Adonis Diaries

Archive for April 8th, 2016

Explaining offshore banking to a 5 year old

With the release of the Panama Papers, revelations about the murky world of offshore banking are coming thick and fast. But how do you explain it all simply? And how do you explain that there are sometimes good reasons for using offshore banking?

Reddit user DanGliesack came up with a great way of conveying the complexity in a lovely tale aimed at those who are five years old, and perhaps those a little bit older too

How to Explaining offshore banking to a 5 year old
One Reddit user found a brilliant way using piggy banks, wardrobes and an angry mum to explain the Panama Papers, and when it is naughty to use offshore banking|By Martin Belam
An illustration of a boy and his mum

When you get your pocket money, you put it in a piggy bank. The piggy bank is on a shelf in your wardrobe.

Your mum knows this, and she checks on it every once in a while, so that she knows when you put more money in or spend it.

An illustration of a boy and his secret piggy bank

Now one day, you might decide “I don’t want mum to look at my money”. So you go over to Johnny’s house with an extra piggy bank that you’re going to keep in his room.

You write your name on it and put it in his wardrobe. Johnny’s mum is always very busy so never checks on his piggy bank. You can keep yours there and it will stay a secret.

An illustration of lots of piggy banks

All the kids in the area think this is a good idea, and everyone goes to Johnny’s house with extra piggy banks. Now Johnny’s wardrobe is full of piggy banks from kids in the neighbourhood.

One day though, Johnny’s mum does look in the wardrobe and sees all the piggy banks. She gets very angry and calls everyone’s parents to let them know.

An illustration of an angry mum with Johnny

Now not everyone did this for a bad reason.

Eric’s older brother always steals from his piggy bank, so he just wanted a better hiding spot.

Tammy wanted to save up to buy her mum a birthday present without her knowing.

Azim just did it because he thought it was fun.

An illustration of three naughty children

But many kids did do it for a bad reason.

Elizabeth was stealing people’s lunch money and didn’t want her parents to figure it out.

Rhys was stealing money from his mum’s purse.

And Bobby’s parents have put him on a diet, and he didn’t want them to figure out when he was buying sweets.

Now in real life, many very important people were just caught hiding their piggy banks at Johnny’s house in Panama.

Their mums have all found out. Pretty soon, we’ll know more about which of these important people were doing it for bad reasons and which were doing it for good reasons. But almost everyone is in trouble regardless.

An illustration of some naughty men in real life

It’s a great analogy.

What is particularly useful is the point at the end, that not everybody has a bad reason for hiding their money this way.

As part of its coverage of the Panama Papers, Fusion have produced a handy list of reasons you might use a shell corporation offshore.

Some legitimate reasons might be:

  • To keep trade secrets – preventing competitors spotting that you are investing in the materials to manufacture a new product line.
  • To stop yourself being ripped off – service suppliers like hotels or catering might try and charge a premium if they know they are dealing with a big name company or celebrity.
  • To keep yourself safe – if you are supplying services like translation to foreign military and diplomats in a warzone, it might be advisable to keep that untraceable.

Some less legitimate looking reasons might be:

We’re not sure how you explain those things to a five-year-old though. Maybe just stick with the piggy bank bit.

With thanks to DanGliesack whose Reddit comment we have adapted, and the Fusion Investigative Unit which produced the shell corporation graphic. Panama Papers reporting team: Juliette Garside, Luke Harding, Holly Watt, David Pegg, Helena Bengtsson, Simon Bowers, Owen Gibson and Nick Hopkins.

Note: Panama papers? The indirect financial gimmick for the US multinational financial conglomerates to siphon in all the wealth of the world into the US financial treasury. The Rothschild conglomerate is the top of the pyramid and control how money should be distributed and deposited.

One of the batch of the Panama financial leaks will most probably list these figures

The first batch of names are:

  1. Bassam Yammine, a former minister assigned by the potential new President of Lebanon Suleiman Frangiyyeh
  2. Hind Nabih Berry: Daughter of Chairman of the Parliament for 26 consecutive years
  3. Nader Hariri: Brother of Sa3d Hariri, former PM and political successor of his late father Rafic Hariri
  4. Tarek Sami Nahass: a member of the board director of the Hariri clan
  5. Maysara Sokkar: general manager of Sukleen and Sukomi (waste disposal)
  6. Wael Fouad Seniora: Son of former PM Fouad Seniora
  7. Houda Abdel Basset Seniora: wife of Fouad Seniora PM
  8. Walid Dawook: Relative of Adnan Kassar and appointed minister by former PM Mikati PM
  9. Riad Salameh: Chairman of the Central Bank for 20 successive years

Note: Iceland President submitted his resignation after he was listed in the leaks

Ghassan Saoud posted 

هيك هيك الدنيّ ضاجة بوثائق باناما وكتير عالم ما شافوا كتاب “الحاكم بأمر المال” أو شافوه وما عنالهم.. هاتوا نخبركم القليل:

بسام يمين – وزير سليمان فرنجية السابق الذي هو عضو مجلس إدارة في كريدي سويس (لبنان) فينانس ورئيس مجلس إدارة إهدن كامبيغ العقارية يرأس مجلس إدارة Novi Orbis Development التي يشير سجلها التجاري إلى أن أبرز المساهمين فيها هي شركة Goldan sands invest المسجلة في جزر بريطانيا العذراء.

هند نبيه بري هي عضو مجلس إدارة في شركة KIDZ INVESTMENTS HOLDING التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها علي كزما، وأبرز المساهمين في هذه الشركة هم رانيا نعمة الله أبي نصر وشركة Kids Edutainment Park التي تضم ثلاثة أعضاء مجلس إدارة بارزين هم: ابراهيم عازار نجل النائب السابق سمير عازار، رجل الأعمال السعودي محمد ضحيان بن عبد العزيز الضحيان، شركة RB VENTURES INTERNATIONAL المسجلة في «جزر بريطانيا العذراء».

نادر الحريري – مستشار سعد الحريري
مساهم في شركة Millennium Real Estate Holding التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها الأمين العام المساعد للشؤون المالية والإدارية في تيار المستقبل وليد سبع أعين. وسبع أعين هو مؤسس شركة CELLCAST HOLDING التي آلت كل أسهمها لشركة «بنبيت انترناشونال ليمتد المسجلة في جزيرة في المحيط الهندي اسمها جمهورية السيشل.

طارق سامي نحاس – عضو مجلس إدارة «ميلانيوم» التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها نادر الحريري هو: عضو مجلس إدارة في شركة مونو بلازا هولدينغ التي يعتبر صندوق الشرق الاوسط للاستثمار العقاري المساهم الأكبر فيها، والأخير مسجل في «جزر بريطانيا العذراء». وهو مساهم وعضو مجلس إدارة في شركة منارة كابيتال العقارية التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها حازم مفيد الفرا. علماً أن المساهم الرئيسي فيها وفقاً للسجل التجاري هو شركة PRIMAVERA HOLDINGS المسجلة في جزر الكايمن. وهو محامي شركة قنطاري 2259 التي يرأس مجلس إدارتها مروان فخري دلول، علماً أن المساهم الرئيسي فيها وفق السجل التجاري هي شركة kantari residence limited المسجلة في جزر بريطانيا العذراء.

ميسرة سكر – سوكلين وسوكومي – هو رئيس مجلس إدارة ليدز انترناشيونال، والمساهم الرئيسي فيها هي شركة AVERDA INTERNATIONAL LIMITED المسجلة في جزر بريطانيا العذراء.

وائل فؤاد السنيورة
مساهم رئيسي وعضو مجلس إدارة في شركة «لوسيد انفستمنت كوربوريشن». لوسيد شريكة رئيسية لشركة KABABJI INVESTMENT COMPANY في تملك وإدارة شركة كبابجي (هولدنغ). وKABABJI INVESTMENT COMPANY مسجلة في جزر الكايمن.

هدى عبد الباسط السنيورة – زوجة فؤاد السنيورة
رئيسة مجلس إدارة «الأمل هولدنغ». والأمل هولدينغ مساهمة في شركة فردان 1341 العقارية، والمساهمة الرئيسية معها هي شركة«فينيسيا انترناشيونال هولدنغ» أما المساهم شبه الوحيد في الأخيرة فهو شركة «فينيسيا انتربرايزس» المسجلة في بنما.

وليد الداعوق – الوزير الميقاتي السابق وصهر الوزير السابق عدنان القصار (فرنسبنك)
ساهم وعضو مجلس إدارة في شركة M1 REAL ESTATE LEBANON التي تعتبر M1 REAL ESTATE INTERNATIONAL المساهمة الأكبر فيها، وهي مسجلة في»جزر بريطانيا العذراء».

غسان سعود – رولا ابراهيم

The domestic worker and the security officer at the airport

Mario Ramadan shared his post. Yesterday at 4:50pm ·

On exiting the airport of Beirut, i saw a domestic worker holding the hand of a member of the General Security and begging him that she does not want to get into the car with the other Lebanese woman.

The General Security member (who is supposed to be doing his job) tried to force her into the car without making a scene, instead of investigating the scenario with the woman.

The domestic worker tried to run away from this woman but the Lebanese woman grabbed her in the hair and started beating her.

I shouted at the woman to stop, she stopped and a lot of people came to the scene. The ISF started talking to her and then the woman started screaming, grabbed the domestic worker in her hair and tried to put her in the car.

At this moment, I took a shot of the incident to send it to a journalist friend and took the number of the car.

Someone reported the fact that I took a photo of this Lebanese woman beating up the domestic worker, and an ISF thug confiscated my phone, deleted my phone images, and threatened to fine me.

I started arguing with him, on how he did not separate the woman from beating the domestic worker, and his response was that: “ما فيني دق بمرا”. (I cannot touch a woman)
The ISF member thinks that this “ما فيني دق بمرا” is a “legit” response for not arresting a woman who was beating another woman from a different nationality.

I hope he fucking remembers that when he arrests or throws smoke and flash grenades on women protesting for their legitimate rights. He also kept on arguing with me that he is doing his job and that I shouldn’t teach him how to do his job.

The car plate number that the domestic worker was being forced into was 499783 G.

Spread and share this. The woman who was beating this woman up should be indicted in the court of law.

Sahar Saba commented:

My friend experienced a similar incident a couple of years ago. He filmed a man beat up a woman as the ISF watched and did nothing.

Then he was arrested and interrogated. His phone was confiscated and the movie was deleted as it “violated airport security laws.” He was also fined.

His lawyer recommended that he pays the fine and let it go as it turned out that the woman-beater was some big shot (with a big “wasta”) #OnlyInLebanon

Note: The owner of the car with the number you mentioned could be: Nour Mohamad Khafaja

A few Rationality surveys on a few issues

When Grandmas ask “What is Rationality?”

It’s quickly becoming a futile and a miserable life in Lebanon:  Few claim to wanting to stay

One out of 4 Lebanese live under $9 a day. And public facilities are nil.

From the window of his childhood home in the southern suburbs of Beirut, Mohammad Safwan gazed at a Mediterranean that two weeks earlier had claimed the lives of his father, mother, three sisters and sister-in-law.

The last froze to death in the sea a month before she was due to give birth.

“That is what God decreed. What will we gain if we weep and weep and weep?” asked Safwan. “But I hate the sight of the sea now.”

That hatred is not shared by everyone. In Lebanon’s northern capital, Tripoli, a colourful local singer in the city’s Mina district smiled as he played a WhatsApp voice message from his four-year-old granddaughter, who had arrived that morning on a Greek island.

“Grandad, I miss you! The water came over me and I threw up! The water came into the boat,” the girl said excitedly. “Tell grandad goodbye, sweetheart,” her father could be heard saying in the background.

These are Lebanese families, not Syrians, but they are also now braving the high seas in the thousands in a phenomenon that local officials predict will only grow this year.

Twenty-five years after the end of Lebanon’s civil war and the mass migration it sparked to the west, Latin America and Africa, Lebanon’s youth are fleeing once again. Their movement is now fuelled by endemic corruption, political dysfunction and rising unemployment, inequality and poverty.

A facade of stability has so far spared this tiny Levantine nation with 18 official sects the upheaval that has destroyed other countries in the Middle East and redrawn the region’s borders.

“I’m very happy my son is in Europe,” said a driver from Tripoli, whose son travelled to Greece by boat and ultimately reached Sweden after a two-week journey. “Maybe if he gets citizenship he can take us to him. What do we have to keep us here? There are many stories like this. Nobody wants to stay in Lebanon. It’s a miserable life.”

Interviews with relatives, travel agents and local officials outlined the paths that Lebanese migrants take in order to reach Europe – and the reasons why they seek out the perilous journey in the first place. It is unclear how they will be affected by a recent deal struck between Turkey and the EU to return refugees who fled the war in Syria.

The interviews were conducted prior to the signing of the deal.

Most Lebanese tend to first travel to Turkey legally by ferry or plane from Tripoli and Beirut as they do not require visas. They then connect with local smugglers in port cities such as Izmir, sometimes paying for a forged Syrian passport, and then paying $1,000-$2,000 to take small boats to the nearest Greek island, before jumping out a short distance away and swimming to shore.

They then make their way to Athens and onwards to Germany or Sweden along established refugee trails, often by train or walking. Palestinians from both Lebanon and Syria often attempt a direct route from Tripoli to Europe, since they have greater difficulties obtaining visas to Turkey, and are often arrested by local authorities, though Palestinian officials here say thousands have died at sea.

The fact that so many are fleeing from a country that has been largely spared the region’s traumatic disintegration is widely seen as an indictment of Lebanon’s political class, which has achieved almost tragicomic levels of dysfunction.

The country has been without a president since May of last year, as rival factions backed by regional heavyweights Iran and Saudi Arabia failed to agree on a consensus candidate, another symptom of what many see as a regional cold war.

Parliament has extended its own term twice, forgoing elections amid a political vacuum in a process that has tested Lebanon’s claim to being a democracy.

The leader of the Saudi-backed and mostly Sunni Future Movement is under self-imposed exile for supposedly security reasons, while the Iranian-backed Hezbollah essentially sets Lebanon’s defence and foreign policy, having intervened in the Syrian quagmire alongside President Bashar al-Assad, saving his regime from collapse and prolonging the civil war.

Amid the vacuum, the government has failed to deal with key issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis – displaced Syrians have no camps and now represent one in five people in Lebanon, bringing the country near its previously projected population levels for 2050.

The authorities even failed for 6 months to collect garbage in a dispute over new landfills. (Reverted to their old waste locations once the mafia leaders agreed on their ratio of plundering the public and municipal funds)

“The reasons are obvious: unemployment and poverty which has prompted people to migrate on this road of death,” said Abdullah al-Bakka, a mokhtar or local mayor in Tripoli, who said 2,000 people in his own district alone had left between August and October. “But people we’ve asked say to us: we might as well be dead here, too.

“It’s dereliction of duty by the state and the political leaders,” he added. “They don’t provide the people with enough because they want them to remain servants begging at their doorsteps. This is Lebanon: the politicians will never serve the people they are supposed to be representing.”

Tripoli is especially hard-hit – long neglect by the state has left Lebanon’s northern areas poverty-stricken, compounding the breakdown in infrastructure and the periodic stints of violence linked to the Syrian war. Despite being chastened by the deaths at sea, especially by the widely reported news of the death of Safwan’s family, many are still attempting the journey.

“We have a lot of demand,” said the manager of a local travel agency in Tripoli. “They are giving us whatever money they have and telling us to just get them out of here.”

In the late summer and early autumn, the travel agent said ferries carrying about 400 travellers, both Lebanese and Syrian, were leaving six days a week from Tripoli’s port.

The numbers have dropped to three per week with the onset of winter, but he expects them to pick up again in the spring. “Nobody comes back,” he said.

“By spring, the migration will increase exponentially,” said Bakka, the local mayor, who estimates overall unemployment among Tripoli’s youth at over 50%. “But honestly, even I want to follow them with my family. It is unbearable.”

But one person who has decided not to brave the high seas is Safwan. “What reaction can you have when you lose your entire family in a single moment?” he said, sitting by the window overlooking the water. “We were born here and grew up here, and they went and died in the sea. The house is empty.”




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