Among the scandals exposed by the Paradise Papers is that of residency for sale, something I covered just last month (along with passports for sale) as a special feature in our monthly podcast and radio show, the Taxcast, which you can listen to below.
The name Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll showed up in leaked Paradise Papers documents. Like many other famous names exposed, the pop star Shakira appears to have used a series of structures and mechanisms to manage her wealth and assets, in her case via Malta and Luxembourg.
The Guardian newspaper also reports that although she now lives in Barcelona, Spain, she’s listed as resident of the Bahamas:
Asked about her listed residence in the Bahamas, the lawyer added that as an international artist Shakira had lived in a variety of places “throughout her professional career and, in every case, has fully met the laws of all the jurisdictions where she has resided”.”
No doubt she has. And it appears she once lived in the Bahamas a number of years ago. But why would a person continue to be listed as resident in such a location, yet not really
Although just nine years since the last Global Financial Crisis, it would seem that world has a suppressed what it means to be on the edge of economic cataclysm. A new generation of predominantly anaemic elected representatives in the guise of “lawmakers” cavort on their electoral success in our halls of power and indeed the leadership apex of most of the Western economies. Short political lifetimes and even shorter political terms together with the style of the new generation of political aspirants of everyone “being different” to captivate social media and the all important “patronage” of the “rich folk” has largely resulted in politicians incapable of independently identifying current risk areas for a potential global financial crisis, let alone either independently or dependently developing prevention strategies or total solutions for such an event. If you don’t believe me, just ask your elected representative what the “top four” risks are for a GFC and what are his and her broad plans for addressing them.
Even those who remain from those treacherous times, few apart from perhaps German leader Angela Merkel can claim both leadership and a meaningful contribution to their nation’s handling of the GFC. So consign to oblivion President Trump for a moment and consider the political emergence in 2020 of a more alluring and unquestionably more female conscious President Kim Kardashian. To whet the line of questioning on the GFC risk issue (and you will now know why from your first attempt), you may wish to suggest that the top 4 risks
A mother collapsed from hunger and exhaustion after walking two miles with her two young children to a food bank in South Shields, in the north east of England. On January 13, staff at the Hospitality and Hope centre in South Tyneside had to arrange for the family to be taken home and for emergency food support to be provided. The mother and partner are both working but had been going hungry so their children could eat.
Rising living costs—caused by corporate price gouging—meant their wages no longer covered their needs. Hospitality and Hope chief executive Brian Thomas said, “this is not an isolated case… Working people are entering deprivation at a scale previously unseen.” Food bank usage has increased exponentially. The Trussell Trust charity says it supplied 1.3 million emergency food parcels to people in need, half a million of whom were children, between April and September 2022.
the distribution of the new wealth that was generated in 2020 and 2021.
As the graph shows, 63% of new wealth went to the top 1%. You don’t have to be massively wealthy to be in the top 1%, but even that 1% share is skewed towards the very richest. Billionaire wealth increased dramatically.
The rest of the top ten percent did alright. The other 90% get diminishing shares, and if you look closely you’ll see that the poorest 10% went backwards. Those who most need the increase, for whom more is a matter of life and death, are failed by the global economy. Those who have more than they can ever realistically spend, and for whom more is pretty much meaningless, reap further abundance.
And really, the injustice is so extreme at the moment. Those capitalist arguments for the status quo ring more hollow with every passing year.
As the world’s corporate and political elite convened in Davos, Switzerland for the first winter World Economic Forum in three years, an analysis published Monday by Oxfam International found that the global rich have captured nearly two-thirds of all wealth generated since 2020—a period marked by a devastating pandemic, worsening costs of living crises, and continued fallout from the climate emergency.
In a new report titled Survival of the Richest, Oxfam shows that the top 1% worldwide grabbed $26 trillion of the $42 trillion in new wealth created, close to twice as much as the bottom 99% of the global population.
Billionaires, in particular, have seen their wealth explode since 2020, adding around $1.7 million to their net worth for every $1 in wealth gained by a person in the bottom 90% of the global income distribution. According to Oxfam, billionaires’ fortunes have grown by an average of $2.7 billion per day since 2020.
HSBC has today announced that its profits for 2022 were £14.5 billion. Its profits for the last quarter of 2022 were £4.3 billion, up more than 90% from the same period in 2021.
The results follow news last week that NatWest and Barclays made a collective £12.1 billion of profits for 2022. HSBC is using its profits to make its largest dividend payout to shareholders since 2018.
This, coupled with the source of these profits being largely due to interest rate rises from the Bank of England, has renewed calls from Positive Money for a windfall tax on banks’ excess profits.
They are directing supporters to a petition, calling for Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to introduce this tax, with more bumper profits and bonuses likely to be announced by Lloyds Bank tomorrow.