Guest Post: US Citizens Pay Attention To This

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Simon Black from Sovereign Man

US Citizens Pay Attention To This

I was sitting across from an impossibly blonde account executive this afternoon when I heard three words I never thought I’d hear at a foreign bank.

“Are you Greek,” she asked me with a bit of a smile…

me: “Uh, no. I have a US passport, among others…”

she: “OK good, as long as you’re not Greek.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Let me explain.

As you may know, US citizens have long been the world’s banking pariah thanks to a piece of remarkably stupid legislation called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

FATCA was passed a few years ago as part of a greater US government effort to create jobs. And boy was it successful– thousands of new jobs were created as a result of the legislation. Unfortunately, most of the new jobs are for tax collectors.

In short, FATCA requires EVERY BANK IN THE WORLD to sign an information-sharing agreement with the IRS. No matter what. Even the tiniest bank in Bhutan that has never seen a foreigner walk through its doors has to jump in bed with the IRS.

What’s more, if banks don’t comply (or even know about the law), the US government will severely penalize them with a 30% withholding tax on most funds routed through the US.

This stunning arrogance is a key reason why US citizens have been turned away from so many foreign banks over the past few years; banks simply didn’t want to deal with Uncle Sam. From Panama to Singapore to Switzerland, US citizens have been shut out of many banks.

But after years of this trend building, I’m starting to see signs of it breaking. FATCA initially sent shockwaves through the worldwide banking industry, and after years of lobbying their own governments, a compromise appears to have been reached.

The new model is that governments are inking information-sharing agreements directly with each other. In other words, foreign banks will send information to their governments, and the governments will share information with other governments.

This approach gets banks off the hook from having to deal with Uncle Sam, yet it still fulfills the original spirit of FATCA: destroy financial privacy. Mission Accomplished.

The good news is that a lot more foreign banks are receptive to having US customers. Which brings me back to my experience today in Norway.

The banker didn’t care that I have a US passport. US customers are OK once again, it’s now Greek customers who are the banking pariah du jour.

You may recall from our previous discussions that the Greek government has taken the liberty of confiscating funds directly from people’s bank accounts at will. If they decide (in their sole discretion) that you might be a tax cheat, they take your money. No questions asked.

Naturally, many Greeks are now desperately trying to move their funds abroad. Unfortunately for them, some banks just don’t want to be caught in the middle of this feud.

The result? Many banks are starting to turn away Greek customers or mandate large initial deposit requirements in excess of 500,000 euros.

It’s a classic example of what happens when people wait too long. Some folks took action early and are sleeping well. Others saw the writing on the wall and did nothing. They waited until the tax authorities were en route to even begin thinking about ways to protect their savings.

History shows that bankrupt governments routinely resort to plundering their citizens’ wealth to keep the party going.

Bottom line, if your government is insolvent, your savings are at risk. And opening a foreign bank account is one of the most important things you can do for your savings. Greeks are starting to figure this out the hard way.

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taraxias's picture

Tylers stop posting this mug's science fiction for fuck sakes.

Pladizow's picture


Then we dont have to read your stupid comments!

iDealMeat's picture

+1,  I got as far as:  Submitted by Simon Black from..


and stopped.. 

francis_sawyer's picture

It's like getting RICKROLLED...


Simon Black Guest Post =

FEDbuster's picture

Attn. Greeks looking to find safe haven for their money (btw banks aren't a safe haven).  $100K = about 4 lbs. of gold, so unless you are multi-millionaire.....

nope-1004's picture

Norway?  WTF is in Norway that is so important?  And for that matter, Chili, Argentina, Switzerland, Peru, Singapore, Thailand, or Ecuador?  I fail to see why dropping every location you find on a map in every article makes your prognositcations more valid.


Doña K's picture

There is a solution to this problem. Get another passport if you don't have one already. The rest is noise

Popo's picture

Simon Black = pure fiction.

The purpose of his posts is solely to portray Simon as an international man of mystery,  instead of a blogger with back pack and a netbook.

He's a pathological liar.  And it's painfully obvious.

Tyler:  Please put author's names on the home page so that we can at least choose to avoid this loser.

Neethgie's picture

i cannot believe i keep getting SB'd its so infuriating, he reminds me of the guy from spitting image (old uk show)

I've travelled this old world of ours from Barnsley to Peru I've had sunshine in the arctic and a swim in Tinbuktu I've seen unicorns in Burma and a Yetti in Nepal And I've danced with ten foot pygmies in a Montezuma hall I've met the King of China and a working Yorkshire miner But I've never met a nice South African.

reminds me of the soveriegn man article so badly.. constant hollow brags, its like "are you greek" Why the fuck would someone ask you that simon? why on earth would someone who is opening a bank account with the name SIMON BLACK be asked that? its hardly george papandreou is it. its pure fiction i keep accidentally reading.

Imminent Crucible's picture

"opening a bank account with the name SIMON BLACK"

If you've never seen his site, he tells you up front that Simon Black is not his real name, for obvious reasons. So he wasn't opening a bank account with the name Simon Black, but with his real name, which is Warburg. Or Feinstein. Or Blankfein, or something.

Most likely she asked him "Are you Greek?" before he had a chance to say, "I'm the world famous traveler Simon Blakopolous."

His last three sentences justify the rest of the article. He's not writing fiction.

Neethgie's picture

has he ever met a nice south african though?



terryfuckwit's picture

i read without noting the author and thought this article ok..but the previous article was a proper bag of shite..

hope this may inform the debate

Popo's picture

No it's not ok.  First off, one should note:  "The banker didn’t care that I have a US passport. US customers are OK once again, "

So it's 100% admitted that he's a US citizen.

One should also note that US citizens *cannot* escape taxation by being an expat.  Which renders pretty much every one of his articles complete b.s. because his whole message is: "Save yourselves from the coming tax regime by living abroad".

Of all the people in the world who you would *think* had given up their US nationality -- don't you think Mr. Sovereign Man would be one of them?   Turns out:  No.  He's still got his US passport.

That's just the beginning of the lies.  The rest are the endless proclamations of having 100's of international clients.  Along with other proclamations that "you have to lie about your success in order to become successful".   (Read between the lines, and it's easy to see that Simon Black is himself a lie).

Then there's the completely absurd advice of which countries it's "better" to do business in:  Cambodia?  Chile?  LOLOLOL.  I do regular business in Cambodia and it's a crap shoot.  And Chile?  OMFG.  If you have good government connections and know how to pay your "tea money" maybe you'll be ok.  Would I recommend it to potential neophyte expats?  Fuck no.

Simon's market is only those less experienced, and more stupid than he is.   Follow him at your own peril. 

And to top it off, he's a douche.



merizobeach's picture

"US citizens *cannot* escape taxation by being an expat."  That's false.  You're obviously doing it wrong.

Dr Benway's picture

Aggghhh SB got me again!


You are right, it's the new rickroll. "Hey I got some analysis you GOTTA see, click the link lol!"


Plus I'm starting to think SB never leaves his basement, and all these globe-trottin' high-falutin' big-uppin' stories are just the demented fantasies of a pathological liar.

disabledvet's picture

This article is SPOT ON. Only an idiot responds by saying "it can't happen here."

toady's picture


I've started glancing at commenter's names too so I can skip a select few's comments. It's amazing how much time is saved by skipping a long thread of feud.

Still, Mr Durden is to be commended for allowing a free and open exchange of ideas.

MFLTucson's picture

Too hard for you to read?

vato poco's picture

"Hard to read"? Nah, just obvious bullshit. Kinda funny, but bullshit nonetheless.

"Whilst I was whiling away the hours with a gin slozzle in the bar at Babgkok's fabled Mandarin Oriental, having wearied of the tiresome lustful glances constantly shot my way by the elegant, scantily-dressed buxom beauties at Sky Bar, I was minded of the time I was attacked by a pack of cobras at Angkor Wat. And of the grateful ministrations of the 3 lissome young Cambodian Women I saved when I killed them all with my Spyderco Harpy. Suddenly, a dusky beauty slid into my booth!! 'Shhhh!', she whispered fiercely. 'Are you Greek, by any chance?!!' "

buckethead's picture

Now this is how to embellish!


MSimon's picture



Try this


And tell me how the terrorists can move the money with all these controls in place? The banks are complicit. It is their #1 profit center.

LouisDega's picture



The Big Ching-aso's picture



As much phuckin time he's up in the air why's he so concerned about what happens on earth?

Dr Benway's picture

Look, you believe me when I say I certainly would not be clicking these articles if I knew they were by the utterly redundant Simon Black.



sessinpo's picture

Thank goodness you didn't tell him to jump off a bridge. Some people can't think for themselves.

TruthInSunshine's picture

My experience (true story, bros):


I was sitting across from an impossibly blonde account executive this afternoon when I heard three words I never thought I’d hear at a f*cking whore bank (a best friend forever criminal racketeer of the New York Branch of the Federal Mother Whore Reserve).

“You like it Greek,” she asked me with a bit of a smile…

me: “Uh, no. Your bank is really amazing at giving it to your customers 'Greek,' among other treatment, so I get 'Greek' any time I have to deal with you scumbags…”

she: “OK good, as long as you don't like it Greek,” she replied as she put the large dildo she had started to retrieve back in her desk drawer.

she: "You do know that Bernanke & Geithner love it Greek, with midgets, donkeys, hot honey and candle wax...lots and lots of hot candle wax, right? Bernanke is probably the most sick, twisted pervert I've ever been forced to deal with, with his tiny penis and Mommy fantasies."

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing. Let me explain.

Hype Alert's picture

Now what does any of this have to do with hitting 1400?  And with pathetic volume today, what's taking so long?  Even SPY is weak.  Seriously, WTF is up?

Precious's picture

maybe some connection ... pathetic volume because everybody took an early lunch and is getting laid...

smiler03's picture

I visited a random Norwegian Bank Website. In this case DnB NOR Bank, this is very clearly stated when enquiring about opening a personal account:

"According to current Norwegian legislation, all bank customers must have a Norwegian national identification number. We will apply on your behalf if you do not have a Norwegian ID number. Applications are normally processed by the authorities within four to five weeks.

Please note that non-residents of Norway are subject to a minimum deposit requirement. 

This is currently EUR 100,000. This applies to those who do not have a permanent residence in Norway."

So Simon Black, what were you doing at the bank? Getting a credit card cash advance or making a small deposit?

dogbreath's picture

+23  to + 30 in one clic the best yet  hahahahahahaha

TrainWreck1's picture

Every SB story should start off with, "Dear Playboy, I never thought this would happen to me, but..."

vato poco's picture

Titled, "Lesbians no longer!"

sqz's picture

While I agree this guy is by far consistently one of the worst Guest Posters, i.e. little to no information value, this does have a ring of truth to it from my own experiences. So, I would hardly label it "science fiction".

boogerbently's picture

It has already started.

The "trading anomolies" and "technology glitches" of JPM, MFGlobal, Knight Capital....

are all the new "business model", for stealing clients money.

Wait until Wells Fargo, or B of A do it.....

OOPS, lost your money, sorry!

Congress will sit on their hands, as usual.

Where is Jon Corzine??? How is that "investigation" going???LOL

MarsInScorpio's picture



It vaporized.


ParkAveFlasher's picture

I've been thinking about Corzine, and it occurred to me in a fit of optimism that you can not be pardoned by the president if you are not arrested, tried, and convicted in the first place. 

Again, a fit of optimism.

sessinpo's picture

Wow, I always have a different thought. For some reason I wonder if the fish are hungry.

Umh's picture

Yes you can be. Ford pardoned Nixon for anything he might have done.

andrewp111's picture

False. The Presidential pardon power is absolute, and does not require that you be tried or even charged first. Nixon was pardoned, and the Supreme Court decided the expansive reality of the pardon power.

NotApplicable's picture

I swear he gets dumber by the day, watching the world fall apart, but staying safe by grabbing another chair before the music stops.

It's like he has no concept of the trap he places himself in, believing instead he is escaping them by playing along.

Honestly, who could take the advice of someone, who despite knowing about the need to protect ones' assets, advocates placing them in a bank?!!!?!?!?

It takes a special kind of stupid to write these articles without connecting the dots.

Simon Says, "Derp."

Nonexistent Uninvented God's picture

God I can't believe I wasted two minutes of my life reading this. I owe Simon a fucking punch to the dick so that he might suffer at my hand as I have at his. 

MarsInScorpio's picture

Let me get this straight: It's HIS fault YOU wasted your time.


What a loser. Try reading up on the concept of "personal responsibility."


And by the way, unlike a dickless creep who blames others for his mistakes, at least Simon has a dick to punch . . .


Dr. Engali's picture

Simon is that you? You're awfully defensive.

Nonexistent Uninvented God's picture

At first it was like "Nah, this guy is only a tool, not a giant one like Simon" then I saw his response to Law below...

Dr. Engali's picture

If you check other articles he hasn't posted in hose forums.

merizobeach's picture

Hey, shitlick.  I was reading some of your bigoted drivel in another thread.  How about doing the world a favor and blowing your stupid fucking head off?  And if you have any offspring, kill them first.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

NotApplicable said:

I swear he gets dumber by the day, watching the world fall apart, but staying safe by grabbing another chair before the music stops.

I wonder if he goes dancing with Chuck Prince.