Better to hide money in Delaware than Switzerland

The best haven for hiding money may be in the US

By 247 wallst Nov 2, 2009 12:02PM

Boss © RubberBall/SuperStockAll the tax evasion cases brought against customers at Swiss banks would lead most analysts to believe that Switzerland is the world capital of hiding money.


Numbered Swiss bank accounts are a legend based on the readiness of the financial system in Switzerland to keep the identities of its clients secret.

 

It turns out the Switzerland is not the best place to keep financial information and transactions under wraps; Delaware is.

 

The Tax Justice Network reviewed and ranked the secrecy of  jurisdictions according to lack of transparency and scale of cross-border financial activity. Its findings: Delaware tops the new Financial Secrecy Index for its “commitment to corporate secrecy and resolute lack of cooperation and compliance with international norms.”

 

London, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg rounded out the top five.

 

The results of the study should not come as any surprise. Most large U.S. firms and many smaller companies are incorporated in Delaware, whose legal systems favor the rights of business. That includes the ability of firms to keep a portion of their business practices and financial statements private.


Thousands of legal cases are brought against companies incorporated in Delaware every year. The Delaware Court of Chancery is highly regarded among corporate counsel for deciding disputes between corporations and their shareholders in the favor of the companies.

 

It is unlikely that American federal tax and corporate governance authorities will try to undermine or attack the ability of companies to use the Delaware statutes to keep their activities confidential.


Perhaps that is because it is easier to attack the Swiss as a foreign sovereign country undermining the IRS’s ability to collect money.

Delaware has been the corporate home of America’s companies for decades. Those companies will fight tooth and nail to keep the rights that the state’s courts give them.

 

Top Stocks writer Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

 

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