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Isn’t this just bullying?

You live and work in a country that is independent.  Fine.  You have no branches in a third party country, fine.  So said third party country thinks that because you did not obey its laws you have to pay a fine.

What?

Does any non-American have any idea what US laws are?  Outside of the high-profile nonsense of having your kids molested by goons at airports I hardly know one.  Yet it seems that the justice department (an Orwellian name if ever there was one) thinks otherwise.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20907359

If this principle of what we might call trans-national extra-mural law enforcement applies, where the hell does it end and how could anyone possibly follow laws of a country in which they do not reside?  Shall we deport Chinese who condemn their government back for re-adjustment?  What about Iranians who don’t much fancy paying income tax to the Mullahs?

Shame on the US gangsters who enforced this nonsense. Bigger shame on the Swiss authorities for not telling the Americans to go jump.  Incidentally Swiss government, why do you think everyone banks in Switzerland leading to your prosperity?

The only comfort I can take from this is that the Americans power to do malice will shrink significantly as their bankruptcy approaches.  Land of the free? Change the anthem boys you are tax serfs, nothing more.

8 Comments

  1. Tim Newman says:

    My thoughts exactly. I was very surprised they didn’t tell the US govt to fuck off, but I suspect that would have led to individuals being hounded, barred from entering the US or arrested on arrival, being added to terrorist lists, etc.

    I worked for a British company for a while which, a long time ago, had supplied asbestos (at a time when government regulations said it must be used in buildings). They were indicted as part of the huge US class-action lawsuits and faced enormous fines, but refused to recognise the judgement on the grounds that the company does not, and has never had, operations or offices in the US. They even got the House of Lords to rule in their favour. This caused a few problems when we came to contract negotiations with an American oil company, who wanted the court of arbitration to be in New York. Our company lawyers couldn’t accept us even recognising an American court, and instructed me not to sign. Our directors were unable to travel to the US as officers of the company, but were allowed to as private citizens. But that was 10 years ago, there is a good chance the IRS under the current climate is a lot more vindictive. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Swiss bankers were threatened with arrest in a 3rd country and deportation to the US unless they caved in.

    Either way, it’s a fucking joke.

  2. Lynne says:

    It’s an epidemic of hysterical panic is what it is. If they’d just stop and think it through, like Starbucks should have done, this bollocks could be stopped in its tracks.

  3. Simon Jester says:

    Didn’t the UK government extradite the senior executives of an online gambling firm to the USA a few years ago, despite the fact that online gambling is perfectly legal over here?

  4. GW says:

    Tax evasion and money laundering go hand in hand, and indeed, are often intertwined. Virtually every bank in the world interacts with the U.S. system, and consequently, agree to abide by U.S. banking laws regarding tax evasion and money laundering. So, no surprises at all on this one.

    I don’t know much about this particular case, but I do know a bit more about the HSBC case. By all rights, HSBC as an institution should have been barred from interacting with U.S. banks and those employees who knowingly engaged in billions of dollars of money laundering extradited. Neither happened, but only because HSBC is so large it would have sent tremors through the world financial system. It would have been a near fatal blow to HSBC, but it should have happened. FWIW – http://wolfhowling.blogspot.com/2012/12/scandalous-obama-administration-refuses.html

  5. John Galt says:

    Before I begin, the points that I am making are not a dig at Americans and certainly not at the commentariat of this blog (Julie near Chicago et al).

    The thing that really winds up Europeans is the fact that the US Government has attempted (and by and large succeeded) in putting itself forward as the worlds “Global Policeman”. Thus we are forced to abide by American laws even when we are not present or even have not visited the United States (e.g. Richard O’Dwyer, Gary McKinnon) or where activities undertaken entirely outside the US by non-US citizen (e.g. NatWest Three, Christopher Tappin) are not prosecuted by the UK prosecutorial authority, the Crown Prosecution Service.

    This is why many citizens of foreign countries are contemptuous of US national identity and patriotism as we feel we are being forced to comply with laws over which we have no control (as we are not part of the US demos) at the point of a gun.

    The spinelessness of UK courts handing over UK Citizens to American Department of Justice officials is beneath contempt and it is creating a wedge between Europe (particular the UK) and the United States where there should be genuine friendship and cooperation.

    This has reached such an extent (exacerbated by a cases publicised in the mainstream media) that plenty of Europeans are quite happy to see the United States circling the drain through combined military and economic failure in the hope that their extra-territorial demands can be curtailed.

    The United States was the pre-eminent country during the post-war era and despite problems (southern racism, McCarthyism, etc.) was a shining example of what freedom and prosperity could achieve.

    However, in 2013, many sovereign nations and their citizens are just sick and tired of the bully boys from US Department of State and US Department of Justice and just wish you would all fuck off and die so that we could be rid of you.

  6. Robert Edwards says:

    I got a heads-up on this matter earlier and I was astonished at this apparent ‘reach’ into a Sovereign country, leading to the disestablishment of an organization which is older than the United States itself.

    After all, I’m not even sure that the firm had a US banking license. A neat response would be to issue indictments, in every Canton, for the arrest and deportation of half of Wall Street for ‘Crimes against a Bank’; a very serious matter in Switzerland, whose banks were systematically defrauded over time by ‘certain Wall St. houses’.

    So, take away their Swiss banking licenses.

    But the matter of ‘sub-prime’ seems now to have disappeared altogether. No-one, despite the clear and obvious fraud carried out, has done any porridge, or been declared unfit to hold commercial office.

  7. Laird says:

    If it makes you feel any better, the US also insists that it has the right to tax its citizens on their earnings anywhere in the world, regardless of source and regardless of whether said citizen was even in the US at any time during the tax year. Expatriots who have lived abroad permanently for decades and earn all their income outside of the US are still taxed here. I believe it is the only major nation in the world to do this.

    And the US has aggressively pursued persons who are deemed “citizens” simply by virtue of having been born here, notwithstanding the fact that their parents were merely visiting and promptly returned to their home country where the person has spent his or her entire life. (I recently read about a young Canadian woman being so persecuted; she hasn’t been in the US since she was an infant and her parents have always been Canadian citizens, but the IRS wants back taxes on all of her lifetime earnings.) And of course you can’t simply renounce your US citizenship and walk away; you have to pay a hefty “exit fee” designed to replicate several years of anticipated taxes.

    A lot of us here agree with you that it’s all pretty disgusting (and embarrassing). But that can be said about a great number of things our government does.

  8. Paul Marks says:

    The oldest Swiss bank tried to stand against this sort of crap.

    It even issued a statement (years ago) that it would no longer do business in the United States – because American “laws” were arbitrary and despotic.

    That bank (Wegelin) was then (in revenge) systematically destroyed by the American government.

    With the active cooperation of the Swiss Central Bank (which should never have been created) and the Swiss government.

    As you know SAOT – modern banking is not about taking in REAL SAVINGS and lending them out (that is “old fashioned” – as old school as Wegelin).

    No modern banking is about taking money from the government Central Banks (which they create from NOTHING) and then building an inverted pyramid of debt upon this money, lending some of it back to the government (the government that create the fiat money in the first place).

    It is not a business – it is a farce.

    A criminal farce.

    And Swiss banking (UBS and other trash) are just as much a part of it as the British and American banks.

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