If the Cooks are still a Tax Haven, is New Zealand, John Key even, responsible for it?

Companies which specialise in managing money and assets for the wealthy openly trumpet the attractions of the Cook Islands.

“Why choose Cook Islands as a tax haven ?” asks Sovereign Management and Legal Ltd on its home page.

“The Cook Islands offshore structures offer some of the best advantages for asset protection, tax planning and offshore banking, making it one of the most sought-after jurisdictions in the world.”

The trusts in particular are a favourite, because the assets they hold are virtually untouchable by outside parties.

Overseas court decisions, with the notable exception of New Zealand, involving disputed assets are unenforceable in the Cook Islands.

Little wonder the Cook Islands has become a favourite of wealthy Americans, including those convicted of Medicaid fraud, Ponzi schemes and pension fund frauds.

Allen Stanford, now serving 110 years in jail for a $7 billion investment fraud, had a Cook Islands trust, as did the wife of disgraced US market trader Marc Rich, who had $100 million in assets tucked away in it.

A leak of papers in 2013 to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) highlighted the role of the Cook Islands as a place to hide money with more than 700 trusts being identified.

Undoubtedly the Cook Islands is a thorn in the side of some financial authorities, given the European Union’s blacklisting move.

And it’s more than likely being used by the wealthy to avoid their responsibilities – fiscal or otherwise.

But New Zealand has long since stopped being the colonial master.

The Media Party and Labour will be trying very hard to link this to John Key somehow.

I guess we’ll all know how they plan to do it in a couple of days.




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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.