| Investigative

$hadow Economy

Internal Revenue Service: Offshore accounts yield $5.5 billion

April 27, 2013
By Lou Kilzer
Thousands of U.S. citizens with offshore accounts have fessed up to hiding money and paid the Internal Revenue Service about $5.5 billion in back taxes as a result of information leaks from various foreign banks, the federal government reported Friday. Under an IRS program initiated in 2003, people who voluntarily disclose ...

Exporting natural gas risky business for U.S.

December 15, 2012
By Andrew Conte  and Lou Kilzer
Sitting with about 100 landowners inside the Wysox fire hall, Carolyn Knapp listened to a gas company landman discuss the money that would come from the energy trapped in the Marcellus shale a mile beneath ...

U.S. ranks among top financial secrecy havens

November 10, 2012
By Lou Kilzer and Andrew Conte
Described by the FBI as a “ruthless criminal,” Russian gangster Semion Mogilevich used a tiny magnet firm in Southeastern Pennsylvania to defraud thousands of investors and launder hundreds of millions of dollars ...

Africa’s wealth floods offshore as corrupt leaders, corporations use banks to hide fortunes

October 20, 2012
By Lou Kilzer and Andrew Conte
Bonny Island off the west coast of Africa was the last place many slaves saw before being hauled to the New World. Centuries ago, corrupt African leaders and Western traders became business partners. A few Africans ...

Offshore accounts relatively easy to open

October 6, 2012
By Andrew Conte and Lou Kilzer
The cash sits about 1,600 miles away in an obscure Central American country with palm-lined streets and sandy beaches that neither of us has visited. For less than $1,000, almost anyone can establish a company and — more importantly — an offshore bank account in an international tax haven. Armed with a ...

‘Huge flaw' in nation's tax code aids government contractors

September 22, 2012
By Andrew Conte  and Lou Kilzer
When the United States needs fuel for planes and ships, it often turns to Miami-based World Fuel Services. But rather than sending money to the company’s corporate headquarters at the edge of the Everglades, the government ...

Overseas corporate holdings dwarf economies of tax havens

September 20, 2012
By Andrew Conte and Lou Kilzer
Multinational corporations hold an estimated $1.5 trillion in cash overseas, dwarfing the entire economies of some tax haven countries where the money has been stashed, a U.S. Senate investigation revealed Thursday. “Thanks to these gimmicks and ...

Corruption enables trillions to slip out of China

September 16, 2012
By Lou Kilzer and Andrew Conte
Political and business leaders in China are illegally placing hundreds of billions of dollars in offshore bank accounts, drastically undermining one of the world’s largest economies. In a country with strict monetary controls intended to prevent ...

Chinese trial clouds billion-dollar laundering racket

August 18, 2012
By Lou Kilzer and Andrew Conte
The recent publicized trial of a woman once called the Jackie Kennedy of China dramatically altered the true picture of what brought down her husband, a charismatic politician who sought one of the highest positions ...

HSBC holds $2B for anticipated fines, costs of laundered money

July 30, 2012
By Lou Kilzer
HSBC Holdings Plc, the London-based international bank accused of helping terrorists, drug lords and criminals launder money through secret bank accounts by engaging in lax compliance, on Monday set aside $2 billion toward anticipated fines and repayments. The figure includes $700 million for expected U.S. fines from the Department of Justice. ...

Market for secret bank accounts spreads

July 22, 2012
By Andrew Conte
Secret bank accounts hold more money than the economies of the United States and Japan combined. They are growing rapidly and pose devastating effects around the world, a new report obtained by the Tribune-Review found. The total stash of hidden money equals at least $21 trillion — as the Trib reported ...

HSBC compliance director resigns amid Senate findings

July 17, 2012
By Andrew Conte
WASHINGTON — The top compliance officer at HSBC announced his resignation on Tuesday as other top bank officials and the U.S. Comptroller expressed regret in response to a scathing Senate report about lax money-laundering prevention. ...

From a West Virginia hilltop to Hong Kong, investigators follow secret money

July 16, 2012
By Andrew Conte
VIENNA, W.Va. — The trail to Dr. Barton Adams’ money ran from the wooded, dead-end street where he used to live above this Ohio River town to the British Virgin Islands, the Philippines and ultimately ...

Trillions hidden in offshore accounts

July 8, 2012
By Lou Kilzer and Andrew Conte
More than half the world’s money passes almost undetected through a series of financial black holes that shelter it from not only the tax collector but from shareholders, partners and wives, a Tribune-Review investigation found. Once ...