Wednesday, August 22, 2012

israel worse than switzerland:money laundering,Leumi bank,union bank,Bank Hapoalim

  1. israel worse than switzerland:money laundering,Leumi bank,union bank,Bank Hapoalim

    Tax Shelters: Why Israel Could Be the Next Switzerland - US - CNBC

    Published: Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012 | 3:38 PM ET
    By: Eamon Javers
    CNBC Washington, DC Correspondent

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    It looks like Israel is going to be the next Switzerland — at least as far as the Department of Justice’s investigation into offshore tax avoidance is concerned.

    Mike Kemp | Getty Images

    On June 14, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against three American tax preparers for helping clients avoid taxes by moving money to Israel.
    The transgressions detailed in the indictment were relatively small-time. The indictment said the father and son duo of David and Nadav Kalai and their colleague David Almog at a firm called United Revenue Service helped several clients duck taxes by moving money to two Israeli banks, identified only as “Bank A” and “Bank B.”
    Most of the financial transactions detailed were small — in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. The men could not be reached for comment.
    But the indictment revealed the existence of a grand jury that is almost surely going after much bigger fish. And the details provided in it appear to suggest that “Bank A” is Bank Leumi, whose private banking operation is headquartered in Tel Aviv, and “Bank B” is Bank Hapoalim, which also maintains its global private banking center in Israel’s second-biggest city.
    Calls to Bank Leumi for comment were not returned. Bank Hapoalim provided CNBC with a statement from its chief spokesperson, Ofra Preuss, who said, “we read the press reports and are checking into them.”
    To date, the U.S. government has successfully cracked the code of Swiss bank secrecy, forcing UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, to turn over thousands of names of American account holders to investigators, and taking similar actions against other Swiss institutions.
    Sources tell CNBC the new case is just the beginning of a potential series of indictments, which may snare some of the wealthy American clients who have hidden money in Israel, many for generations. That’s likely to be politically controversial, especially at a time when the U.S. and Israel are working closely together to contain a geopolitical threat from Iran.
    Add to that the political sensitivity of an Obama administration Department of Justice in an election year targeting a group of clients of whom many are likely to be Jewish or have historical family ties to Israel.
    “There are a substantial number of Americans with unreported assets in Israel,” said Scott Michel, a partner at the law firm Caplin & Drysdale who specializes in criminal tax fraud investigations. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it is on a par with Switzerland.”
    Attorney Bryan Skarlatos, a partner at the firm Kostelanetz & Fink LLP, said that he has clients who are being questioned in the wide-ranging investigation into Israeli bankers.
    “I have special agents asking questions about specific banks,” Skarlatos said. “They need evidence that somebody spoke to a banker and the banker had a sense that they were dealing with a U.S. person — they’re asking ‘did you give them your U.S. passport?’”
    Both Michel and Skarlatos spoke of allegations of cash-transfer banking, in which overseas bankers match up American clients who want to withdraw and deposit the same amount of cash with the foreign bank.
    The bankers appear in the U.S., typically at a hotel, and arrange for couriers to bring the cash to the hotel from the depositing customer, and later turn it over to the withdrawing customer, only later crediting each account for the transaction back in the foreign bank offices.
    It can be a dangerous way to avoid taxes, Skarlatos said.
    “Some people don’t want to pay taxes, but they’ll risk their lives having someone show up on their doorstep with $3 million in cash,” he said.
    In a highly technical and global economy, it’s getting more and more difficult for Americans to hide their assets overseas — and keep it hidden from the IRS. And that means the days of $3 million cash transfers may be coming to an end.
    © 2012

    Aug 8, 2012 by Admin
    ... Payments Ltd., which was registered in Malta but operated in Tel Aviv, Israel, sending the money to bank accounts in Cyprus and oTTAWA A Canadian businessman who pleaded guilty to money-laundering in San Diego in 2008 was able to hob-nob with ... Jacobson was one of 18 defendants indicted by a grand jury in San Diego in 2006 in connection with Affpower, an online pharmacy that shipped drugs to patients in the United States from Costa Rica without legal prescriptions.

  2. Repatriation Over Switzerland plus DHS NFA Gate Updat

    2 days ago by John MacHaffie
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    Citi: Outlook on Israeli banks deteriorating
    Citi cut recommendations for Leumi and Discount, but reiterated itsrecommendation for Hapoalim.
    24 July 12 10:30, Adi Ben-Israel
     Citi Research analyst Michal Klahr today cut his recommendations for Bank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) and Israel Discount Bank (TASE: DSCT), only reiterating his "Buy" recommendation for Bank Hapoalim (TASE: POLI), citing the sharp slowdown in the Israeli economy, which will affect the banks over the next two years. "We see the outlook for the Israeli banks worsening in the second half of 2012 and 2013 as the local economy weakens," says Klahr. "Tax receipts are falling. Food retail and auto sales are declining. The housing market is slowing. June CPI was minus 0.3% month-on-month. All suggest a major slowdown in domestic demand. Exports are also likely to remain under pressure due to ongoing issues in Europe. Volumes for both credit and fees are likely to slow, with non-performing loans and provisioning going higher."
    Klahr cut his earnings forecasts for the banks for 2012-13 by 40%, and cut his recommendations for Bank Leumi and Discount Bank from "Buy" to "Neutral". He kept his "Buy" recommendation for Bank Hapoalim, citing its "superior core banking return on equity (5 percentage point difference to Leumi in 2011) and higher target price to book ratio (p/B) according to our estimates."
    Bank shares have fallen sharply in the past year, and are traded at historically low capital multiples, causing some investors and analysts to believe that a buy opportunity has been created. However, Klahr believes that the low multiples reflect the prospect of a a major economic slowdown, a scenario he believes will materialize. For example, Discount Bank is traded at a multiple of 0.36 on capital, lower than the 0.4 multiple in the great crisis in 2008, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
    Klahr cut his target prices as follows: Discount Bank from NIS 7 to NIS 4; Bank Leumi from NIS 18.10 to NIS 9; and Bank Hapoalim from NIS 19 to NIS 15.60.
    Klahr cut his earnings per share forecasts as follows: Discount Bank from NIS 0.83 to NIS 0.62 in 2012, and from NIS 0.92 to NIS 0.62 in 2013: Bank Leumi from NIS 0.2/09 to NIS 1.03 in 2012, and from NIS 2.02 to NIS 1.01 in 2013; and Bank Hapoalim from NIS 2.46 to NIS 1.73 in 2012, and from NIS 2.36 to NIS 1.62 in 2013.
    Bank Hapoalim's share price fell 0.8% in morning trading to NIS 11.04, Bank Leumi's share price fell 0.4% to NIS 8.96, and Discount Bank's share price fell 1.1% to NIS 3.67.
    Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 24, 2012
    © Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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    UBS: The bad, good and unknown of Israel's banks

    Globes-Aug 21, 2012
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