the key resources and critical infrastructure in the United States, to include power production, generation and distribution systems. Yet thirteen years after this job description was enacted, our nation’s most critical infrastructure – and the systems that more than 300 Million Americans depend upon every day for basic activities – are still vulnerable to large scale blackouts.
‘Anyone who understands how critical our power grid has become in modern America to feeding our families or keeping our children warm will understand why this act is so crucially important. The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act will enhance DHS threat assessments for geomagnetic disturbances and electromagnetic pulse blackouts which will enable practical steps to protect the vital electric grid that serves America….’

This post was published at shtfplan on March 3rd, 2015.

Nemtsov Murder Fuels Suspicion, Fails to Spur Russia Sell Off

While the murder of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov sparked international outrage, it won’t dissuade investors after the country’s assets rose the most worldwide last month, according to Prosperity Capital Management Ltd. and Landesbank Berlin Investment GmbH.
“Political markets have short legs, so I do not change my positioning in Russian assets,” Lutz Roehmeyer, who oversees $1.1 billion of assets as a money manager at Landesbank Berlin, said by e-mail Sunday. Investors “accepted that Russian democracy is not at western standards and the security situation or judicial system is far from perfect,” he said.
U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the killing on Friday of Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin and critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said he was a “bridge” between the two countries. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said the president would take the investigation under his “personal control” and believed the killing to be a provocation.

This post was published at bloomberg

Kerry meets with Russia’s Lavrov over Ukraine crisis

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held tense talks with his Russian counterpart in Geneva Monday to end fighting in Ukraine, where the U.N. says more than 6,000 have died in less than a year.
The meeting with Sergei Lavrov in an upscale Geneva hotel came less than a week after Kerry accused Moscow of lying to his face about its involvement in the conflict, which has triggered the worst post-Cold War crisis between the U.S. and its allies, and Russia.
Both were due to brief media on the substance of the meeting later in the day.
High-stakes talks between Kiev and Moscow were also set to get under way in Brussels to resolve a bitter gas dispute, which threatens deliveries to Europe, after Russia began direct supplies to parts of separatist-held eastern Ukraine.

This post was published at France24

How Billionaires in London Use Secret Luxury Homes to Hide Assets

On London’s Billionaires Row in Hampstead, the seven-bedroom Carlton House with its 50-foot ballroom, underground swimming pool and 10-person Turkish bath is for sale for 14 million pounds ($21.5 million).
It’s being sold to repay BTA Bank after British courts seized assets from the Kazakh lender’s one-time chairman, billionaire Mukhtar Ablyazov. The lender accused him of embezzling about $6 billion from the bank, claims he says are false and politically motivated.
It took the U.K. High Court to establish that the home, with its marble bathrooms, crystal chandeliers and cherry-wood elevator, belongs to the 51-year-old, because the property was bought through a network of offshore companies that hid his identity. He argued it was his brother-in-law’s and he just rented it after his family moved to England in 2009.

This post was published at bloomberg