Nevada, South Dakota among states singled out in Pandora Papers investigation

Local News

This photograph illustration shows the logo of Pandora Papers, in Lavau-sur-Loire, western France, on October 4, 2021. – Russia on October 4 dismissed revelations leaked in the Pandora Papers as “unsubstantiated claims” after an investigation by a media consortium shone a light on wealth amassed by Kremlin-linked individuals.
The “Pandora Papers” investigation involving some 600 journalists from media including The Washington Post, the BBC and The Guardian is based on a leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP) (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Financial secrecy laws in Nevada, South Dakota and other states “rival those of offshore jurisdictions” and expand U.S. “complicity in the offshore economy,” according to a report on a leak of 11.9 million secret financial documents.

The “Pandora Papers” outline extensive dealings through offshore banks, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). It’s one of the biggest leaks of documents in history, and shows that the U.S. provides pathways for huge amounts of cash through financial institutions in low-tax states. The hidden wealth is moved to trusts and accounts to avoid paying higher taxes.

The Washington Post, a partner of ICIJ, says some of the money in question is tainted. The Pandora Papers do not implicate any U.S. institutions or politicians in wrongdoing.

Among the biggest havens for this hidden wealth, Nevada ranked fifth as the state with the most trusts identified in the investigation.

A graphic titled “Which US states have the most trusts in the Pandora Papers?” lists the top five states:

  1. South Dakota — 81
  2. Floria — 37
  3. Delaware — 35
  4. Texas — 24
  5. Nevada — 14

U.S. trusts have become a go-to vehicle for financial secrecy, according to the ICIJ study.

Subsequent media reports, such as the quote from Bloomberg below, characterize the revelations as “troubling:”

One of the most “troubling revelations” for the U.S. was the role of South Dakota, Nevada and other states that have adopted financial secrecy laws that “rival those of offshore jurisdictions” and demonstrate America’s “expanding complicity in the offshore economy,” said the Washington Post, one of the ICIJ’s media partners. A former vice president of the Dominican Republic finalized several trusts in South Dakota to store his personal wealth and shares of one of the country’s largest sugar producers, the paper said.  

Bloomberg report on The Pandora Papers

The Pandora Papers are littered with big names in international government, and even celebrities in including India’s cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar, pop music diva Shakira, supermodel Claudia Schiffer and Italian mobster Raffaele Amato, known as “Lell the Fat One.”

Over the past decade, South Dakota, Nevada and more than a dozen other U.S. states have transformed themselves into leaders in the business of peddling financial secrecy. Meanwhile, most of the policy and law enforcement efforts of the world’s most powerful nations have stayed focused on “traditional” offshore havens such as the Bahamas, the Caymans and other island paradises.

Pandora Papers, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

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