Capture Dirty Money
Cracking down on money laundering would effectively:
- expose many bribes and conflicts of interest
- fight corruption and crime
- weaken the financing of terrorism
- expose those who sexually traffic women and children or trap people in slavery worldwide
If we just cracked down on shell companies, we could then prosecute the owners and take and use this dirty money worldwide to provide basic human needs.
This would lead to world peace and prosperity.
Most dirty money is actually in countries considered safe harbor because of their rule of law—rich, developed Western nations like the US, England, or Europe.
- The world’s favorite locations for laundered money are New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and London.
- There are whole rich neighborhoods of empty mansions and luxury townhouses hiding laundered money in major cities like New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, London, Paris, and Toronto.
- London alone has $35 billion of empty mansions hiding Russian money.
- In the US, shell companies bought nearly half of all homes worth at least $5 million.
- The percentage is even higher in Los Angeles and Manhattan.
- Our Treasury Department says nearly 1/3 of its monitored purchases of luxury real estate involves a person our government tracks as suspicious.
For example, Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky bought up:
- 8 million square feet of prime downtown Cleveland, Ohio real estate, including marquee buildings there
- steel plants in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, and Kentucky
Another example is Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Our State Department has restricted his travel to the US for years yet:
- He owns a $42.5 million mansion in Manhattan.
- He owns another luxury property near Washington D.C.’s Embassy Row.
- England let him raise $1.5 billion by listing his energy and aluminum company on the London Stock Exchange.
- Now he has invested $200 million in an aluminum plant in Kentucky, Mitch McConnell’s state, likely to influence our politics.
Companies cheating governments hide twice as much money from authorities as do criminals, smugglers, drug cartels, oligarchs, and terrorists.
Crack Down on Shell Companies
We have insane rules for shell companies that allow even sanctioned dictators, oligarchs, and huge multinational companies to hide their money.
- All countries have some sort of registry of shareholders, but the information rarely includes the ultimate owners who benefit from the legal entities.
- Some countries have no central registers and many countries collect incomplete, fragmented information.
- The US is one of 8 G20 countries that allows nominee directors and shareholders to do business without even disclosing the ultimate owners who benefit.
- In the US and Canada, states and provinces have different requirements.
- Delaware doesn’t even collect information on shareholders or directors.
- In many US states, you can set up an anonymous shell company with less identification than it takes to get a library card.
Simple banking transparency laws could expose most dirty and blood money.
- At least 29 countries, including most of the European Union, already demand full disclosure of the ultimate owners who benefit.
Some cities like Berlin, Singapore, and Hong Kong ban foreigners from owning, leasing, or at least leaving a residential property empty. Australia bans foreigners from buying in Sydney or Melbourne.
Copying these laws would help lower the ridiculously high rent and property values in the largest cities in the US and worldwide.
We need to collect and make transparent information on the ultimate owners who benefit from all legal entities:
- Require central, public, machine-searchable databases for the real individuals who are the ultimate owners who benefit from all companies.
- Require all partnerships, corporations, trusts (including trustee, settlor, and beneficiaries), and foundations to register in these public databases.
- The databases must list all shareholders, directors, and bank accounts.
- The bank account numbers can be private but accessible to government and financial officials.
- Eliminate nominee shareholders and the many layers of legal entities that exist simply to hide the ultimate owners who benefit.
- If we allow nominee shareholders, directors, lawyers, accountants, or other legal entities to represent the owners who ultimately benefit, we should force them to register, get licenses, and subject them to strict rules fighting money laundering.
- Require banks to report all foreigners’ accounts to tax authorities in the owner’s home country.
We can force compliance with new laws. We should:
- Forbid banks, financial institutions, lawyers, real estate agents or developers, or companies from making even one transaction without information on the ultimate owners who benefit.
- Require all legal entities to provide and update information on the identities of the ultimate owners who benefit.
- Verify all this information with independent, reliable sources, such as cross-checking the data against bank accounts and other government and tax databases and with random inspections.
- Fine, penalize, or suspend financial institutions, lawyers, companies, or their directors and senior managers for failing to follow rules fighting money laundering.
Corruption tends to occur in:
- real estate
- multinational corporations importing and exporting goods
- government officials
- political parties
- public (government) enterprises
- luxury goods (often used for bribes to get government contracts)
Therefore, we need to carefully monitor the following kinds of companies and individuals by requiring due diligence, record keeping, and reporting of suspicious activities:
- real estate agents and developers
- infrastructure, gas, oil, and mining companies
- public officials
- political parties
- companies that bid for public or state-0wned projects
- companies dealing in luxury goods like jewelry, precious metals, expensive cars, limousines, yachts, and jet planes
We should require all public officials to declare:
- their assets
- their political contributions
- connections to companies or legal entities with beneficial ownership
We should also require transparency (public records) in the financing of political parties and all lobbying.
We should require all companies to collect signatures from both importers and exporters to confirm:
- the prices of goods reflect world market norms
- they don’t violate money laundering laws
- they don’t misprice goods to manipulate the customs duties and taxes of either country
The US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and China have the largest luxury markets but no monitoring.
When China started tracking corruption in luxury goods in 2012, their sales plummeted.
Western governments can also crack down on tax havens by refusing to bank with the worst offenders.
Some of the worst offenders are:
- Western countries like the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Ireland British territories in the Caribbean like the Virgin Islands, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands
- states like Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada
Dozens of banks in countries like Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, and Finland have profited from dirty laundered Russian money, often moved through the Baltic nations like Cyprus, Azerbaijan, or Moldova.
- Detectives believe Germany’s Deutsche Bank laundered as much as $80 billion of Russian money between 2010 and 2014.
- Between 2011 and 2018, Deutsche Bank paid $14.5 billion in fines, often for Russian money laundering.
- Deutsche Bank is under investigation for loaning President Trump over $2 billion over two decades when no other bank would loan money to him.
- Deutsche Bank is also under investigation for its part in yet another Russian money laundering scheme: $20 billion this time.
European Union officials have already forced companies like Apple, Starbucks, Fiat, and 35 other companies to pay back tens of billions in illegal tax avoidance and interest.
- They hid money in places like Luxembourg, Netherlands, Belgium, and Gibraltar.
- Apple alone had to pay $14.2 billion in back taxes and interest to Ireland.
We can force non-Western centers for money laundering like Dubai and even Cyprus to cooperate and crack down by sanctioning their banks or refusing to trade with them until they do.
© Copyright 2019 Peace & Harmony Press. All rights reserved.
Aren’t You Tired of Pretending We Can Beat Hate (Terrorism) With Hate (War)?
Let’s Spend Far Less & Be Far More Safe
Prevent War & Terrorism With Human Rights & Justice
War can’t win people’s hearts and minds. Instead, our wars and foreign interventions just rain down destruction and suffering, waste tens of trillions of dollars, and lead to more terrorist attacks.
- In 2000, there were less than 1,500 terrorist attacks worldwide.
- In 2017, there were nearly 10,900 of them.
- Most of them occur in places we’ve waged war or attacked with drones: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, and Somalia.
- Even our Department of Defense admits many terrorist attacks are retaliation.
- Our wars spread Al-Qaeda throughout the Middle East and into West Africa and Southeast Asia.
- ISIS began after we invaded Iraq and developed in our prisons there.
- After our military interventions, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have all become fundamentalist Islamic magnets for jihadic terrorists, exploding with poverty, conflict, and violence.
Research shows local policing and intelligence work is 5 times more effective against terror organizations than using military force.
Research suggests it is at least 60 times cheaper to invest in poor countries early to prevent violence and wars than it is to try to intervene after violence escalates into a crisis.
Yet the world foolishly spends 1,885 times as much on military budgets than it does on preventing conflict!
Helping Poor Nations with Basic Needs Would Make Us Safer
Poverty, suffering, and injustice are important causes of war and terrorism. War only makes things far, far worse.
For example in Yemen, 78% of people now desperately need help: food, clean water, medicines, etc.
Military leaders understand preventing conflict by supplying basic human needs prevents wars and terrorism.
- Over 120 retired admirals and generals sent a letter to Congress in February 2017 arguing against cuts in foreign aid.
Worldwide, wars and conflicts cost about $14.3 trillion each year, 100 times more than rich countries spend helping poor countries develop.
Imagine what would happen to ISIS and other jihadist groups if the richer, developed nations simply worked to provide people around the world with:
- clean water
It would transform the world with love and bring world peace.
Worldwide, 844 million people (1 out of every 10) don’t have clean drinking water.
- 1 billion people don’t have safe drinking water in their homes.
- In most places without access to clean drinking water at home, people have to pay 10 to 15 times what richer people pay for water.
Almost 3 out of 10, 2.3 billion people, don’t have basic sanitation. Because of this, every day, over 800 children under 5 years old die from diarrhea.
Hunger and malnutrition cause nearly 3.1 million child deaths each year.
Huge First Steps to Peace Are Incredibly Cheap
We spend only $1.5 billion a year on our US Food for Peace program.
- spend $165 billion a year tossing away unwanted snacks and meals
- spend $73.5 billion a year on lottery tickets
- spend $41.7 billion a year on gambling casinos
- spend over $9 billion a year on Halloween candy and costumes
- leave $1 billion a year on gift cards
Agricultural scientists say giving poor nations high-yield seeds and teaching them efficient irrigation, fertilizer, and soil management techniques would end hunger worldwide yet only cost $52 billion each year.
- This is just under the cost of 26 days of our military spending.
- We could easily pay this ourselves but the US doesn’t have to do this alone.
Universal clean water and sanitation would cost $150 billion a year but making a great start by targeting just people in cities would be far cheaper.
- A study by the World Health Organization estimated that we could provide access to clean drinking water to most people in cities worldwide for just $30 billion.
- This is just under 15 days of our military funding.
According to 23 experts published in the leading medical journal The Lancet, for $70 billion each year—less than 35 days of our military funding—we could:
- provide basic health care to the whole world
- dramatically lower diseases and deaths
- save 10 million lives a year
Training local people as paraprofessional community health workers greatly reduces the cost of providing health care in rural areas.
We could build schools and give basic education to all the children in the poorest countries for $26 billion, less than 13 days of our military spending. This would save:
- most of the 1.2 million children forced into prostitution
- the 215 million children trapped in child labor, including 115 million doing hazardous work
We already have plenty of educational classes on Youtube and the internet.
We could easily use the internet to train teachers and educate people worldwide in culturally-appropriate ways even more cheaply than building schools and hiring teachers.
The United Nations and other organizations agree lifting everyone worldwide out of poverty and ending hunger worldwide by 2030 with food, nutrition, development, and infrastructure would cost $265 billion a year.
- This is a less than 36% of our military spending each year but divided up by all rich, developed nations, we could easily and comfortably do it.
Easy Ways to Fund Peace
There are many simple ways to pay for these first steps toward world peace.
One way is to capture dirty money from corrupt dictators, Russian oligarchs, mafias, drug cartels, terrorist organizations, etc., as detailed on this website.
All the rich, developed countries should increase their humanitarian foreign aid a little, to match the most generous nations, as detailed in the article this website on putting democracies in charge with a Better Angels United Nations 2.0.
Eliminate Crushing Debts
Since 1980, developing countries have paid over $4.2 trillion in interest payments on debts alone, far more than the aid they’ve received.
The crushing burden of debt and interest payments keeps these nations in desperate poverty.
We should completely eliminate these debts, so poor countries can afford to provide more of their own people with basic health care, education, etc.
A Tiny Fraction of Military Spending
Congress just approved a $738 billion military defense budget, over $2 billion a day.
- The Pentagon says it doesn’t need about 24% of its bases, buildings, and real estate, yet Congress won’t close them down.
- President Eisenhower cut defense spending by 27% after the Korean War.
- President Nixon cut defense by 29% as he withdrew from Vietnam.
- President G. W. Bush increased defense spending by 70%.
- We could cut our military budget by 40% or $300 billion each year and still have as strong a military as we did under Presidents Eisenhower, G. H. W. Bush, Nixon, or Clinton.
We should make small cuts in defense and use the money to provide people’s needs worldwide and build peace.
We should eliminate 1/12 of our military budget and put that money into clean water, food, medicine, education, and clean energy for the world.
If the rest of the world agrees to do the same, we could eliminate 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, or more of our military budgets.
With global cooperation, we could end the sale of weapons worldwide and start collecting and destroying military weapons in trouble spots around the world.
There are more regulations and trade rules on selling bananas than on selling weapons! This is insane.
With global cooperation, we wouldn’t need to waste trillions of dollars on our massive homeland security infrastructure.
Small loans can raise people out of poverty.
For example, Water.Org has made 1.4 million loans, averaging $260, to help 25 million people get piped water and toilets. Their average repayment rate is 99%.
This has helped women and children stop spending hours every day carrying water, let children attend school, and let families build businesses.
By using small loans, the rich nations can help poor people far more, recycling the money as loans are paid back.
An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have no rights to the land they live on.
Giving land rights to small farmers and people living in slums reduces poverty and speeds development.
- It greatly increases productivity on farms.
- It makes it possible for people to get loans to grow businesses and send their children to school.
Giving people the right to their lands turned Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Malaysia into economic powerhouses.
Over half the world’s countries, by law or by custom, don’t let women own, inherit, or manage land.
We need to change this. Women especially deserve and benefit from land rights.
- Women produce the majority of the world’s food, do an estimated 70% of the agricultural work in poor countries, yet own less than 20% of the world’s land.
- Giving women the right to land they now live on fights poverty, homelessness, and domestic abuse.
- When women own property, they invest 90% of their income on their families, far more than men do.
- Women who own land experience up to 8 times less domestic violence than other women.
Helping the World’s Poor Would Make Us Richer
Helping poor nations would expand the world economy by including the 2 billion plus people who can’t really participate in it today. This would:
- make the whole world stronger and more prosperous
- bring new markets to US businesses
For example, just improving nutrition in children enough to lower stunting (delayed growth) in South Asia by 12.8% would increase productivity over a generation there by $1,497 billion!
This would stimulate the whole world’s economy.
Many developing countries can already help and as the poorest nations grow, they will be able to pay for some of these public health measures themselves.
No More War
Wars disable and kill people, pollute the environment, and damage systems for health care, food, water, and sanitation.
Isn’t it time to stop our incredibly wasteful, destructive wars and turn our beautiful, blue-green fragile world into a prosperous, peaceful paradise?
We could have a just world full of brotherhood, sisterhood, love, harmony, wisdom, and accomplishment. People everywhere could live up to their potential.
This might lead to new geniuses like Einstein, new moral leaders, or solutions to our most pressing problems, like cancer or clean, sustainable energy.
© Copyright 2019 Peace & Harmony Press. All rights reserved.