The Real Cypriot "Blueprint" - How To Confiscate $32 Trillion In "Offshore Wealth"

Tyler Durden's picture

The Cypriot deposit confiscation has come and gone (and in a parallel world in which the global Bernanke-put never existed and in which bank shareholders were not untouchable, this is precisely how real-time bank restructurings should have taken place), but fears remain that the country's "resolution" mechanism will be the template for future instances of "resolving" insolvent banks. That may or may not be the case: the only way to know for sure is during the next European bank bailout, but one thing is certain - Cyprus was certainly a template when it comes to how a world full of insolvent sovereigns (all engaged in currency warfare), where easing, quantitative or otherwise no longer works to boost the economy, will approach what is the last chance for monetary replenishment - taxation of financial assets, just as we warned first back in 2011. Specifically, Cyprus showed the "template" for confiscating Russian oligarch billionaire "ill-gotten", untaxed cash, which many in Germany demanded should be the quid for ongoing German-funded quo. And here's the rub. There is more where said "ill-gotten" cash has come from. Much more... $32 trillion more.

An estimate by James Henry, senior advisor of Tax Justice Network, confirms that the Cypriot confiscation template will certainly be used again and again for one, or 32 trillion simple reasons: the amount of illicit, off-shore held wealth, to which the proprietors have zero recourse in a world in which the war against tax evaders has gone both nuclear and global, has grown to stupendous levels. To wit: "A significant fraction of global private financial wealth -- by our estimates, at least $21 to $32 trillion as of 2010 -- has been invested virtually tax-­free through the world's still-­expanding black hole of more than 80 "offshore" secrecy jurisdictions."

It hardly needs mentioning that to a Europe mired in years of painful "austerity" (which is what Europe inaccurately blames its sordid, depressionary fate on when in reality it is merely reverting to a state that is justified by reality when an unsustainable decade-long credit bubble finally pops), "tax-free offshore wealth" is the purest possible code word for "confiscation-eligible."

Tying it all together, as a reminder a few days ago we noted that in the US alone there is a "high quality collateral" shortage of some $11 trillion. Extrapolating this to the entire world, the amount balloons to a little over $30 trillion.... or roughly the amount that is held in offshore tax shelters which may or may not be susceptible to confiscation. And while confiscated cash is hardly the collateral that banks need in order to preserve the illusion that a world rooted in repo and other shadow liabilities is stable, it will certainly extend and pretend the illusion for a little longer.

From this perspective, it becomes immediately obvious that the Russian oligarchs parking their cash in Cyprus were merely the Guniea Pigs, and the several billions or so confiscated (under the guise of bank resolution of course), will hardly be sufficient to fund Europe's coffers, where insolvent nations and banks have become synonymous, which is why any incremental capital deficiencies will be cured precisely using the Cypriot tax confiscation weath-redistribution template.

But even that is just the beginning. Because in the Tax Justice report we immediately read that...

Remember: this is just financial wealth. A big share of the real estate, yachts, racehorses, gold bricks -- and many other things that count as non-­financial wealth - are also owned via offshore structures where it is impossible to identify the owners. These are outside the scope of this report.


On this scale, this - offshore economy - is large enough to have a major impact on estimates of inequality of wealth and income; on estimates of national income and debt ratios; and - most importantly - to have very significant negative impacts on the domestic tax bases of key "source" countries (that is, countries that have seen net unrecorded private capital outflows over time.)

(yes, we underlined gold bricks - soon to be confiscated from a bank vault near you all to fund "bank resolution").

So for anyone who still hasn't gotten the memo, and understood that "offshore tax-haven" is now the most dangerous oxymoron in an insolvent world, here is the intro from the 2012 Tax Justice report which is a must read for everyone confused about Europe's confiscatory blueprint:

The 139-country focus group: who are the real debtors?


We have focused on a subgroup of 139 mainly low-­middle income "source" countries for which the World Bank and IMF have sufficient external debt data.


Our estimates for this group underscore how misleading it is to regard countries as "debtors" only by looking at one side of their balance sheets.


Since the 1970s, with eager (and often aggressive and illegal) assistance from the international private banking industry, it appears that private elites in this sub-­group of 139 countries had accumulated $7.3 to $9.3 trillion of unrecorded offshore wealth in 2010, conservatively estimated, even while many of their public sectors were borrowing themselves into bankruptcy, enduring agonizing "structural adjustment" and low growth, and holding fire sales of public assets.


These same source countries had aggregate gross external debt of $4.08 trillion in 2010. However, once we subtract these countries' foreign reserves, most of which are invested in First World securities, their aggregate net external debts were minus $2.8 trillion in 2010. (This dramatic picture has been increasing steadily since 1998, the year when the external debts minus foreign reserves was at its peak for these 139 countries, at +$1.43 trillion.


So in total, by way of the offshore system, these supposedly indebted "source countries" - including all key developing countries - are not debtors at all: they are net lenders, to the tune of $10.1 to $13.1 trillion at end-­2010.


The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments.


As a U.S. Federal Reserve official observed back in the 1980s: "The real problem is not that these countries don't have any assets. The problem is, they're all in Miami (and, he might have added, New York, London, Geneva, Zurich, Luxembourg, Singapore, and Hong Kong)"


These private unrecorded offshore assets and the public debts are intimately linked, historically speaking: the dramatic increase in  unrecorded capital outflows (and the private demand for First World currency and other assets) in the 1970s and 1980s was positively correlated with a surge in First World loans to developing countries: much of this borrowing left these countries under the table within months, and even weeks, of being disbursed.


Today, local elites continue to "vote with their financial feet" while their public sectors borrow heavily abroad - but it is First World countries that are doing most of the borrowing. It is these frequently heavily indebted source countries and their elites that have become their financiers. In terms of tackling poverty, it is hard to imagine a more pressing global issue to address.


How this wealth is concentrated. Much of this wealth appears to be concentrated in the hands of private elites that reside in a handful of source countries - many of which are still regarded officially as "debtors."


By our estimates, of the $7.3- $9.3 trillion of offshore wealth belonging to residents of these 139 countries, the top 10 countries  account for 61 percent and the top 20 for 81 percent. 


Untaxed Offshore Earnings start to swamp outflows. Our estimates also correct the sanguine view that since new outflows of capital appear to have recently declined from countries like Mexico and Brazil, capital flight is no longer a problem for these countries.


Once we take into account the growth of large untaxed earnings on accumulated offshore wealth, it turns out that from 1970 to 2010 the real value (in $2000) of these earnings alone may be has much as $3.7 trillion - equivalent to about 60 percent of the global total unrecorded capital outflows during this period. For Latin America, Sub-­Saharan Africa and the Middle East that have long histories of accumulating offshore wealth and unreported earnings abroad, the ratio is close to 100 percent or more.


By shifting attention from flows to accumulated stocks of foreign wealth, this paper calls attention to the fact that retention of  investment earnings abroad can easily become so significant that initial outflows are eventually replaced by "hidden flight," with the hidden stock of unrecorded private wealth generating enough unreported income to keep it growing long after the initial outflows have dried up. 


Offshore earnings swamp foreign investment. Another key finding is that once we fully account for capital outflows and the lost stream of future earnings on the associated offshore investments, foreign direct and equity investment flows are almost entirely offset - even for some of the world's largest recipients of foreign investment.


Wide open and "efficient" capital markets: how traditional theories failed. Standard development economics assumes that financial capital will flow predominantly from "capital-­rich" high-saving rich countries to "capital-­scarce" countries where returns on investment are higher.


But for many countries the global financial system seems to have enabled private investor motives - understandable ones like asset diversification along with less admirable ones like tax evasion -- to swamp the conventional theory. Reducing frictions in global finance, which was supposed to help capital flow in to capital-­starved developing countries more easily and efficiently, seems to have encouraged capital to flow out. This raises new questions about how "efficient" frictionless global capital markets are.


The active role of private banks. Our analysis refocuses attention on the critical, often unsavory role that global private banks play. A detailed analysis of the top 50 international private banks reveals that at the end of 2010 these 50 collectively managed more than $12.1 trillion in cross-border invested assets from private clients, including via trusts and foundations. Consider the role of smaller banks, investment houses, insurance companies, and non-bank intermediaries like hedge funds and independent money managers in the offshore cross-border market, plus self-managed funds, and this figure seems consistent with our overall offshore asset estimates of US$21-$32 trillion.


A disproportionate share of these assets were managed by major global banks that are well known for their role in the 2008 financial crisis, their generous government bailouts and bountiful executive compensation packages. We can now add this to their list of  distinctions: they are key players in many havens around the globe, and key enablers of the global tax injustice system.

It is interesting to note that despite choppy markets the rank order at the top of the private banking world has been remarkably stable - key recent trends have been for an increased role for independent boutique money managers and hedge funds, and a shift toward banks with a strong Asian presence. 


Offshore Investor Portfolios. Based on a simple model of offshore investor portfolio behavior, data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and interviews with private bankers and wealth industry analysts, this yields a "scale-­up" factor that is also consistent with the aggregate range for 2010 noted earlier.


A simple model, based on a combination of BIS data on cross-­border deposits and other asset holdings by "non-­bank" investors, an analysis of portfolio mix assumptions made by wealth industry analysts, and interviews with actual private banks, suggests an overall multiplier of 3.0 to scale up our cross-border deposits figure to total financial assets. This is very conservative.

And the punchline, or where the "template" was literally spelled out for anyone seeking:

New Revenue Sources for Global Needs. Finally, if we could figure out how to tax all this offshore wealth without killing the proverbial Golden Goose, or at least entice its owners to reinvest it back home, this sector of the global underground is also easily large enough to make a significant contribution to tax justice, investment, and paying the costs of global problems like climate change.

Guess what Cyprus was: Europe finally "figuring out" how to tax all this offshore wealth. So the only thing needed to reapportion even more offshore wealth - more "bank failures" whose "resolution" will represent precisely the "ethically-justified" basis for German popular consumption to confiscate the money which to some 99.9% of the population should not have been accumulated in the first place.

Or, to summarize all of the above: with the middle class now wiped and tapped out, the wealthy have finally turned on themselves!

Finally, for those who find themselves at the top of these two wealth pyramids, we suggest you panic:

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fonzannoon's picture

"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments. "

Is this the problem or desired outcome?  Also regarding Cyprus, I thought all the rich russians got their money out while the cypriot people got annihilated.

whotookmyalias's picture

LOL, the problem is that govt and banks are greedy bastards and they will villify anyone they can to help fund their inability to manage their affairs.

gmrpeabody's picture

Only as long as they won't get their head ripped off in return, so they go after the soft target..., and that winds up being ma and pa.

francis_sawyer's picture

Hey looky!... MOAR pyramids!...

Abraxas's picture

Where's the eye that's supposed to be on the top of the pyramid?

francis_sawyer's picture

you'll shoot your eye out kid!... [poor Ralphie could never face the facts]...

JohnGaltsChild's picture

No, but he did show a lot of interest in the lamp.

Scarlett's picture

James Henry, senior advisor of Tax Justice Network <-- let's just hope nothing bad happens to this great savior of the masses

Son of Loki's picture

"Why let all those 401(k)'s go to waste? Lets take them."



The 401's are perhaps the lowest lying fruit for the bankers to steal next.

Radical Marijuana's picture

"major global banks ... are key players in many havens around the globe, and key enablers of the global tax injustice system"

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Actually, the real question (for the enterprising and thinking man) is:  How do you access all those hundreds of $Trillions in Derivatives, and convert them into money -- to buy up half the planet (with worthless paper confetti)?

/ Hey, glass beads & shiny crap worked on the Natives -- it got them Long Island!  I'll bet that people who are Doing God's Work, have been working on this one for years, if not centuries. /s

Rubbish's picture

If I fall out of the 2nd tier of wealth, I"M GOING FULL RETARD

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Tyler is mixing up two different kinds of 'financial assets' and saying some very shocking, morally wrong and outrageous things, such as this at the top of Tyler's article:

« The Cypriot deposit confiscation has come and gone ... this is precisely how real-time bank restructurings should have taken place ... »

My God, NO!

The Cyprus deposit confiscations hit a lot of real people and small businesses ... wiped them out and destroyed them.

There is indeed a good moral argument for going after the offshore trillions of traitors and oligarchs who robbed and stole from their people ...

But that is way different from stealing the savings and funds of small businesses and middle-class people who have a few hundred thou saved for themselves and family, or temporarily in their business account cash flow.

ParkAveFlasher's picture

To your point, the US Government has not moved against Apple, for example, for retaining earning offshore or for any such setting up of its distribution channels to keep gains offshore.  Why not? Why go after Joe Two-Million DollarGuy when hundreds of billions in tax-free earnings ripe for the taxing are languishing in orbit?

Scarlett's picture

the problem isn't taxes, the problem is that the beast is too big, the beast must retreat

Radical Marijuana's picture

bank guy in Brussels, the most vulnerable always get hurt the worst!

Here is a high quality, information dense, video on Cyprus 2007-2012

Cyprus crisis:

The road to the March Eurogroup

It is about 12 minutes long ...

I watched it 3 times to get the

rate of change over 5 years!

BigJim's picture

 ...The Cyprus deposit confiscations hit a lot of real people and small businesses ... wiped them out and destroyed them.

How can you call yourself 'bank guy' when you appear to have no understanding of banking? 

    The Cyprus deposit ...

There were no deposits. Deposit banking died out with the arrival of central banks. We have loan banking - the 'depositors' 'deposits' were unsecured loans to banks.

     ...confiscations ...

the money wasn't 'confiscated' - it was already gone. If the foreigners hadn't (partially) bailed the Cypriots out they would have wound up with even less.

    ...hit a lot of real people and small businesses ... wiped them out and destroyed them. 

Well, that's what happens when you make bets by becoming an unsecured creditor of a highly-leveraged institution belonging to a system run by corrupt/idiotic bureaucrats - you stand to lose your gambling money.

"But they didn't realise they were unsecured creditors" I can hear you cry. Frankly, ANYONE who didn't study the basics of banking - after all the hoo-hah of 2007/2008 - was being negligent. Tyler is absolutely right - no banks should ever be bailed out, EVER, and the losses should fall on the shoulders of those who invested in them... and that includes the depositors.

Lost Word's picture

Deposit insurance to encourage more money to leverage.

BigJim's picture


But when your government is the only 'backing' behind banks that have liabilities far in excess any amount your government can cover, you shouldn't be leaving your money in local banks.

GreatUncle's picture

If a bank fails top level now the CEO and those at the highest level should have their worth confiscated to pay towards the debt first, depositers second.

Nice job banking, run a faudulent business, rack up loads of debt and take big bonuses then when it all goes tits up you walk away with your ill gotten gains.

Can see a career in that, a lifelong one along the lines a criminal robs a bank goes to jail then when they get out get to keep what they stole.

BigJim's picture

This should apply to all companies, not just banking.

Limited liability is a fraud's charter. 

Burt Gummer's picture

Where's the elevator to the top of this thing anyway?

TheMadNumismatist's picture

I cannot let this article pass because The Tax Justice Network are a bunch of left wing, union funded loons that make up numbers out of the air.

See here for a more robust parsing of their insane claims by a fellow of the Adam Smith institute; They really are fantastic:

And they have their own category:

kentmills's picture

"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments"

When did the wealth of individuals become the assets of these countries?

BigJim's picture

It's called Statism... the basic concepts of which have been around for some time, I believe.

defencev's picture

When did the wealth of individuals become the assets of these countries?

This is a very good point. The debt of developed world is mostly what they pay for their health care systems. The "growing gap"

in income is mostly because that ,say, US corporations derive their income overseas. In other words, why poor worker in Bangladesh should be responsible for high wages and benefits of unproductive American counterparts? More productive people try to secure their earnings in any way they can, including using offshore structures. All these whining about growing inequality, elites, masons,Jews etc. is just reflection of growing number of morons who are worthless, stupid, unproductive jerks wishing to confiscate whatever they can from more productive compatriots or even poor workers in places like Bangladesh.


bonin006's picture

"I thought all the rich russians got their money out while the cypriot people got annihilated."

Since the Russians don't seem to be complaining much anymore, that seems the most likely case, but the Eurocrats will go on lying about it, claiming they punished the "evil" Russians to save the little guys.

Buck Johnson's picture

Yes the Russians did via using a branch that was located in Russia that wasn't closed.  It was done on purpose even by the Russian workers themselves and if not done by Cypriots they would have been threatened.  Do you aka bank manager really want to tell some Russian billionaire or big money man that we won't allow your money out.  Either you get threatened or killed, or you accept the money they give you enough to do it and then quit your job.  Also they are correct, the wealthy are feeding on each other.  This usually is a sign of the end is near.

tarsubil's picture

I'm looking at a dollar bill. Why is the top of the pyramid seperated from the rest and have an eye?

Urban Redneck's picture

The view from that all-seeing eye thingy is so cool...  It can see the twelve largest disciples of Mammon each with a USB thumb drive gathering at the BIS and literally shoving ALL the world's (including your) monetary wealth wealth up their collective asses.  Outside of M0, money ONLY exists on servers of the core central banks- IT NEVER GOES ANYWHERE.  If you "deposit" a million dollars with JPM- there is an electronic record at JPM that they owe you a million dollars (which is an utterly worthless record if they Corzine you), but that million dollars actually resides as a JPM credit on an FRBNY server- and NOWHERE ELSE (after being deducted from another member bank's account on the same server).  If you deposit a million dollars with a bank in the British Virgin Islands, that money still ONLY resides on an FRBxx server.  There are probably a few more "intermediate" inter-bank debits and credits between "you" and "your money" since the whole purpose is to navigating around the US tax man - but that money still ONLY exists on a US Federal Reserve server.  Watching politicians up-end couch cushions, entire countries, and the Rule of Law in a counter-productive search for spare change, when all they have to do is reach up Bernanke's ass is hilarious.  But they don't have the balls to do that, and Jamie Dimon is probably laughing his ass off at their naivete...

enloe creek's picture

so what server are my  stackables on


Urban Redneck's picture

Barbarous relics (and any thing else that can't be entirely controlled by FED and its member banks) isn't part of the money supply illusion. 

Great little trick the devil implemented between '33, '71, and whenever AlGo invented the BanksterNet.

duo's picture

Al Gore is at the top of the brick part of the pyramid.

BLOTTO's picture

Masonic symbol for the all-seeing eye of god - an mystical distortion. A universal symbol representing spiritual sight, inner vision, higher knowledge, insight into occult mysteries


Lucifer the light bearer, the illuminated one.



Just because its '2013' doesnt mean ancient things are obselete and not ruling - on the contraire ...'they' have been ruling since day 1. And nothing has changed, their is nothing new under the sun.

BLOTTO's picture

When the most influential - most powerful people on the planet...visit the same small ancient region that has been violent, political, historical, etc...since we were born and going back 1,000s of know something is up...


You just dont kiss and talk to walls for nothing...Bush, Clinton, Pope JP#2, Obama, Sarkozy, etc...


GOSPLAN HERO's picture

In my Masonic Lodge, we raise money for an orphanage, a childrens' hospital, and others in need.

... truly evil stuff.

BLOTTO's picture

...Along with worshipping stone pillars that have names like Boaz and Jachin.


...Chanting ancient eygptian jargon that you have no idea what you are reciting.


Going thru different occult initiations to progess up thru the different having a noose tied around your neck...


Not being able to disclose practices and teachings to the non fellow craft...etc...


'We do not recommend discussing the connections between Satanism and Freemasonry with a Mason, in an attempt to lead him from the lodge. 

You will not be given a good hearing. 

The conversation will likely end before you have documented the connections.   Most Masons are not aware of the connection and will be offended by your approach.   We present this material here, that you might know that this is a spiritual battle.'


Yes indeed...A spiritual battle...

Aurora Ex Machina's picture

You can worship a bird-man and have statues with important eyes and still die out, by the way. This idea of Good<>Evil dualism is culturally specific and parochial; Try Kusala and akusala for instance; they're much closer to the Greek use of Arete than "Good" and "Evil". Of course, this isn't to say that people haven't used said symbols to justify wiping out the Other, but to claim it's a universal spiritual war is ignoring the fact of how it became the dominant mysticism. 


You know, wiping out all those cultures who didn't share said beliefs and all.


(If you buy into it, you're merely making it worse. Go read some Spinoza sometime, it'll do you good.)



All this nonsense ignores the fact that the core dualism (good-evil) within Egyptian beliefs was between Re and Apep not Horus, ffs. Silly people getting their basics wrong is always a sign of wurble wurble land. Amgawd, The "Illuminati" are using the wrong damn symbol! You'll also notice Apep is a damn snake, which suggests someone was stealing their mythology from them, nudge nudge wink wink. Unless Judaism and Christianity and Islam are actually Egyptian theology in disguise! (O M G)

Look up where Christmas, Easter and so on came from, this conspiracy is MASSIVE.


Hint: appropriating prior beliefs to weaken them & acclimatize converts is hardly new. I dare you to look into how Jesus became a super-warrior figure to the Germanic pagans just to compete btw. Here's Jesus in full chain mail #christianheavymetal.

Lost Word's picture

In the Old Testament, the Kings of Israel and Judah were warrior kings.

After the Old Testament times, Herod, King of Judaea, was a warrior king.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus is a warrior king, so that image was not first created for Germans, or by German warrior kings such as Charlemagne.

Aurora Ex Machina's picture

The riding the donkey is a direct challenge to the then prevailing mythology that Kings rode horses, if you want to do the Biblical scholarship stuff. The Bible is very specific in showing that he wasn't claiming to be an earthly King. (Whether or not that's later propaganda so that the Power of Rome wasn't threatened by the new religion is a different matter, of course).


Oh, and Herod was a puppet-vassal of Rome, not a warrior. Rome kicked the shit out of them a few times [AD70 for example].

Lost Word's picture

If you read Josephus, Herod was a vassal allied with Rome, and a warrior king who fought for the Romans, with Marc Antony and later Octavian, and Herod fought for Herod's own kingdom, with Roman assistance to its ally.

The Jews lost to the Romans partly because of Jewish civil war among themselves.

Gospels were first, Revelation second, and the second version prophecy has Jesus the Messiah or Christ winning the battle of Armegeddon, which is usually interpreted as an "Earthly" battle, not a heavenly or spiritual battle.

Christian history is filled with Christian kings fighting Earthly battles, supposedly for the kingdom of God.

Crusades, etcetera.

Aurora Ex Machina's picture

I'll concede that one about Josephus. The idea that the Jewish state wouldn't have lost if they'd not had a civil war is a bit of a stretch though - it might have taken longer, that's all. The massive Jewish revolts in the 110's onwards (three major ones if I remember rightly) were all swiftly put down (and brutally).

Oh: I don't doubt that Christianity has had an extremely martial element to it throughout it's history, the point was a simple one: Jesus is dressed up as a Germanic warrior / noble.


It's an early form of branding & PR, to sell the religion in that country.

DosZap's picture

Look up where Christmas, Easter and so on came from, this conspiracy is MASSIVE.

Most knowledgable Christians know this, and do not accept the Idolatry, evil they represented.Like Halloween, was All Saints Day, until co-opted by the occultic crowd, and done the same way.

The names, and historicity of the pagan days, and mythical goddesses,fertility worship, mean nothing to REAL Chrisitians.


Aurora Ex Machina's picture

That's fine, and entirely your choice, but by this logic, the Devil-as-serpent in the garden of Eden is also idolatry. Since it was stolen, directly, from Egyptian mythology and the Jewish culture had direct, historically provable, contact with Egypt. (You'll be wanting to read up on Apep)


Can't have your cake both ways dear.

noless's picture

Christianity came before people recognized the seasonal aberrations of the moon?

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

"In my Masonic Lodge, we raise money for an orphanage, a childrens' hospital, and others in need."

Ever hear of a wolf in sheeps clothing? Congratulations for helping put sheep's clothes on the wolf.