We Fight Censorship - Corruption https://www.wefightcensorship.org/themes/corruption-0 en Singaporean blogger and premier in David-and-Goliath legal battle https://www.wefightcensorship.org/censored/singaporean-blogger-and-premier-david-and-goliath-legal-battle <div id="node-field-pays" class="field field-name-field-pays field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="/geo-zone/singapour" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Singapour</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="node-field-thematique" class="field field-name-field-thematique field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="/themes/corruption-0" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Corruption</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="node-field-chapeau" class="field field-name-field-chapeau field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p class="western" lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">A post criticizing the Singaporean government’s management of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) for retirees got blogger Roy Ngerng into deep trouble with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who is not only suing him but also seeking a summary judgement, in which the court would rule without examining the substance of the case.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="node-body" class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">Posted on 15 May, Ngerng’s<a href="http://thehearttruths.com/"> blog</a> entry was headlined “<em>Where your CPF Money is going: Learning from the City Harvest Trial.</em>” It made a simple observation, namely, that despite being the world’s eighth largest pension fund, it has one of the lowest yields in Southeast Asia.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">Lee’s lawyer wrote to Ngerng on 18 May accusing him of making a “<em>false and baseless allegation</em>” that constituted “<em>a very serious libel against our client, disparages him and impugns his character, credit and integrity</em>.” The <a href="http://fr.scribd.com/doc/225816434/Drew-and-Napier-s-Letter-of-Demand-to-Roy-Ngerng">letter</a> demanded deletion of the blog post, a public apology and payment of damages by 21 May.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western"><b>Censorship, apology and support</b></p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">Ngerng removed the offending post on 20 May but launched an <a href="https://www.change.org/petitions/the-singapore-government-return-our-cpf-2">online petition</a> (with 3,356 signatures by 24 July) and a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/540971529345418/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming">Facebook call</a> for a demonstration on 7 June to press the government to return the CPF’s money to Singapore’s citizens. On 21 May, he decided to run for parliament. The deadline for complying with Lee’s demands was extended to 23 May. Maruah, a Singaporean human rights group, called on Lee to withdraw his suit.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">On 23 May, Ngerng issued a public apology in a <a href="http://fr.scribd.com/doc/225814889/M-Ravi-s-letter-to-Drew-and-Napier">letter</a> to Lee’s lawyer, which he posted on his <a href="http://mothership.sg/v2/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Screen-Shot.png">blog</a>. “<em>I unreservedly apologise to Mr Lee Hsien Loong for the distress and the embarrassment caused to him</em>.” He also called on the prime minister to withdraw the request for damages, arguing that he earned a “<em>modest living as a health care worker</em>.”</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">He subsequently told Reporters Without Borders why he and his lawyer decided to apologize. “<em>We thought that this was the easiest way out of the situation, knowing that if we had proceeded to fight, it would result in certain bankruptcy, which has happened.</em>”</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">Lee’s lawyer responded the same day to the online newspaper <i><a href="http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/blogger-given-till-monday-make-offer-damages-pm-lees-lawyers">TODAY</a> </i>that Ngerng had made a “<em>very grave and malicious allegation</em>” in his blog post and that the prime minister therefore was “<em>fully entitled to damages</em>.” The prime minister would sue if Ngerng did make a satisfactory offer within three more days.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western"><b>Fired for “<em>incompatible</em>” behaviour</b></p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">On 26 May, Lee’s lawyer sent Ngerng a <a href="http://fr.scribd.com/doc/226485049/Drew-and-Napier-asks-Roy-Ngerng-to-remove-4-blogposts-and-a-video%20">letter</a> saying his previous week’s apology “<em>was not and never meant to be genuine</em>” and demanding that he take down four more blog posts referring to the CPF and a video he had posted on YouTube on 23 May. Ngerng’s lawyer <a href="http://fr.scribd.com/doc/226486662/Roy-Ngerng-agrees-to-remove-4-posts%20">wrote back</a> saying he agreed to remove the new posts and would make a damages proposal by 28 May.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">Ngerng sent an email to local and international media on 27 May with a link to the YouTube video he was supposed to have taken down. He offered $5,000 in damages in a <a href="http://fr.scribd.com/doc/226487204/Roy-Ngerng-agrees-to-pay-5000-in-damages">letter</a> to Lee’s lawyer, who rejected the offer as <a href="http://fr.scribd.com/doc/226487695/Drew-and-Napier-rejects-Roy-Ngerng-s-offer-to-pay-5k%20">“<em>derisory</em>” given the gravity of Ngerng’s behaviour</a>.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">On 7 June, Singaporean novelist Catherine Lim wrote an <a href="http://catherinelim.sg/2014/06/07/an-open-letter-to-the-prime-minster/%20">open letter</a> to Lee condemning the lawsuit. According to media reports, more than 3,000 people took part in the demonstration in Hong Lim Park that Ngerng organized via social networks to call for the CPF’s money to be returned to Singaporeans. At the same time, Ngerng raised $110,299 (the amount announced on 22 June) with the appeal for donations to help pay the damages that he launched a week after the first letter from Lee’s lawyer.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">The hospital where Ngerng worked as a patient coordinator fired him on 10 June on the grounds of “<em>conduct incompatible with the values and standards expected of employees.</em>” The health ministry quickly issued a statement to <a href="http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/blogger-roy-ngerngs-lawyer-expresses-regret-over-moh-statement"><i>TODAY </i></a>approving of his dismissal while Lee’s press secretary wrote to <a href="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/blogger-pm-case-pm-lee-s/1179584.html?cid=FBSG"><i>The Economist</i></a> the same day condemning his actions. These reactions triggered a debate in Singapore about the involvement of government officials in a private matter.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">If a judge approves Lee’s request for a summary judgment, it would mean that Ngerng’s apology, extracted under threat of legal action, would be taken as sufficient evidence that defamation took place. The court would therefore not examine the substance of what he wrote in his blog post and would only be required to decide the size of the damages award.</p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western"><span style="line-height: 1.538em;">Reporters Without Borders appealed on 17 July for </span><a href="http://fr.rsf.org/singapour-reporters-sans-frontieres-appelle-17-07-2014,46641.html" style="line-height: 1.538em;">support for Ngerng</a><span style="line-height: 1.538em;"> and we are now posting a link to the original blog entry expressing doubts about the CPF’s management, which he posted on 15 May and removed a few days later under threat.</span></p> <p lang="en-GB" class="western">The complete blog post is available here: <a href="http://therealsingapore.com/content/where-your-cpf-money-going-learning-city-harvest-trial">http://therealsingapore.com/content/where-your-cpf-money-going-learning-city-harvest-trial</a></p> <p></p> <p></p> <blockquote> <h1 id="page-title" class="title">WHERE YOUR CPF MONEY IS GOING: LEARNING FROM THE CITY HARVEST TRIAL</h1> <p></p> <p>Last week,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/city-harvest-leaders-have/1095294.html">Channel NewsAsia reported about how</a>, “The founder of City Harvest Church Kong Hee and his five deputies (are) accused of misusing millions of church building funds.”</p> <p>According to Channel NewsAsia, “The court accepted that there is evidence to show that the monies were moved from the church to the various firms to generate a false appearance that the church’s investments were redeemed. The judge said the six had been dishonest in the use of the money.”</p> <p>It was also reported that, “Judge See said the auditors’ opinions were “only as good as the information they were given”.”</p> <p>Below is the chart that Channel NewsAsia had created to show the relations of Kong Hee and his five deputies, and the funds that they have misappropriated.</p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="1810" width="768" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/slh3zqf.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Source:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/city-harvest-leaders-have/1095294.html">Channel NewsAsia</a></em></p> <p>Meanwhile, something bears an uncanny resemblance to how the money is being misappropriated.</p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="720" width="584" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/wswkaiq.jpg" /></p> <p>Channel NewsAsia had reported that, “The court accepted that there is evidence to show that the monies were moved from the church to the various firms to generate a false appearance that the church’s investments were redeemed. The judge said the six had been dishonest in the use of the money.”</p> <p>“Judge See said the auditors’ opinions were “only as good as the information they were given”.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, the GIC claims that the&nbsp;“<a href="http://www.gic.com.sg/en/faqs#47">GIC manages the Government’s reserves, but as to how the funds from CPF monies flow into reserves which could then be managed by either MAS, GIC or Temasek, this is not made explicit to us.</a>” The GIC also claims that, “<a href="http://www.gic.com.sg/en/faqs#38">The Government, which is represented by the Ministry of Finance in its dealings with GIC, neither directs nor interferes in the company’s investment decisions. It holds the board accountable for the overall portfolio performance.</a>” However, the PAP prime minister, the two deputy prime ministers and the ministers for Trade and Industry and Education also sit on the board of directors. Lee Hsien Loong is the Chairman and Lee Kuan Yew is the Senior Advisor.</p> <p>Here are some things for you consider:</p> <p>Do you know that apparently the CPF is now the 8th largest pension fund in the world?</p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="923" width="512" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/1p4immw.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Chart:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.pionline.com/article/20130902/INTERACTIVE/130829875/pitowers-watson-world-300-the-largest-retirement-funds">P&amp;I/Towers Watson World 300: The largest retirement funds</a></em></p> <p>And do you know that&nbsp;the GIC and Temasek have used our CPF to become the 8th and 9th largest sovereign wealth funds in the world?</p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="675" width="1200" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/iqsoz2j.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Chart:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.swfinstitute.org/fund-rankings/">Sovereign&nbsp;Wealth Fund Institute Fund Rankings</a></em></p> <p>Yet why do Singaporeans have the least adequate retirement funds in the world?</p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="675" width="1200" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/ggarclb.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Chart:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/pensions-at-a-glance-asia-pacific-2011_9789264107007-en">Pensions at a Glance Asia/Pacific 2011</a></em></p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="675" width="1200" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/1jqd8a6.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Chart:&nbsp;<a href="http://globalpensionindex.com/2013/melbourne-mercer-global-pension-index-2013-report.pdf">Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index</a></em></p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="675" width="1200" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/np6mp13.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Chart:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.adbi.org/files/2012.04.26.wp358.dev.asia.pension.systems.pdf">Developing Asia’s Pension Systems and Old-Age Income Support</a></em></p> <p>And why are nearly 90% of Singaporeans not able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum,&nbsp;are unable to take our money out and are unable to retire?</p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="675" width="1200" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/pw6yt5v.jpg" /></p> <p>How did the government make us set aside $253 billion in the CPF to let them earn $1 trillion for the reserves?</p> <p>And why is it that Singaporeans have saved a massive $253 billion in the CPF but nearly 90% of us are unable to meet the CPF Minimum Sum, are unable to take our money out and are unable to retire?</p> <p>Do you see something amiss? You are not the only one.</p> <p>Perhaps&nbsp;<a href="http://www.baldingsworld.com/2014/05/06/subsidizing-profits-smrt-and-temasek/">Prof Christoper Balding best explained this</a>:</p> <p><em>The financial effect is this: SMRT profit is entirely attributable to subsidies given to it by the Singaporean tax payer and&nbsp;<strong>not</strong>&nbsp;high quality management at Temasek.&nbsp; Put another way, Temasek and its senior executive are only able to declare a profit for SMRT because the Singapore government gives it money.</em></p> <p><em>SMRT is socializing the risk and privatizing the profits.&nbsp; When losses are incurred it is the Singapore tax payer that suffers but when profits received, it is the executive of Temasek that enjoys the benefit.&nbsp; SMRT is placing the risk on the tax payer but capturing the benefit for itself.&nbsp; While individuals or firms taking individual or corporate risk should be allowed to keep those profits private or socialize risk and profits, it is truly objectionable to socialize the risk but privatize the profits.</em></p> <p><em>Third, the true financial and economic cost of SMRT and related infrastructure is not being recognized.&nbsp; As one economist noted, if something cannot go on forever it will stop.&nbsp; Singapore, SMRT, and Temasek cannot maintain a loss making firm dependent on regular bail outs to report profits or eventually it will stop.&nbsp; By hiding the true cost of ownership, maintenance, and investment, the government is attempting to protect its Temasek owned asset rather than the tax payer.</em></p> <p><em>Mass and public transport is a notoriously difficult and generally loss making industry.&nbsp; It is however, morally reprehensible to pretend that a company is making money and use tax payer money to create &nbsp;profits for the investments of family members.&nbsp; The people of Singapore are being defrauded by bearing the risk of investment but seeing none of the profits.</em></p> <p><a href="http://www.baldingsworld.com/2014/05/13/the-real-cpf-problem/">Professor Balding also said</a>:</p> <p><em>If the average Singaporean had earned the average Singaporean wage since 1980 and saved the amount required by law but earned the GIC long term average rather than CPF interest, the average Singaporean would have approximately $850,000 SGD in the bank. This is approximately $300,000 more than they would have earned with the same amount of savings in a CPF account. To put this number in perspective, Singaporeans pay higher fees than what the typical hedge fund would charge. The Singaporean government is directly harming everyday Singaporeans by mandating savings into a seriously underperforming asset for the governments benefit.</em></p> <p><em>Third, Singapore operates a one sided model where the tax payer assumes the risk but the government gets the benefit. If the investments do well, the government keeps everything above the 2.5-4% CPF interest payment; if the investments do poorly, and let’s assume, the CPF collapses, the tax payer will guarantee the payment to CPF holders. In other words, risks are socialized while benefits are privatized.</em></p> <p><em>The assets of Temasek, GIC, and the CPF are the assets of the people of Singapore. Only in certain people’s imagination are Temasek and GIC assets private and separate from the people of Singapore. The earnings in excess of 2.5-4% that the government keeps for itself that it does not return to CPF savers are directly harming Singaporeans who are on average $300,000 poorer. GIC and Temasek assets that the government insists are private despite all evidence to the contrary demonstrate the governments disdain for the blessing of the financial bounty it has received from the Singaporean taxpayer.</em></p> <p>In view of the unreasonable increase in the CPF Minimum Sum, we will be organising an event on 7 June at 5pm to call for Singaporeans’ CPF to be returned to us.</p> <p>The PAP has used government to pursue their own hidden agenda, while forcing Singaporeans to live more difficult lives. The PAP has taken our retirement for themselves to earn high interests on it, while devaluing our CPF and our ability to retire.</p> <p>This is wrong. We have to stand up and speak up against this scourge. It’s time to stand up and come together to speak up against such wrongdoings.</p> <p>You can join the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/540971529345418">Facebook event page here</a>.</p> <p>We have also started a petition to the Singapore government to&nbsp;honour our contributions to our CPF and return our CPF to Singaporeans. You&nbsp;<a href="https://www.change.org/petitions/the-singapore-government-return-our-cpf-2">can sign the petition here</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" class="media-image" height="1040" width="720" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/adocoa9.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Video: How The PAP Started Cutting Down On Singaporeans From 1984</em></p> <p><strong><em>Roy Ngerng</em></strong></p> </blockquote> </div> </div> </div> <ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first last"><a href="/fr/censored/singapour-proces-du-premier-ministre-contre-blogueur-combat-david-contre-goliath" title="Singapour : le procès du Premier ministre contre un blogueur, le combat de David contre Goliath " class="translation-link">Français</a></li> </ul> Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:28:44 +0000 gregoire.pouget 219 at https://www.wefightcensorship.org Corruption off limits on Venezuelan Internet https://www.wefightcensorship.org/censored/corruption-limits-venezuelan-internet <div id="node-field-pays" class="field field-name-field-pays field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="/geo-zone/venezuela-0" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Venezuela</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="node-field-thematique" class="field field-name-field-thematique field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="/themes/corruption-0" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Corruption</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="node-field-chapeau" class="field field-name-field-chapeau field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Alek Boyd is a UK-based Venezuelan who blogs about corruption in Venezuela on infodio.com. On 14 January, he posted the details of a lawsuit that a former US ambassador to Venezuela has filed against the partners of Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan firm accused of bribing Venezuelan officials to get contracts in the energy engineering sector. Since then, Boyd’s blog has been blocked in Venezuela.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="node-body" class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"> <div class="messages warning"> <p>Updated on 8 April 2014: Derwick Associates, the firm targeted in Alek Boyd’s blog post, sent Reporters Without Borders a formal response five days after we posted our article. <a href="https://www.wefightcensorship.org/sites/default/files/medias/documents/carta_0.pdf">We are posting the response here</a>. Derwick Associates says it has nothing to do with the blocking of Boyd’s blog and that none of its shareholders has any links with the ISP Inter. When contacted by Reporters Without Borders, Boyd stood by his information, according to which <a href="http://infodio.com/180713/derwick/associates/intercable">members of Derwick Associates have investment links with Inter</a>. His blog continues to be blocked within Venezuela.</p> </div> <p></p> <p>Online censorship is an established fact, which is proved by the approximately 500 web pages and sites that most Venezuelan Internet users currently cannot access,” said Carlos Correa, the head of <i>Espacio Público</i>, an NGO that defends the right to information, on<i> </i><a href="http://www1.unionradio.net/exitosfm/visornota.aspx?id=15595">17 March on Radio Éxitos</a> in response to the question “can the government really censor Internet content?”</p> <p>In Venezuela, Internet access is provided by a handful of companies: CANTV, Inter, Venezolana de Telecomunicación and Movilnet (a CANTV subsidiary specializing in mobile telephony). Nationalized in 2007, CANTV is the country’s main ISP, with 80% of Internet service subscriptions. Its direct access to the data provided by the Simón Bolívar national satellite, placed in orbit under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation’s supervision in 2008, gives the Venezuelan authorities a unique tool for monitoring and controlling online information.</p> <p>On 12 March, which ironically was World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, the National Telecommunications Commission (CONATEL) notified all Venezuelan ISPs that they would henceforth have to comply with orders to block web pages with content deemed to be contrary to the government’s interests. This just officialized a practice already in place. The Venezuelan authorities have long had no compunction about censoring unwelcome information. On 13 November, they issued an <a href="https://www.wefightcensorship.org/fr/censored/censure-toile-au-venezuela-taux-changes-paralleles-frappes-tabouhtml.html">order to censor around 50 websites that cover parallel exchange rates</a> and the country’s soaring inflation.</p> <p>On 14 January, Alek Boyd, a London-based Venezuelan blogger specializing in corruption in Venezuela, posted an article about the lawsuit that Otto Reich, a former US ambassador in Venezuela, has filed in New York against the leading partners of Derwick Associates, a Venezuelan company he accuses of bribing Venezuelan government officials in order to secure public contracts in the energy engineering sector.</p> <p>As a result of this story, which was also covered by the websites of several well-known international media such as the <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/APdeb5d17838724f3897ca0ef386253eae.html"></a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/otto-reich-lawsuit_n_3688670.html">Huffington Post</a>, Boyd’s blog, infodio.com, disappeared from the Venezuelan Internet. Inter, an ISP whose shareholders include Derwick Associates, was the first to block access to infodio.com shortly after Boyd posted his blog entry. The other telecom companies (Movistar, Digitel, Supercable and the state-owned CANTV) soon followed suit.</p> <p>Boyd has been posting reports, compromising documents and opinion pieces from Britain since 2002. Although protected by distance from his country of origin, he has often been the target of threats, the frequency and violence of which have increased since a wave of street protests got under way in Venezuela in February. He also posts information sent to him by other Venezuelan bloggers who are scared to post it themselves in Venezuela.</p> <p>Ever since the allegations about Derwick Associates began, many netizens and journalists have received <a href="http://infodio.com/content/censorship-derwick-associates-style">letters from its lawyers</a> ordering them to remove articles about the company from their websites and accusing them of defaming its owners and shareholders. But Boyd, who continues to cover the story, has not received any official letter from Derwick Associates or its lawyers.</p> <p>Reporters Without Borders is reproducing Boyd’s blog post in full, and the lawsuit that former US ambassador Reich filed against Derwick Associates.</p> <p><a href="https://www.wefightcensorship.org/otto-reich-rico-lawsuit-derwick-associaates-011314.pdf"><span style="color: #1155cc;" color="#1155cc"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Otto Reich files amendment in lawsuit against Derwick Associates</span></span></a></p> <p></p> <blockquote> <h2><a href="http://infodio.com/140114/otto-reich-files-amendment-lawsuit-against-derwick-associates"> Otto Reich files amendment in lawsuit against Derwick Associates</a></h2> <p>Submitted by Alek Boyd on Tue, 14/01/2014 - 09:58</p> <p>It doesn't look pretty for Derwick Associates. Not pretty at all. Readers may recall that former U.S. President's Special Envoy for the Western Hemisphere, Otto Reich, filed a RICO lawsuit against Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez, Pedro Trebbau Lopez and Francisco D'Agostino (of Derwick Associates's fame) in New York in July last year. When reading the claim the first time I thought "this is a looong shot..." As perhaps the blogger who's written more about Derwick Associates, I saw there were a number of claims that were very odd, not least of which that Francisco D'Agostino, a Bolichico in his own right connected to Boligarch-in-chief Victor Vargas, was part of Derwick Associates. I have gotten all registry documents related to Derwick Associates, in USA, Venezuela, Panama, Barbados, Spain and nowhere had I seen D'Agostino's name mentioned. Now in an amended claim filed yesterday, Reich argues that D'Agostino has been actively doing Derwick's bidding, and has information that only someone with intimate knowledge of Derwick's operations could have access to. Namely, D'Agostino got in touch with a "Forbes writer", to whom he sent "several text messages" and made "telephone calls", after "at least a decade" of not talking/seeing each other, and "attempted to dissuade the Forbes writer from publishing the piece" about Derwick Associates in which he was meant to be working on. The "Forbes writer" was contacted by D'Agostino, after the former had sent an email to ProEnergy Services (most probably Derwick's main and most important subcontractor) asking about its work in Venezuela and relation with Derwick. Further, D'Agostino, Reich claims, offered the "Forbes writer" Derwick's financials, contracts with the Venezuelan government and with ProEnergy Services. Now, how on earth could D'Agostino have that information, if he is not a part of Derwick Associates?</p> <p>But things get more interesting. D'Agostino invited the "Forbes writer" to dinner in L.A. and offered to bring Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt Lopez (Derwick's main man) along. Interesting, eh? A man who claims to have nothing to do with Derwick, calls a "childhood" friend, who he has not seen or spoken to in "at least a decade", and offers to reveal confidential information about Derwick, and bring Derwick's CEO to a meeting, only after this friend of his started making enquiries, as a "Forbes writer", to Derwick's main U.S. partner ProEnergy Services. Why? Mind you, if what Reich's claim is true, how will D'Agostino explain his interest in preventing publication of an article about Derwick's overprice scandal in Venezuela?</p> <p>But then, the amended claim fingers FTI Consulting and Sunset Reputation for "conduct[ing] investigative-type... and reputation management" services. Readers of this site are well aware of FTI and its long time relations with the worse scum of Venezuela, but Sunset Reputation, apparently Brandon Hopkins' one-man operation, has been pumping out a lot of benign PR BS on behalf of Derwick.</p> <p>Derwick Associates has also retained Volkov Group, a lobbying firm headed by Michael Volkov who blogs, wait for it, "corruption, crime and compliance". What a f%$£ joke this is.</p> <p>And guess who has made an appearance in all this imbroglio? David Osio and his "bank", as well as RaFa the hacker. It's all one big, happy, thuggish, Boliburgeoise family, being helped in its criminal enterprise by none other than JP Morgan.</p> <p>Hilary Kramer and her stupid white wash attempt also got a mention.</p> <p>In previous communications related to the lawsuit, Derwick has claimed that New York courts haven't got jurisdiction over its affairs. However, in what can prove to be a lethal counter argument, Reich is showing that the bolichicos filed a lawsuit against Banco Venezolano de Credito (BVC), Oscar Garcia Mendoza et al in New York, and one in Florida, in September 2012. So, New York courts had jurisdiction to entertain the spurious allegations made by Derwick against BVC in 2012, but don't have jurisdiction to hear claims against them in 2013? Again, what a pathetic bunch of imbeciles. Only in Venezuela can such people become multibillionaires. It's going to be truly fascinating to learn what sort of BS they'll come up with. I'd venture a prediction: sooner, rather than later, they'll pay up to avoid further complications and exposure into its dodgy activities.</p> <p><a href="https://www.wefightcensorship.org/otto-reich-rico-lawsuit-derwick-associates-011314.pdf">The amended claim below</a> (I highlighted the interesting bits).</p> </blockquote> </div> </div> </div> <ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="/fr/censored/corruption-sujet-tabou-toile-venezuelienne" title="La corruption, un sujet tabou sur la toile vénézuélienne" class="translation-link">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_es last"><a href="/es/censored/corrupcion-tema-tabu-en-red-venezolana" title="La corrupción, un tema tabú en la red venezolana" class="translation-link">Español</a></li> </ul> Thu, 27 Mar 2014 15:26:19 +0000 gregoire.pouget 203 at https://www.wefightcensorship.org China censors media reports about elite’s offshore accounts https://www.wefightcensorship.org/censored/china-censors-media-reports-about-elites-offshore-accounts <div id="node-field-pays" class="field field-name-field-pays field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="/geo-zone/china" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">China</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="node-field-thematique" class="field field-name-field-thematique field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="/themes/corruption-0" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Corruption</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="node-field-chapeau" class="field field-name-field-chapeau field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>More than 22,000 Chinese, including many close relatives of the country’s top leaders, have accounts in offshore tax havens, according to reports this week in various international media based on leaked documents obtained by the <a href="http://www.icij.org/offshore/leaked-records-reveal-offshore-holdings-chinas-elite#people/wu-jianchang">International Consortium of Investigative Journalists</a>. These reports have been censored in China. The websites of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/22/guardian-blocked-china-leaderships-offshore-wealth">the Guardian</a>, <a href="http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/01/22/inenglish/1390385601_512810.html">El País</a> and Süddeutsche Zeitung newspapers are now blocked.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="node-body" class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"> <p>The articles that prompted the blocking of these international media are being reposted by Reporters Without Borders on its WeFightCensorship website and 20 linked mirror sites. The article below has been published on <a href="http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2014/01/21/les-revelations-chinaleaks-le-texte-en-chinois_4352116_3234.html">LeMonde.fr</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><strong><a href="http://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2014/01/21/les-revelations-chinaleaks-le-texte-en-chinois_4352116_3234.html">机密文件披露中国精英的海外资产<br />两万多名中国内地及香港投资者在避税天堂注册公司</a></strong></p> <p dir="ltr">美 国一家独立新闻组织取得的机密档案和资料库显示,中国高层领导的近亲在加勒比海避税天堂持有隐秘的离岸公司,有助中共精英在海外隐藏巨额财富。 这些文件包括国家主席习近平的姐夫在海外与他人合伙的地产公司注册资料,以及前国务院总理温家宝的儿子、女婿注册的BVI(英属维尔京群岛)公司。 国际调查记者同盟(缩写ICIJ)获得的密件显示,近22,000名中国内地和香港的投资者在离岸金融中心注册公司,其中起码有15名包括富豪、全国人大 代表、涉嫌贪污的国企高管等知名人士。</p> <p dir="ltr">文 件还显示,普华永道、瑞银集团(缩写UBS)等会计事务所和欧美银行扮演了关键性的中间人角色,为中国投资者在英属维尔京群岛、萨摩亚群岛等离岸金融中心 开设资产信托(trust)和公司。例如,瑞士金融巨擘瑞士信贷集团(简称瑞信)曾协助温家宝的儿子注册BVI公司,当时温家宝仍是国务院总理。有关的档 案和数据库来自两家专门为投资者开设离岸公司、信托和银行账户的商业机构,也就是总部设在新加坡的保得利信誉通集团(Portcullis TrustNet)和总部设在英属维尔京群岛的Commonwealth Trust Limited.</p> <p dir="ltr">ICIJ 两年前获得这批内含250万份文件的离岸密档后,与欧美和亚洲等地50多名记者合作,展开为期一年半的跟进调查与采访。ICIJ与合作的媒体自去年4月起 发表一系列有关离岸金融中心的调查报道,在多个国家触发当地政府立案调查、高官下台。有关的政府因而修订有关公职人员和企业的财务披露政策。半年 前,ICIJ 开始分析密件中有关中国大陆和台、港的离岸金融资料,今天首度发布初步的分析报告。</p> <p dir="ltr">资 料显示,中国大陆作为世界第二大经济体,对遥远的离岸金融小岛依赖日增。由于隐蔽、免税和方便国际贸易的特点,避税天堂大受中国投资者青睐。中国经济转型 为社会主义和资本主义混合体后,已成为海外避税天堂的主要客户。就ICIJ数据库所见,中国投资者所涉及的行业遍及石油、绿色能源、矿产、武器贸易等。</p> <p dir="ltr">中国法律未规定政府官员公开个人资产。权贵利用平行经济(parallel economy)来避税、隐藏交易。据估计,2000年以来,流失到境外的资金至少有1 亿,甚至可能高达4 亿美元。具体路线难以追踪。美国加州克莱蒙特·麦肯纳学院政治学者裴敏欣认为,中国精英在境内外资产的增长“不一定违法”,但往往与“公众利益冲突”,有“权力寻租”之嫌。”</p> <p dir="ltr">政府高层的腐败在中国是高度敏感的话题。不少揭露高层领导隐蔽家族财富的记者和要求官员公开财产的公民都受到打击报复。</p> <p dir="ltr">ICIJ调查团队的合作伙伴包括香港《明报》、台湾《天下杂志》、德国《南德意志报》和一家中国大陆的新闻机构。去年11月,该大陆媒体退出团队,表示受到政府警告,不得发表有关该数据库的报道。为免记者遭到打击报复,ICIJ决定不公开该大陆媒体的名字。</p> <p dir="ltr">ICIJ 的团队花了几个月的时间查看密件和离岸金融中心的投资者名单。中国投资者在注册离岸公司时,通常用罗马拼音登记姓名,核实身份不易。要靠档案里注册人所提 供的护照和地址来确认身份。但有些注册人没有提供护照和地址。本文没有包括数据库里疑似的“太子党”和官员,因为无法确认身份。ICIJ的机密档案还包括16,000多名台湾投资者的名单。有关报道将在本周陆续与合作媒体同步发布。ICIJ 将会在本月23日公开大中华地区的离岸解密数据库。</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>太子党的离岸资产</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">中共领导人的血亲或姻亲俗称“红色贵族”或“太子党”。</p> <p dir="ltr">ICIJ 密档显示,至少5名中共中央政治局现任或前任常委的亲属曾在库克群岛(Cook Island)和英属维尔京群岛注册公司,包括习近平的姐夫邓家贵、温家宝的独子温云松和女婿刘春航。邓家贵是习近平大姐齐桥桥的丈夫。他是地产开发商, 投资过生产手机和电子设备的稀有金属。文件显示,邓家贵曾与李华和李晓平兄弟合伙在英属维尔京群岛成立卓越通力地产发展有限公司(Excellence Effort Property Development),邓与李氏兄弟各占50%股份。去年7月,李氏兄弟出价20亿美元竞标,拿下深圳两块商业用地,成为新闻焦点。习近平从2012 年升任中共中央总书记以来,高调反腐,曾发表讲话要“苍蝇”、“老虎”一起打。但另方面又打击呼吁政府官员公示个人财产的草根运动。</p> <p dir="ltr">温 家宝的独子温云松留学美国,曾与他人合伙成立新天域资本私募基金,专门投资中国市场,2012年出任央企中国卫星通信集团有限公司(简称“中卫通”)的董 事长。中卫通属国资委管理,有望成为亚洲最大的卫星运营公司。ICIJ密档显示,温云松2006年经瑞信香港协助,成立名为Trend Gold Consultants的BVI公司,自任唯一的董事和股东。公司于2008年解散。投资者通常设立空壳公司,以便用离岸公司的名义开设银行账户,借此掩 盖公司和真正开户人的关系。Trend Gold Consultants成立的原因不明。</p> <p dir="ltr">ICIJ 多次联系温云松和其他在文中提到的离岸资产持有者,大多数人包括温都没有回复。瑞信集团的发言人则表示“不予置评”。不久前,有媒体爆出温家宝女儿温如春 (又名常丽丽)的公司与美国金融机构商业往来的一些内情。ICIJ现在独家发现,名叫Fullmark Consultants的这家咨询公司在英属维尔京群岛成立。此前未见媒体报道。《纽约时报》<a href="http://cn.nytimes.com/business/20131114/c14chase/">报道</a>摩 根大通(JP Morgan Chase &amp; Co.)曾与Fullmark Consultants签订合同,向其支付180万美元咨询费。美国证券监管机构现正对摩根大通借中国高官子女来发展中国市场展开调查。Fullmark Consultants的注册方式似有意隐藏与温如春的关系。温的丈夫刘春航专长金融,曾在投行摩根士丹利(Morgan Stanley)工作。2004年,刘在英属维尔京群岛注册成立Fullmark Consultants,自任唯一的董事和股东。2006年,刘退出该BVI,同年加入中国银行业监督管理委员会(简称“银监会”)。</p> <p dir="ltr">资 料显示,刘退出后,Fullmark Consultants的全部股份转移给与温家宝家族关系密切的女富商张玉宏。张是温家宝弟弟温家宏的同事。据《纽约时报》报道,张曾为温家打点钻石、珠 宝等生意。2005年10月,保得利信誉通向瑞银集团寄送账单,收取为Fullmark Consultants签发存续证明(Certificate of Good Standing)的费用,说明这间BVI公司和瑞银有商业关系。瑞银就ICIJ的查询发声明,表示该集团“了解客户”(“know-your- client”)的规定和处理与政治敏感客户关系的程序是“业内最严格的”,意指不会回应任何的查询。</p> <p dir="ltr">2011年,维基解密”披露美国国务院在2007年发送的一则<a href="http://cablegatesearch.wikileaks.org/cable.php?id=07SHANGHAI622&amp;version=1307965320">密电</a>称温家宝“对家人的活动很反感”。电文说,“只要开价合理,温家宝的妻子和子女可以‘搞定事情’。”“温的亲戚“不一定是收受贿赂,(但)他们很可能会收取高昂的‘咨询费’”。温家宝去年结束十年任期,正式退休。</p> <p dir="ltr">ICIJ还在离岸密件中发现邓小平、李鹏和胡锦涛等中共前领导人的亲属的离岸公司资料,(密件内容可按链接查看)</p> <p dir="ltr">有些中国问题专家认为,太子党的财富和生意(包括离岸资产)越来越大,会威胁共产党的执政地位。但掌权者自己深陷其中,难以制止。</p> <p dir="ltr">常驻中国的美国律师史蒂夫·迪金森(Steve Dickinson)说:“如果没法给家人弄个几十亿,当共产党的领导人有什么意义呢?”史蒂夫曾经调查与BVI公司有关的诈骗案。他说,“这个问题规模庞大,对中国有重大的意义。但事实是每个人对此言不由衷或避而不谈。”</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>中国走向离岸金融中心</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">上世纪九十年代初,邓小平深化经济改革,中国投资者开始涌向离岸金融中心。</p> <p dir="ltr">美国乔治华盛顿大学法学院教授Don Clarke(汉名“<a href="http://www.law.gwu.edu/faculty/profile.aspx?id=7587">郭丹青</a>”) 认为,中国经济制度改革向国企倾斜,民间投资人特别是创业者遂向离岸金融中心寻求发展。在“中国特色”制度下,开展对华贸易的西方银行家、会计师和商人, 也推动了离岸模式的发展。美国凯威莱德律师事务所(Cadwalader, Wickersham &amp; Taft)大中华地区业务主管李大诚(Rocky Lee)说:“刚开始采用(离岸模式)时,是我们外国人给这么做的。当时外国投资者普遍不适应中国的法律法规。”</p> <p dir="ltr">90年代后期亚洲金融危机爆发,中国进一步加紧资本管制,客观上推动了内地人到海外投资。很多人此前已经到当时仍属英国管治的香港成立公司。眼看中国即将收回香港主权,内地投资者担心香港也不安全,便转向更远的离岸金融中心。</p> <p dir="ltr">于是,英属维尔京群岛成为很多内地人转移业务和资产的最佳选择。</p> <p dir="ltr">中 国政府用税收优惠来吸引外资,也推动了内地投资者使用离岸金融中心。例如,一些中国厂商用“返程投资”(round-tripping)的方式避税:在境 外成立子公司,由国内的母公司将在内地生产的产品低价卖给离岸的子公司。母公司由于账上利润少、甚至没有盈利,自然免税。然后再由子公司把产品以高价卖给 别的公司,把利润汇回母公司。这部分利润是当作母公司从英属维尔京群岛或香港获得的“外商投资”,也无需向中国政府缴税。</p> <p dir="ltr">据英属维尔京群岛官方统计,中国和亚洲其他国家地区的离岸业务占当地业务的40%。1998到2002年英国派驻英属维尔京群岛的总督Frank Savage说,BVI政府向中国当局表示,BVI“管理有序、法律制度健全”,与中国政府建立了良好的关系。</p> <p dir="ltr">但离岸体系的批评者认为,BVI“无疑”是进行隐蔽交易的天堂。总部在英国的倡导组织Tax <a class="lien_interne rub" href="http://www.lemonde.fr/justice/">Justice</a> Network说,BVI公司“丑闻不断”。因为保密制度给予“BVI公司极大的自由,随意掩饰违法活动、滥用权力”。</p> <p dir="ltr">上 世纪九十年代在海外成立离岸公司的内地人有中国“八大元老之一”彭真的儿子傅亮。ICIJ密档显示,傅亮至少持有5家BVI公司,在1997年到2000 年间注册。其中一家公司South Port Development在2000年收购了一家菲律宾酒店。傅亮在内地投资游艇和高尔夫俱乐部生意。</p> <p dir="ltr">离 岸服务供应商信誉通公司(Trustnet)曾协助傅亮成立离岸公司。2000年,信誉通已在中国大陆全面发展离岸公司注册业务,与毕马威(KPMG)、 安永(Ernst &amp; Young)、普华永道(Pricewaterhouse)、德勤(Deloitte &amp; Touche)和安信达(Arthur Andersen)全球“五大”会计师事务所在上海开会讨论拓展市场。</p> <p dir="ltr">ICIJ 资料显示,普华永道通过信誉通,协助中国内地和港、台投资者成立了400多家离岸公司和信托;瑞银集团则通过信誉通,协助内地和港、台投资者成立了 1,000多家离岸实体。2006年,瑞银香港协助当时的中国女首富杨惠妍成立名为Joy House Enterprises的BVI公司。杨惠妍继承父亲杨国强的地产王国碧桂园,当时净资产约83亿美元。ICIJ向杨惠妍就离岸公司事宜提问,未获回应。</p> <p dir="ltr">2007 年,瑞银通过信誉通,协助地产大亨、SOHO中国创始人张欣成立BVI公司Commune Investment。SOHO中国在北京重建了很多地标建筑,不久前媒体报道,张斥资2,600万美元购入纽约市曼哈顿区一栋五层的楼房。张通过代表, 拒绝回答与BVI公司相关的问题。张欣在北京郊区打造的精品酒店“长城脚下的公社”(The Commune by the Great Wall)亦取名commune (公社)。天狮集团董事长李金元是7家BVI公司的董事。这些离岸公司在2004年到2008年间由普华永道帮助成立。从ICIJ文件来看,这些BVI公 司与李的天狮集团有关联。天狮涉及生物科技、旅游、电子商务和房地产等多个行业。2011年,李金元的净资产约为12亿美元。</p> <p dir="ltr">2005 年,信誉通的一份“绝密”销售备忘录要求员工加强与瑞信香港的关系,积极示好。鉴于中国限制外资银行进入,信誉通另辟途径。该份备忘录写道:“我们在上海 的目标是国际律师事务所和会计公司。”该公司的的市场攻势收到了成效。2003年到2007年,信誉通在中国大陆、港、台发展的客户数量从1,500上升 到4,800。</p> <p dir="ltr">信誉通还帮助两位现任全国人大代表成立离岸公司。</p> <p dir="ltr">全 国人大安徽省代表韦江宏是国企铜陵有色金属集团董事长。2006年,铜冠资源控股有限公司(Tong Guan Resources Holdings)在英属维尔京群岛注册成立,韦任董事。铜冠资源控股是铜陵有色金属集团的子公司。2007年,铜陵集团通过铜冠这间BVI公司向智利一 项价值5,000万美元的铜加工项目投资1,000万美元。</p> <p dir="ltr">腾讯创始人、全国人大代表马化腾也持有离岸公司。2013年,马以100亿美元的身价名列“福布斯中国富豪榜”第5位。</p> <p dir="ltr">2007年,他和腾讯另一名创始人张志东成为BVI公司TCH Pi的董事。马的发言人称TCH Pi是腾讯集团旗下公司,“与(马化腾和张志东)个人无关。”但这间BVI并未见于腾讯的公司文件,成立的目的不明。</p> <p dir="ltr">利润和腐败</p> <p dir="ltr">中国染指离岸金融中心以来,经济发生巨变,增长可观,离岸金融中心不只方便了用作“返程投资”,也成为海外投资进入金属、矿产等资源市场的渠道。支持中国发展离岸金融市场的人认为,离岸金融可以推动经济发展。</p> <p dir="ltr">“我认为我们应该面对的现实是,中国资本正在走出去。这对我们来说还是有利的,”中国商务部研究员梅新育说,“我当然支持企业在东道国注册。但如果东道国不能提供这种环境的话,在离岸金融中心注册公司,只不过是一个现实的选择。”</p> <p dir="ltr">William Vlce<a href="http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/intrel/people/index.php/wbv2.html">k</a>是离岸金融著作《Offshore Finance and Small States: Sovereignty, Size and Money》的作者。他认为在中国,官僚主义和政府的干预妨碍国内市场的发展。在离岸公司注册对商业活动有利。</p> <p dir="ltr">有证据显示,中国一些公司和个人利用离岸公司进行非法活动。</p> <p dir="ltr">2013年9月,前铁道部高官张曙光承认转移28亿美元到海外账户。中国银行发布的一份政府内部报告显示,自20世纪80年代中期以来,国家公职人员(包括国企高管)转移到海外的公款累计超过1,200亿美元,其中一部分通过BVI公司转移。</p> <p dir="ltr">2000 年,“保得利信誉通”帮助中国远洋集团有限公司成立了BVI公司Cosco Information Technology 。这家BVI的董事包括当时的中远洋董事长马泽华和副总经理宋军。宋2011年以贪污、受贿、妨害作证被控三罪受审,被指调往青岛分公司后,在英属维尔京 群岛成立空壳公司以冒充合作公司。之后把建设青岛中远广场的数百万资金转移到该空壳公司。据新华社报道,宋军挪用公款600万美元,收受台湾合作方贿赂 100万美元。他用非法财产在北京、天津、青岛等地合共购入37套房产。宋军的审讯结果没有公开。</p> <p dir="ltr">中国政府最近严打贪腐成风的石油行业,业内不少高管因为贪污被停职调查。三大国企石油公司中石油、中海油、中石化注册了不少离岸公司。ICIJ数据库里就有几十个与这三大石油巨头相关的BVI公司。</p> <p dir="ltr">中石油前高管李华林因为“严重违纪”被调查,去年8月落马。ICIJ数据库显示,李是两家BVI公司的董事。</p> <p dir="ltr">有些离岸公司见于母公司的报表,但有些是国企高管以个人名义成立的。中石油下属天然气公司昆仑能源的总裁张博闻、中海油总经理杨华均曾以个人身份成立离岸公司,目的不明。</p> <p dir="ltr">ICIJ多次尝试联系中石油和中海油均未获回应。</p> <p dir="ltr">目前身陷囹圄的中国前首富黄光裕也曾运用离岸公司进行商业操作。黄与妻子杜鹃在2001到2008年间至少成立了31家BVI公司。当时他们持有的国美集团是全国最大的电器商连锁。</p> <p dir="ltr">2010年,黄因内幕交易、贿赂和操纵股价,被判有期徒刑14年。杜也以相关罪名获刑,但二审获改判,当场释放。</p> <p dir="ltr">黄大部分资产被冻结,但利用离岸金融网络维系他的商业王国。2011年,黄名下的BVI公司Eagle Vantage Assets Management竞购英国退役航母,欲打造成高端购物商场。(英国政府最终销毁这艘航母)。</p> <p dir="ltr">黄光裕目前通过Shining Crown Holdings and Shine Group这两间BVI公司控制国美集团30%多的股份。</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>离岸公司的未来</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">眼看企业寡头、政府官员和亲属非法敛财,一些中国人不顾安危,奋起质询。</p> <p dir="ltr">草根组织“新公民运动”运用资讯网络和小规模的示威,向政府争取透明。去年春季,新公民运动创始人、民权律师许志永写道:“党政官员的个人财产都不敢公布,共产党还反什么腐?”</p> <p dir="ltr">政府随即以“扰乱公众秩序”和“非法集会”罪名逮捕许,除了许,并关押该组织20多名成员。在中国,政府通常用这类罪名让异见分子沉默。</p> <p dir="ltr">官方甚至惩罚揭露中共高层近亲资产情況的外媒。《纽约时报》和彭博新闻社报道太子党在国内持有的资产后,网站被中国政府屏蔽。驻华记者延续签证遭到延误。</p> <p dir="ltr">英美和一些国际组织此前对离岸金融中心一直抱放任態度。直至离岸金融中心客户泛滥,方著手改革。相比之下,中国政府对改变离岸体系的呼声越来越小。</p> <p dir="ltr">今年以前,中国的税法不要求申报境外资产,这漏洞使国人很容易借离岸来营运。北京一位李姓公司法律顾问说:“中国的决策者没想到会有这许多钱流失到海外。”</p> <p dir="ltr">当局正著手控制流入离岸金融中心的私人财产。今年元旦生效的法规规定国民要申报海外金融资产。</p> <p dir="ltr">改革离岸体系的力度可能会对中国目前的改革有重大的影响。中国不仅是全球经济发展的重要市场,也是离岸金融中心的重要客户。</p> <p dir="ltr">去年,200多名银行家和离岸金融专家参与了一个以亚洲地区为主的业界意见调查。调查发现,这些高管认为,“与中国有关的需求”是离岸市场增长的主要动力。一名BVI离岸服务公司的主管在调查中写道:“未来五年,中国是我们最重要的客户市场。”</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://d32kn01rfn0r98.cloudfront.net/apps/2013/12/offshorechina/embed-zh.html"><img alt="" class="media-image" height="930" width="801" typeof="foaf:Image" src="sites/default/files/icij-china-offshore-leaks.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first"><a href="/fr/censored/revelations-largent-cache-elites-chinoises-censurees" title="Les révélations sur l’argent caché des élites chinoises censurées" class="translation-link">Français</a></li> <li class="translation_zh-hans last"><a href="/zh-hans/censored/ji-mi-wen-jian-pi-lu-zhong-guo-jing-ying-hai-wai-zi-chan-liang-mo-duo-ming-zhong-guo-nei-di" title="机密文件披露中国精英的海外资产 两万多名中国内地及香港投资者在避税天堂注册公司" class="translation-link">简体中文</a></li> </ul> Thu, 23 Jan 2014 12:19:11 +0000 gestion-abri 192 at https://www.wefightcensorship.org Courts censor Bettencourt recordings https://www.wefightcensorship.org/censored/courts-censor-bettencourt-recordings <div id="node-field-pays" class="field field-name-field-pays field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="/geo-zone/france" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">France</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="node-field-thematique" class="field field-name-field-thematique field-type-taxonomy-term-reference field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><a href="/themes/corruption-0" typeof="skos:Concept" property="rdfs:label skos:prefLabel">Corruption</a></div> </div> </div> <div id="node-field-chapeau" class="field field-name-field-chapeau field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>After finding them guilty of invading privacy, a Versailles appeal court ordered Mediapart and Le Point to purge their websites of all the recordings (and transcripts of the recordings) made by billionaire heiress Liliane Bettencourt’s butler in her home without her knowledge in 2009 and 2010. If Mediapart had not complied by midnight on 22 July, the deadline set by the court, it would have had to pay a fine of 10,000 euros a day. Nonetheless, this content, which exposed conflicts of interest and abusive requests for donations from Bettencourt, a major shareholder in the French cosmetics company L’Oreal, was of public interest. The importance of the suppressed content – more than 100 written, audio and video files – sets a dangerous precedent for freedom of information. News websites and human rights organizations including WeFightCensorship have decided to post this content online because they believe that, as the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights have established, a legitimate right to privacy should not automatically prevail over a legitimate right to information.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div id="node-body" class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even" property="content:encoded"> <h2 class="c2">An “affaire d’état”</h2> <p class="c2">The “Bettencourt affair” began to make the headlines in 2007, when Liliane Bettencourt’s daughter set about trying to get Bettencourt declared a ward of court on the grounds those around her were exploiting her mental and physical frailty for personal gain. But what started out as a family affair quickly became an “affaire d’état.”</p> <p class="c2">Recordings secretly made in her living room in 2009 and 2010 exposed dubious tax manoeuvres and links with politicians and judicial officials. What with secret funding of a political party, tax evasion, influence peddling, abuse of a person’s frailty, fraud and misuse of assets, the “Bettencourt affair” became a leading news story from the summer of 2010 onwards. <br /><br />The judicial case was transferred to Bordeaux, where it resulted in more than ten formal investigations, including an investigation into former President Nicolas Sarkozy on suspicion of exploiting Bettencourt’s frailty for personal gain.</p> <h2 class="c2">Affair within the affair – the recordings</h2> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;" lang="en-GB"><i>Mediapart </i>and <i>Le Point </i>published extracts from the secret recordings on 16 June 2010. The man responsible for them was the billionaire heiress’ butler, Pascal Bonnefoy, who wanted to provide evidence that advantage was being taken of his employer, then aged 86.</p> <p class="c2">He handed the recordings over to Liliane Bettencourt’s daughter, Françoise, who in turn gave them to the Fraud Squad, which had been investigating suspected abuse of Bettencourt’s frailty since 2007.</p> <p class="c2">Mediapart learned of their existence a few days later and, on the grounds that they contained information of public interest, decided to publish extracts that excluded “all allusions to personal privacy and intimacy.” Of more than 20 hours of recordings, Mediapart and Le Point published only one hour.</p> <h2 class="c2">Court censorship and disproportionate sanctions</h2> <p class="c2">The removal of the recordings from the Mediapart and Le Point websites is the result a court’s opinion on the relative importance of privacy and the right to information of public interest. In its 4 July decision, the Versailles appeal court argued that revealing information of public interest can never justify an invasion of privacy.</p> <p class="c2">“<strong>The requirement to inform the public</strong> in a democratic society, specified in article 10 of the aforementioned convention [European Convention on Human Rights], which could have been satisfied by investigative and analytic reporting carried out under the right to confidentiality of sources,<strong> cannot be justified by the dissemination of recordings or even extracts of recordings that were obtained by violating the right to privacy</strong> as affirmed by article 8 of the same convention.”</p> <p class="c2">This ruling violates media freedom and does not accord with the judicial precedents established by the European Court of Human rights. The ruling in <a href="http://www.rtdh.eu/pdf/19990121_fressoz-roire_c_france.pdf">Fressoz and Roire v. France</a> established that revealing information of public interest can justify a violation of privacy, contrary to the Versailles appeal court’s ruling.</p> <p class="c2">The Versailles appeal court ordered Mediapart and Le Point to remove all the extracts of the recordings, even <a href="http://www.courdecassation.fr/jurisprudence_2/chambre_criminelle_578/497_31_22097.html">those</a> <a href="http://www.courdecassation.fr/jurisprudence_2/chambre_criminelle_578/497_31_22097.html">that constituted evidence in other cases</a> and <a href="http://www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/140610/sarkozy-woerth-fraude-fiscale-les-secrets-voles-de-laffaire-bettencourt?onglet=full">allowed the public to learn of scandals involving leading politicians</a> such as then budget minister Eric Woerth and former President Nicolas Sarkozy.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;" lang="en-GB">The Versailles appeal court’s decision also contradicts other European case law such as <a href="http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-62477#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-62477%22]}">Vereniging Weekblad Bluf! v. The Netherlands</a> (§43 and §44), on the absence of any requirement to prevent the publication of information that has already been widely disseminated, and <a href="http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/fra/pages/search.aspx?i=001-105409#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-105409%22]}">Pinto Coelho v. Portugal</a> (§38) on the journalist’s right to produce evidence of his claims.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;" lang="en-GB">The ruling in <a href="http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/sites/eng/pages/search.aspx?i=001-102129#{%22itemid%22:[%22001-102129%22]}">Público - Comunicação Social, S.A. and others v. Portugal</a> made it clear that draconian financial sanctions – such as 10,000 euros a day – tend to push journalists to censor themselves. The court ruled: “Such an award [of damages of 75,000 euros each against four persons] would inevitably be likely to deter journalists from contributing to public discussion of issues affecting the life of the community and was liable to hamper the media in performing their task as a purveyor of information and public watchdog.”</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;" lang="en-GB">For all these reasons, WeFightCensorship is publishing the content censored by the French judicial system.</p> <p class="western" style="margin-bottom: 0cm;" lang="en-GB">Download <a href="#forbidden-content">all the recordings and transcripts</a>.</p> <h2>Listen to a selection of extracts:</h2> <ol> <li> <p><audio tabindex="0" controls="controls" preload="auto" autobuffer=""> <source src="sites/default/files/raetat2.mp3" /> <source src="sites/default/files/raetat2.ogg" /> Download the <a href="sites/default/files/raetat2.mp3">mp3 file</a> </audio></p> <p title="date">This passage from the Bettencourt recordings reveals the links that existed at the time between Nicolas Sarkozy’s legal adviser, the manager of Liliane Bettencourt’s fortune, Patrice de Maistre, and then Nanterre prosecutor Philippe Courroye. It concerns a judicial decision in the dispute between Bettencourt and her daughter. There are grounds for thinking that the Elysée Palace and De Maistre may have learned of this decision more than a month before it became public.</p> </li> <li> <p><audio tabindex="0" controls="controls" preload="auto" autobuffer=""> <source src="sites/default/files/etat7.mp3" /> <source src="sites/default/files/etat7.ogg" /> Download the <a href="sites/default/files/etat7.mp3">mp3 file</a></audio></p> <p>Cheques for three leading politicians are being signed. Liliane Bettencourt is giving 7,500 euros each to Eric Woerth, Nicolas Sarkozy and Valérie Pécresse (who at the time was a candidate for Paris mayor).</p> </li> <li> <p><audio tabindex="0" controls="controls" preload="auto" autobuffer=""> <source src="sites/default/files/fisc3.mp3" /> <source src="sites/default/files/fisc3.ogg" /><a href="sites/default/files/fisc3.mp3">mp3 file</a></audio></p> <p>In this extract, De Maistre explains to his employer, Liliane Bettencourt, that he must go to Switzerland to close her bank accounts “before Christmas” because, on 1 January, the French government could obtain information from the Swiss authorities about the accounts of French taxpayers who are tax exiles. He is ready to transfer money from Bettencourt’s Swiss accounts to Singapore, another tax haven. As a result of the Mediapart and Le Point revelations, Bettencourt will have to pay the French government 100 million euros in readjusted back taxes.</p> </li> </ol> <h2>The Versailles appeal court decision of 4 July 2013:</h2> <p class="c2">PDF :<a class="c4" href="http://www.mediapart.fr/files/ArretVersailes-Bettencourt.pdf"> </a><a class="c4" href="http://www.mediapart.fr/files/ArretVersailes-Bettencourt.pdf">http://www.mediapart.fr/files/ArretVersailes-Bettencourt.pdf</a></p> <h2 class="c2">Preceding court decisions</h2> <h3>First decision: Paris high court</h3> <p class="c2">Liliane Bettencourt and her financial adviser, Patrice de Maistre, responded to the publication of the recordings by suing Mediapart and Le Point for violation of privacy on 22 June 2010. A Paris high court judge ruled on 1 July 2010 that the violation of privacy had to be defined by the content of the recordings and not just by the way they were obtained. Finding that the content was of legitimate public interest, the judge referred to article 11 of the <a href="http://www.textes.justice.gouv.fr/textes-fondamentaux-10086/droits-de-lhomme-et-libertes-fondamentales-10087/declaration-des-droits-de-lhomme-et-du-citoyen-de-1789-10116.html">Declaration of Human Rights and the Citizen</a> and article 10 of the <a href="http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_FRA.pdf">European Convention on Human Rights</a> expressing the need to reconcile freedom of expression and information with respect for privacy. He concluded that removing the recordings would constitute “an act of censorship contrary to the public interest.”</p> <p class="c2">PDF :<a class="c4" href="http://www.mediapart.fr/files/Ordonnance_Tribunal_de_Paris_0.pdf"> </a><a class="c4" href="http://www.mediapart.fr/files/Ordonnance_Tribunal_de_Paris_0.pdf">http://www.mediapart.fr/files/Ordonnance_Tribunal_de_Paris_0.pdf</a></p> <h3 class="c2">Second decision: Paris appeal court</h3> <p>A few days later, on 23 July, a Paris appeal court upheld the high court judge’s decision, finding that the violation of privacy was minimal because the content published by Mediapart and Le Point concerned the management of Liliane Bettencourt’s assets and Patrice de Maistre’s professional activities. Mediapart had selected the content posted in order not to violate Bettencourt’s privacy.</p> <p class="c2">PDF :<a class="c4" href="http://www.mediapart.fr/files/Arret_Cour_dAppel_de_Paris_0.pdf"> </a><a class="c4" href="http://www.mediapart.fr/files/Arret_Cour_dAppel_de_Paris_0.pdf">http://www.mediapart.fr/files/Arret_Cour_dAppel_de_Paris_0.pdf</a></p> <h3 class="c2">Third decision: Court of Cassation</h3> <p class="c2">The Court of Cassation quashed the appeal court’s decision on 6 October 2011 and transferred the case to the Versailles appeal court. The Court of Cassation found that recording private or confidential conversations without consent constituted a violation privacy that was not justified by the public right to information.</p> <p class="c2">PDF :<a class="c4" href="http://www.courdecassation.fr/jurisprudence_2/premiere_chambre_civile_568/898_6_21184.html"> </a><a class="c4" href="http://www.courdecassation.fr/jurisprudence_2/premiere_chambre_civile_568/898_6_21184.html">http://www.courdecassation.fr/jurisprudence_2/premiere_chambre_civile_568/898_6_21184.html</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_fr first last"><a href="/fr/censored/affaire-bettencourt-justice-censure-enregistrements" title="Affaire Bettencourt : la justice censure les enregistrements" class="translation-link">Français</a></li> </ul> Mon, 15 Jul 2013 14:46:43 +0000 gestion-abri 146 at https://www.wefightcensorship.org