Sending money offshore:
Financial transactions involving offshore havens often get reported by suspicious bank staff. Being accused of money laundering is easier than you think.
Your onshore banker himself might volunteer the details of your activity, even before the government asks for it. This can happen if your banker detects what is termed as "unusual or suspicious account activity" -- and the very act of sending money offshore is cause enough for suspicion. The fact that your transaction is legitimate does not matter at this point.
For instance, in 2000, The Financial Services Commission in Jersey -- an offshore haven itself! -- issued an "Anti-Money Laundering Guidance Update" warning its financial institutions to exercise vigilance when dealing with banks in Malta, The Cayman Islands, Antigua and rather predictably Russia. Similarly, the US Treasury has issued warnings to financial institutions regarding transactions with countries on blacklists produced by the FATF -- and that includes just about every well-known offshore tax haven.
Where a few years ago making a straightforward wire transfer to an offshore banking haven would have probably gone unnoticed, doing the same today may generate a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR), forwarded to a national Financial Intelligence Unit for further investigation.
Out of the tens of thousands of reports filed each year by banks in the United States alone, the majority are false alarms -- only a small percentage results in prosecution. "When in doubt, report" is the familiar line taken as bankers realise that the extra administrative effort involved in producing an STR is nothing compared to the effects of negative publicity surrounding a possible money laundering scandal or criticism from regulators.
As a result, many innocent individuals have their banking records exposed to and investigated by the authorities, and end up having a permanent question mark placed over them in government files.
Legal or not? Who knows? Who cares?
What's more, those in charge of today's developed nations like to keep their citizens in a state of confusion as to what is and what is not legal when it comes to transactions involving offshore havens. This especially applies in cases of legal tax avoidance vs. criminal tax evasion.
Make a simple and fully legitimate transfer of funds offshore, and you may well end up having to "prove" that you were acting within the law. Take a word of warning from the experts:
Peter Howarth, a tax investigations director at Lathams in the UK, recently warned that
".. sending money or assets abroad may be caught by special legislation."
“The only legal guidance about what is illegal and what is legitimate came from a judge who said unhelpfully that the difference was 'the thickness of a prison wall'."
Thanks to the vicious assault on financial freedoms, you must act with more stealth today. The fact that you are acting within the law should not discourage you from a little subterfuge.
Fail to use subterfuge, and you may find yourself under investigation while still having acted legally. This Kafkaesque world has been created to deny you financial privacy. You have a right to reclaim it.