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Offshore Banking

[Article Recovered from Hacked Autonomist]

It is obvious enough why independent individualists have an interest in offshore banks. Almost no significant financial activity of any kind, escapes the government's observation. It is not just transactions with banks, but with "dealers in precious metals, stones, or jewels; pawnbrokers; loan or finance companies; insurance companies; travel agencies; telegraph companies; sellers of vehicles, including automobiles, airplanes, and boats;" which all must report "suspicious" financial activity to the government. "Suspicious" means any transactions most people would prefer the government kept their nose out of.

[If you have nothing else to do, you can read details of the legal requirements for reporting your financial transactions to the government. Bank Secrecy Act/ Anti-Money Laundering]

The only way to prevent the government from observing your financial activity is to make all your transactions private and with individuals who share your view that what you do with your money is none of the government's business, or to perform all your significant transactions outside the jurisdiction of your government. The easiest way to do that is make those transactions with funds kept in an offshore bank.

There are lots of companies and agencies eager to help you set up offshore bank accounts, and will even help you to set up off-shore corporations, and other means of keeping you private finances private. Unfortunately, their help and advice, like all other businesses is frequently not very good, and sometimes downright fraudulent. As an independent individualist, however, much of what these companies do, you can and ought to do for yourself. You are the one person you know you can rely on and trust.

The Business of Offshore Business

I have not researched in detail all of these companies. Some of them probably are very useful. For some, willing to pay for their services and the convenience of having that kind of work done for them, so they can concentrate on other things, these may be a valuable resource. My comments are based on what is obvious and anyone can discover for themselves.

The first outfit I examined is World Offshore Banks. There may be sound reasons for offshore bank accounts other than privacy, and I have nothing to say about the soundness of any of these banks for other purposes, but most are larger banks, and most have a US presence, which means they almost certainly have a signed a Bank Secrecy Waiver Agreement, and that means there is no secrecy at all from any government that decides your account is of interest. Your financial privacy is obviously not the first priority of World Offshore Banks.

Who Runs These Things?

The Sovereign Society [now Banyan Hill] is an organization I've been familiar with for a long time, mostly because of the organization' chairman, John A. Pugsley, well known among investors and highly respected.

I was, therefore, disappointed to find some very bad advice on that site. I'm afraid most online sites have the same problems

Two Possible Exceptions

The following two sites are of possible value. They certainly offer a great deal of free information which is easily verified. The first is the Offshore Company, which, "establishes offshore corporations, LLCs, trusts, and Bank Accounts. They've been around since 1906.

The second is theNomad Capitalist, a consulting firm, advising on issues of legal offshore tax reduction, immigration and second passports, and global citizenship. They only consider six- and seven-figure entrepreneurs by advising them about offshore tax strategies, immigration, and investment strategies and how to implement them in their life and business.

There help is limited by the fact they, "only work with 100% legal strategies," and, "we will not assist in implementing strategies which violate the laws of any country."

The Free Individualist Way

I am not saying an independent individual will not buy or use any of the offshore business services, only that an independent individualist can do it on his own if he chooses to and is not dependent on any other individual or service. Fifteen years ago the research and contacts would be very tedious, but today's Internet makes it almost easy.

For example, here's a free database, for which you need no membership at any price, on every country in the world, the CIA World Fact Book. Suppose you examine some countries that interest you and decide you'd like to know more about Antigua and Barbuda. Select Antigua and Barbuda from the pull-down menu, and you are taken to a page with a map and more information than you'll ever be able to use, including: the kind of government it has, basic legal system, it's economy, communication systems, transportation, climate, and people. After you have looked at a few countries and found some of interest, (I'm sticking at the moment with Antigua and Barbuda) do a Goggle search on one of those countries.

Since I'm interested in banks, I typed in, "banks Antigua and Barbuda." I scrolled past the first few to Antigua & Barbuda - Banks, which happens to be the Caribbean Online Yellow Pages listing all 31 banks in Antigua and Barbuda with addresses and contact information for every location. Not satisfied I want back and did my search on Antigua and Barbuda, and selected Government of Antigua and Barbuda, on which are links to information on all their laws, businesses and banks. Though this Antigua and Barbuda Homepage is not about banks, it is lovely to look at. A bonus for doing your own research.

After examining their laws, I'm convinced Antigua and Barbuda banks are signatories of the Bank Secrecy Waiver Agreement, so I checked a few more countries from the CIA Fact Sheet, and noticed this comment at the end of its description of Dominica: "anti-money-laundering enforcement is weak, making the country particularly vulnerable to money laundering." They make "money-laundering" sound like some kind of disease or natural disaster. I doubt very much if either the island or the people are "vulnerable" or in any danger because there might be money laundering going on, except from the governments of those countries that do not like it.

Sounded promising to me so I looked up Dominica banks and found one very interesting one.

[NOTE: There was formerly one Griffon Bank Limited that was both offered free accounts; 24/7 Internet Banking; Personal and Corporate multicurrency Current Accounts; Savings Accounts; Offshore Company Incorporation; Term Deposits; Payment Cards; and Currency Exchange and absolute confidentiality. The United States government has been able to force even independent countries, like Dominica, to become tax stooges. Griffon Bank is no more.]

Non-banks

There are way to accomplish almost everything anyone might choose a bank to accomplish and almost all those way avoid the kind of Government scrutiny Banks are subject to. Just consider these: Shadow Banking System, Shadow banking system, and Non-bank financial institution