Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Fwd: I died laughing when the bullshitting zionist Mr Baconfat claimed that I did not respect Mark Steyn and yet he could not even spell his name correctly
From: David Amos <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2013 03:56:29 -0400
Subject: I died laughing when the bullshitting zionist Mr Baconfat
claimed that I did not respect Mark Steyn and yet he could not even
spell his name correctly
To: radical <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org,
"email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "t.wilson"
<email@example.com>, merv <firstname.lastname@example.org>, fstreed
Cc: David Amos <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
The demented fat bastard quickly corrected his spelling but the adress
of his blog tells the true tale. In fact I enjoy both Ezzy levant and
Mark Steyn's work even though I don't always agree with everything.
Free Speech is truly very important but their number one zionist
fanboy Mr Baconfat goes way overboard with his sexual harrassment
death threats and libel.
For the record I hate Ezzy Baby Levant in the same fashion that he
hates the nazi Arty Baby Topham (Hell I really hate Arty Babyand his
evil pals too)
Anyway on to prove a point. Here is a fairly recent email of mine
Remember back in 2005 when the Boyz from Brazil wanted a seat on the
UN Security Council? Trust that they wanted my documents bigtime back
Whereas today Harper and Franky Boy McKennna and their really old
crooked cronies such as Mulroney Martin and Chretien sang the praises
of Paul Desmarais aka a dead Bilderberger aka a Master of War I
figured I would point out who helped me to be informed of their
Scroll down and you can see some of my notes that inspired the letter
to the UN Dudes in 2005.
Notice Mark Steyn's work before he got in trouble with the evil Human
Rights Commission *May Jennifer Lynch QC NEVER rest in peace either EH
Arty Baby Topham?
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
c/o Director Bruce C. Rashkow
Office of Legal Affairs Room S#3430A
United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017
US Secretary of State
c/o James H. Thessin
Office of the Legal Adviser
22nd and C St. NW, Rm 6419
Washington, D.C. 20520-6419
Paul A. Volcker, know it all
banker and chair of Inquiry
into the UN Oil for Food Prog.
610 Fifth Avenue, Suite 420
New York, New York 10020
Senators Mark Dayton, Frank Lautenberg,
Thomas R. Carper and Daniel K. Akaka
c/o Elise Bean
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
199 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
H.E. Archbishop Renato Raffaile Martino
Permanent Observer Mission
of the Holy See to the UN
25 East 39th Street
New York, NY 10016-0903
Ph. (212) 370-7885
Fax. (212) 370-9622
Ambassador Jorge Godoy
Permanent Mission of the
Republic of Cuba to the UN
315 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
80 F St., N.W.,
Washington, DC 20001. Bobby L. Harnage, Sr., Nat. Pres. Phone: (202)
737-8700. Fax: (202) 639-6442
159 Burgin Parkway, Quincy, MA 02169. David Holway, Pres. Phone: (617)
1 202 639 6441 617 984 5695
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Paul Desmarais and corruption from Canada
The link in the title and this column by our friend Mark Steyn trace
the sordid relationships of Paul Desmarais, head of the Canadian
company Power Corp., which is a power player in both Canadian politics
and the UN's Oil-for-Fraud scheme that enriched Saddam Hussein. A
diagram of Power Corp.'s connections is here, along with the
observation that one of Power Corp.'s former presidents is the
architect of the Kyoto Protocol. Kyoto exempts developing economies
from its strict pollution controls, and Power Corp. has sizeable
investments in China.
Here are some of Power Corp.'s more notable UN-related ties:
[UN Oil-for-Food Program lead investigator Paul] Volcker, a former
Federal Reserve chairman, is a member of Power Corp.'s international
advisory board--and a close friend and personal adviser to Power's
owner, Paul Desmarais Sr. [A] U.S. congressional investigation into
the UN scandal discovered that Power Corp. had extensive connections
to BNP Paribas, a French bank that had been handpicked by the UN in
1996 to broker the Oil-for-Food program. In fact, Power actually once
owned a stake in Paribas through its subsidiary, Pargesa Holding SA.
The bank also purchased a stake in Power Corp. in the mid-seventies
and, as recently as 2003, BNP Paribas had a 14.7 per cent equity and
21.3 per cent voting stake in Pargesa, company records show. John Rae,
a director and former executive at Power (brother of former Ontario
premier Bob Rae), was president and a director of the Paribas Bank of
Canada until 2000. And Power Corp. director Michel François-Poncet,
who was, in 2001, the vice-chairman of Pargesa, also sat on Paribas's
board, though he died Feb. 10, at the age of 70. A former chair of
Paribas's management board, André Levy-Lang, is currently a member of
Power's international advisory council. And Amaury-Daniel de Seze, a
member of BNP Paribas's executive council, also sat on Pargesa's
administrative council in 2002.
Of course, the only news channel in the US that mentioned Power
Corp.'s connection to Volcker was FoxNews:
the Fox News story wasn't prompted by an announcement from Power of
some billion-dollar takeover or the appointment of a new senior
executive. It was something altogether different: the revelation that
the man handpicked by the UN secretary general last April to probe the
UN's scandalized Oil-for-Food program, Paul Volcker, had not disclosed
to the UN that he was a paid adviser to Power Corp., a story which had
originally been broken by a small, independent Toronto newspaper, the
Canada Free Press. Why did the highest-rated cable channel in the U.S.
care? Because the more that Americans came to know about Oil-for-Food,
which has been called the largest corruption scandal in history, the
more the name of this little-known Montreal firm kept popping up. And
the more links that seemed to emerge between Power Corp. and
individuals or organizations involved in the Oil-for-Food scandal, the
more Fox News and other news outlets sniffing around this story began
to ask questions about who, exactly, this Power Corp. is. And, they
wanted to know, what, if anything, did Power have to do with a scandal
in which companies around the world took bribes to help a murderous
dictator scam billions of dollars in humanitarian aid out of the UN
while his people suffered and starved?
As Steyn notes, Desmarais is such a major power broker in Canada, he
has intimate contacts with the past four Canadian PMs:
Most Canadians don't know Paul Desmarais at all. You could stop the
first thousand people walking down Yonge Street and I'll bet no one
would know who he is. But the few who do know him know him as the
kingmaker behind [Pierre] Trudeau, [Brian] Mulroney, [Jean] Chrétien
and [Paul] Martin. Jean Chrétien's daughter is married to Paul
Desmarais's son. Paul Martin was an employee of M. Desmarais's Power
Corp., and his Canada Steamship Lines was originally a subsidiary of
Power Corp. that M. Desmarais put Mr. Martin in charge of. In other
words, Paul Martin's public identity--successful self-made
businessman, not just a career pol, knows how to meet payroll,
etc.--is entirely derived from the patronage of M. Desmarais.
That in itself is a remarkable achievement. Imagine if Jenna Bush
married the chairman of Halliburton's son, and then George W. Bush was
succeeded by a president who'd been an employee of Halliburton:
Michael Moore's next documentary would be buried under wall-to-wall
Oscars and Palmes d'Or. But M. Desmarais has managed to turn Ottawa
into a company town without anyone being aware of the company.
But this gets worse, as Steyn shows:
During the Iraq war, for example, I mentioned en passant that Power
Corp. is the biggest shareholder in TotalFinaElf, the western
corporation closest to Saddam Hussein (it has since changed its name
to the Total Group). Total had secured development rights to 25 per
cent of Iraq's oil reserves, a transformative deal that would catapult
the company from a second-rank player into the big leagues with Exxon
and British Petroleum. For a year, the antiwar crowd had told us it
was "all about oil"--that the only reason Iraq was being "liberated"
was so Bush, Cheney, Halliburton and the rest of the gang could annex
in perpetuity the second biggest oil reserves in the world. But, if it
was all about oil, then the fact--fact--is that the only Western
leader with a direct stake in the issue was not the Texas oilpatch
stooge in Washington, but Jean Chrétien: his daughter, his son-in-law
and his grandchildren stood to be massively enriched by the
Total-Saddam agreement. It depended on two factors: Saddam remaining
in power, and the feeble UN sanctions being either weakened into
meaninglessness or quietly dropped. M. Chrétien may have refused to
join the Iraq war on "principle," but fortunately his principles
happened to coincide with the business interests of both TotalFinaElf
and the Baath party.
And yet, no one knows Desmarais like they know Bill Gates or Steve
Jobs. Why? Low profile. Have you ever heard of Cargill, Continental
(not the airline), Koch Industries or the Marmon Group? Those are four
enormous US companies that fly under the public's general radar
because they're all privately held by limelight-avoiding people, like
Profit Laundering and Tax Evasion
The Dirty Little Secret of Financial Globalization
by Lucy Komisar
The debate about cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy is a
false one. The issue is not whether transnational corporations and the
very rich benefit from tax cuts, but that many of them walk away from
all taxes. A General Accounting Office report found that between 1996
and 2000, 61 percent of all U.S. companies paid zero federal taxes.
They accomplish this primarily through "profit laundering," a phrase
that ought to be on the lips of every social critic.
Massive profit laundering sucks resources out of the United States and
other countries, beggars public programs, and lays waste the social
contract on which taxation must be based: that everyone pays a fair
amount. It hobbles legislators and officials who want to spend money
on social programs but can't dispute right-wing arguments that "there
is no money." There is no money because it's been filched from public
coffers with the help of the world's big banks, investment companies,
and offshore financial centers. The scam is accomplished via offshore
shell companies and bank accounts, and it is happening on a global
Figures on the amount of wealth offshore are hard to come by, as none
of the international financial institutions has seen fit to lay out
the global picture. In 1999, Merrill Lynch's "World Wealth Report"
estimated that one-third of the wealth of the world's "high net worth
individuals" (as banks like to call them), then $11 trillion, might be
held offshore. In 2004, Merrill Lynch revised its wealth figure to
$28.8 trillion, but it was no longer estimating how much of that was
hidden in tax havens. As the percentage of wealth offshore has been
growing, the number would likely be $10 or $12 trillion. Such an
estimate was made by "The Global Wealth Report" for 2003 by the Boston
Consulting Group (BCG). It estimated the total holdings of cash
deposits and listed securities of high-net-worth individuals at $38
trillion and then broke that down by North America-$16.2 trillion, of
which less than 10 percent was controlled offshore; Europe-$10.3
trillion of which between 20 percent to 30 percent was controlled
offshore; Middle East and Asia-Pacific area-$10.2 trillion, with
assets controlled offshore ranging from 10 percent (Japan) to 70
percent (ME); and Latin America-$1.3 trillion, of which more than 50
percent is held offshore.
How much of the money that moves around the world is offshore? The
International Monetary Fund estimates that assets held in tax havens
equal about 50 percent of total cross-border assets. And according to
Merrill Lynch and BCG estimates, assets held in tax havens, beyond the
reach of effective taxation, would equal one-third of total global
gross domestic product, the value of goods and services, which in 2003
was $36.2 trillion.
If the U.S. government were able to collect these evaded taxes, they
would fully fund every social program currently on the books. During
the 1950s, U.S. corporations accounted for 28 percent of federal
revenues. Now, corporations represent just 11 percent. If big
corporations paid taxes of 35 percent on their U.S. profits, as the
law requires, corporate income taxes in 2002 would have been $308
billion instead of an estimated $136 billion.
The reverberations of these losses extend to the states. The
Multistate Tax Commission estimates that state governments lose as
much as $12.4 billion a year to various forms of tax sheltering.
How It Works
This is how the international tax-evasion system works, both for
corporations and for individuals. In both cases, the system is based
on the seventy "offshore" centers-tax havens-where secret shell
companies and bank accounts are used to carry out transactions that
create paper profits and losses, and where the legerdemain is immune
from the eyes of tax authorities and law enforcement. There are about
three million shell companies. Offshore centers, with 1.2 percent of
the world's population, hold 31 percent of the assets and 26 percent
of the stocks of American multinationals.
The offshore venues assess little or no taxes on foreign-owned shell
companies. Some of these shells have no function other than to hold
the assets of corporations or individuals. The offshore banks that
handle the shell company money are not underground operations run by
unknown shady characters. The banks' managers may indeed be shady, but
most of them work for subsidiaries of the multinationals-Citibank,
Bank of New York, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Société Générale, Deutsche
Bank, and others.
More than half of world trade is within corporations, not between
them. And half the world's trade goes through offshore centers, as
corporations shift profits to where they can avoid taxes. Companies
set up offshore "subsidiaries" that, on their books, perform functions
that allow the firms to cut their taxes. The simplest ploy is the
"sale" and "rental" back of a company's logo or other intangible
assets. Or money stashed in tax havens is "loaned" back to the U.S.
company, which then deducts interest payments on its tax returns.
Even more important is transfer pricing: allocating profits for tax
and other purposes among parts of a multinational corporate group.
Offshore "trading" offices or companies handle imports and exports,
buying a U.S. export from a company at a sharply reduced paper cost
and selling it abroad for the real-world market value, so the
exporting company makes no profit. That stays with the tax haven
trading company. In the reverse, a company buys goods at a real price
and "sells" to the U.S. firm at a grossly inflated one, so the U.S.
firm has a huge cost to deduct when it uses the item in manufacture or
resells it at a loss.
Simon Pak of Penn State University and John Zdanowicz of Florida
International University used aggregate customs data to examine the
impact of over-invoiced imports and under-invoiced exports on U.S.
federal income tax revenues for 2001. The findings were staggering.
Would you buy plastic buckets from the Czech Republic for $973 each,
tissues from China at $1,870 a pound, a cotton dishtowel from Pakistan
for $154? U.S. companies, at least on paper, were getting very little
for their exported products. If you were in business, would you sell
bus and truck tires to Britain for $11.74 each, color video monitors
to Pakistan for $21.90, and prefabricated buildings to Trinidad for
$1.20 a unit? After all the deductions, the U.S. company has minimal
profits. The offshore centers levy no taxes on "profits" claimed
there. Comparing all the stated export and import prices to real-world
prices, the professors figured the 2001 U.S. tax loss at $53.1
Companies using transfer pricing may file tax returns that show they
are operating at a loss. What does Wall Street think? No problem: the
United States allows companies to keep two sets of books, one for the
Internal Revenue Service, the other for the Securities and Exchange
Commission. The IRS sees a company deep in the hole, while stock
buyers are pleased by profits that soar.
Transfer pricing is legal only if there is a true business purpose to
the offshore entity. However, this rule is virtually never enforced,
and account books in tax havens are off-limits to foreign tax and law
Offshore is also used to hide companies' overall balance sheets so tax
authorities can't judge if their returns are valid. A Miami private
investigator told me, "If I have a Colombian company that imports
Mercedes trucks from Germany, the company ordering the trucks will be
registered in the British Virgin Islands or Curaçao. The order will be
made by the 'Dewey, Cheathem and Howe Company'; no Colombian firm will
handle invoices. Colombian tax authorities won't know how much
business they're doing."
The Bermuda Inversion
Since the late 1990s, some companies have been combining transfer
pricing with the offshore transfer of their incorporations-especially
to Bermuda. As non-U.S. companies, they have many more opportunities
to avoid taxes by making deductible interest, management fees, or
royalty payments to the new sheltered "foreign" parent. There was an
outcry when Stanley Works announced it was moving its headquarters-on
paper-from New Britain, Connecticut, to Bermuda and shifting its
imaginary management to Barbados. (See Dissent, Spring 2003, "Offshore
Banking: The Secret Threat to America," by Lucy Komisar.) Though its
building and staff would stay in Connecticut, where the company
manufactured hammers and wrenches, it would no longer pay taxes on
profits from "international trade." It turns out that Stanley was
planning to save on more than the taxes on business done outside the
United States. With the help of its accountants, Stanley indicated in
2002 that even though it had paid $7 million U.S. tax on foreign
income in 2001, the move would save at least $25 million in U.S.
taxes, which suggests that Stanley was planning to cut taxes on U.S.
profits by turning them into foreign profits. The immediate effect of
the planned move would have been to increase the income of Stanley
executives, who were already being paid millions. When the attorney
general of Connecticut went to court, Stanley pulled back.
But others haven't. Tyco moved its management from Exeter, N.H., to
Bermuda, then set up more than 150 subsidiaries in Barbados, the
Cayman Islands, Jersey, and other offshore havens. Many of the shell
companies played accounting games to shield Tyco interest, dividends,
royalties, and other income from United States taxes. In 2001, Tyco
reported that although 65 percent of its revenues came from the United
States, only 29 percent of its "income" did-a ploy that immediately
erased 71 percent of its $36 billion profits from its U.S. tax
"The whole business [of offshore companies] is a sham," fumes New York
District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. "The headquarters will be in a
country where that company is not permitted to do business. They're
saying a company is managed in Barbados when there's one meeting there
a year. In the prospectus, they say legally controlled and managed in
Barbados. If they took out the word 'legally,' it would be a fraud.
But Barbadian law says it's legal, so it's legal."
The AFL-CIO and several unions are supporting shareholder resolutions
and legal actions against the Bermuda inversions. The AFL-CIO filed a
brief endorsing a shareholders class action suit against Nabors
Industries, a Houston-based operator of oil-drilling rigs. The
Laborers International Union is also campaigning against Nabors.
AFSCME, the public employees union, filed shareholder resolutions
asking Tyco and Ingersoll-Rand, a New Jersey industrial manufacturer,
to return their corporate registrations to the United States. UNITE
HERE, the textile and hotel and restaurant workers union, is targeting
Cooper Industries, an electricity company. The AFL-CIO wants global
companies to be registered where they operate, which are jurisdictions
with real taxes and real corporate governance, says Damon Silvers,
AFL-CIO associate general counsel.
Whereas public companies may leave a paper trail, it's harder to track
down offshore tax cheating by individuals. Success often depends on
serendipity and clues turned up by other investigations. Nearly 3,400
of the people reporting incomes of $200,000 or more in 2001 claimed
that they owed no U.S. income taxes, a rise of nearly 45 percent over
2000. But that is only a fraction of individual tax evaders. Most of
them simply don't report the bulk of their incomes; they use offshore
shell companies as the owners of real estate, stocks, and companies.
At least half the hedge funds, which cater to the mega-rich, are
offshore, many in the Cayman Islands.
People open accounts with foreign brokers or set up foreign trusts and
have the trustees buy the funds. To access cash, they use credit cards
issued by the offshore banks or stock brokerages. They charge payments
or withdraw money from U.S. ATMs and never have records on file in the
United States. Some offshore credit cards have monthly charge limits
as high as $1 million, not your normal "application-in-the-mail"
plastic. The IRS says that as many as a million Americans may be
paying their bills with credit or debit cards issued by offshore
banks. Only a small number report their accounts, as required by law.
A few years ago, John M. Mathewson of San Antonio, Texas, accused by
the Justice Department of money-laundering, made a plea bargain and
turned over bank records that showed 1,500 tax-evading Americans with
unreported accounts in his Guardian Bank and Trust Limited of the
Cayman Islands. He admitted he was helping his clients evade taxes and
that the other five hundred banks in the Caymans were doing the same,
all helped by Cayman laws that strictly limited government and bank
disclosure of bank records and personal information associated with
depositors. The system, he said, was the basis of the Cayman financial
industry. Depositors accessed their money easily through credit cards
or anonymous wire transfers through the Guardian's accounts in the
Bank of New York, Credit Suisse, and other cooperative banks.
Beginning in 2002, the IRS has gone to court to get the major credit
card companies to turn over accounts held by U.S. citizens in more
than thirty offshore venues. But while that net may snare a lot of
doctors and small businesspeople, it will miss the really rich, who
run their money through offshore shell companies registered in the
names of "nominees"-local lawyers and accountants. In a little
reported but revealing (and honest) slip of the tongue, George W. Bush
said in a campaign speech at the Northern Virginia Community College
in Annandale last August, "On the subject of taxes, just remember when
you talk about 'we're just going to run up the taxes on a certain
number of people,' first of all, real rich people figure out how to
dodge taxes, and the small business owners end up paying a lot of the
burden of this taxation."
An inquiry by Senator Carl Levin in 2004 revealed that Riggs Bank in
Washington, D.C., had helped ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet hide $8
million from Chile's tax authorities. Until 1998, Riggs owned a share
of Valmet, an Isle of Man operation that set up shell companies and
accounts to hide and launder money for companies controlled by the oil
mogul Mikhail Khodorkovsky, now in a Russian jail, and for Robert
Brennan, the New Jersey penny stock fraudster now in U.S. federal
The impact of all this tax cheating is enormous. It robs public
treasuries and constitutes an assault on the country's welfare and
security. Health care, food programs, police and fire protection,
educational opportunities, all are slashed and remain permanently out
of reach because "there's not enough money."
Honest citizens pay extra every year to make up some of the
difference. But you don't hear them blaming corporations or rich tax
cheats for the size of their own tax bills. You don't hear domestic
firms, which can't match the prices of multinational transfer-pricing
competitors, complain about the skewed playing field. The scams that
corporations use to launder profits are not on the public agenda. And
most people don't understand how it is that rich individuals opt out
of the tax system. Furthermore, corporate public relations has largely
succeeded in convincing people that corporate tax "avoidance" is
legitimate, that it's okay for multimillion-dollar companies, run by
executives who pay themselves seven- and eight-figure salaries, to pay
as little in taxes as they can get away with, even down to zero.
The situation is worse in developing countries, which lose tax
revenues greater than the $50 billion in annual aid flows, according
to a report by Oxfam International. And when governments starved of
taxes don't have the money to finance decent public services,
privatization and cuts in social programs are presented as the only
In 1970, Congress, worried that rich Americans were evading taxes and
that accounts were often linked to criminal activity, required
taxpayers to report foreign bank accounts. But offshore secrecy made
it easy for people to ignore the law. IRS inspectors tracking tax
cheats were not allowed to see the accounts.
Beginning in the early 1980s, the issue of offshore tax havens was
taken up in U.S. congressional hearings. However, except for a few
years at the end of the Clinton administration, the American
government's prime interest has been not to do anything to impede the
free flow of capital or decrease other countries' reliance on the
dollar. The Treasury Department wanted to "liberalize" financial
flows, not regulate them.
In the late 1990s, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development worked out a policy for dealing with tax havens. It said
it would take "defensive measures" against jurisdictions that had no
or only nominal tax rates, that engaged in "ring fencing" (giving tax
preferences only to foreigners who don't do business there), and that
lacked transparency and allowed no effective exchange of information.
But then George W. Bush came to power. At the G-7 finance ministers
meeting in February 2001, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill expressed
concerns that the OECD was trying to dictate other countries' tax
rates. In May of that year, he said that the OECD demands were "too
broad" and withdrew U.S. support. Some tax havens pulled back from
negotiating with the OECD.
At the end of the Clinton administration, the IRS proposed requiring
U.S. banks to report the interest they pay to foreign depositors. The
goal was not only to curb tax cheating by foreigners in their home
countries but also evasion by Americans pretending to be foreigners.
After Bush was elected, his brother Jeb, governor of Florida, wrote
O'Neill warning that adoption of the Clinton proposal "could trigger a
massive withdrawal of [nonresident alien] deposits in U.S. banks." The
American Bankers Association predicted "serious economic harm" to the
The United States already shares such bank information with Canada.
Elise Bean, Democratic staff director of the U.S. Senate Permanent
Subcommittee on Investigations, said, "There was a scream and a holler
especially from banks with Latin American money that if we report it
to the home countries, everybody's going to leave." Indeed, the tax
cheats and drug traffickers and other criminals might leave. So the
plan was slashed to include only a small number of mostly European
countries. Countries with major tax evasion problems, including
Russia, Mexico, other Latin-American and third world nations, were
After the events of September 11, 2001, anti-money-laundering measures
were included in Title 3 of the Patriot Act. But multinational banks
and brokerages, which make big commissions on offshore accounts and
stock trades, intervened to water down the bill. In a letter to Paul
Sarbanes, chair of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban
Affairs, Financial Services Roundtable president Steve Bartlett
expressed the financial industries' support for cutting a provision
that would have made tax evasion or fraud against a foreign government
a money-laundering offense because the United States "should not
prevent foreign citizens from seeking a safe haven in America for
their assets." Although Bartlett worried that citizens of countries
with repressive governments would not be able to hide their money in
the United States, cutting the amendment also meant that banks did not
lose tax-evading accounts.
The Patriot Act requires the identification of customers of securities
firms, which doesn't mean much unless that includes the names of
beneficial [real] owners of offshore corporations. As Jack Blum, an
expert on the offshore system who ran the Senate investigations on BCG
and Iran/contra, told me, "Treasury was hammered to death by the
securities industry, and that will not be required under customer
identification. It should be there." Now terrorists, drug traffickers,
and tax cheats can trade in stocks through U.S. brokerages undetected.
Adding insult to injury, the Bush 2004 tax bill gave a one-year "tax
holiday" to corporations that brought back to the United States the
money they had been stashing offshore to evade taxes. Instead of
penalizing these profits-launderers by banning their offshore scams
and demanding full tax payments, the government said that they could
pay taxes on claimed offshore income at lower rates than if they had
reported it as U.S. profits. Republicans blocked moves to make Bermuda
inversions illegal or even to ban such tax evaders from federal
contracts. Last year, Congress passed largely ineffective provisions
that apply only to companies that inverted after March 4, 2003, a date
intended to protect the big-name companies that have already inverted.
Hilary Cain, Ways & Means counsel for Representative Lloyd Doggett,
said, "The provisions are estimated to raise a pathetic $830 million
over ten years, a drop in the bucket when it comes to the amount of
revenue that is probably being lost to these inverted companies."
This shift in the tax burden has occurred without public debate and
with the cooperation of both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate
Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. The few
legislators fighting offshore tax evasion-led by Senators Carl Levin
and Byron Dorgan and Representative Lloyd Doggett-are stymied, because
they don't have active support from civil society. Progressives should
be organizing such support. In 2003, a network of political action and
development groups, most of them European, founded the Tax Justice
Network (www.taxjustice.net) to raise the tax evasion issue
internationally. In the United States, such groups as Citizens for Tax
Justice and Citizen Works are working on tax issues, but they must be
joined by others. Globalized greed threatens the well-being of us all.
Since the summer, the federal government has cut back funding for
dozens of Superfund sites eligible for cleanup money, ordered reduced
aid to millions of college students, slashed money for housing and
community development by a third, and announced cuts in food stamps
and in health projects aimed at diseases related to poverty. Taxes
don't have to be raised to pay for these programs, they just have to
A policy program to end the offshore tax evasion system would include
o Corporations should be taxed according to where they operate: where
workers exist and real value is added, not where they carry out paper
transactions or where they file corporate registrations.
o There should be an international agreement to tax multinational
corporations on a unitary basis, with subsidiaries' profits computed
as part of the whole.
o Transfer pricing and intra-company transactions, such as loans and
rental of logos, aimed at reducing taxes should be made illegal.
o There should be one set of books for the SEC and the IRS, not two.
o Banks and brokerages should be required to obtain the names of real
beneficial owners, who are persons, not shell companies or straw
o Banks and companies that wish to do business in the United States
should be required to practice full company and account ownership
transparency and cooperate with American law enforcement.
o U.S. law should include domestic and foreign tax evasion as a
predicate crime for money laundering.
o On a global level, there should be automatic information exchange
between countries' tax agencies.
o Corporate executives and their lawyers and accountants should be
liable for criminal penalties-mandatory jail terms-for profit
laundering and tax evasion.
o Companies that proclaim adherence to corporate social responsibility
should commit to rejection of transfer pricing and other tax evasion
o A corporation's payment of fair taxes and its rejection of tax
evasion should be a condition for approval by socially responsible
Both we and our elected officials must find a way to put these
proposals before the U.S. public in a comprehensive and comprehensible
way. If we don't, the money will never be available to enrich society
as a whole.
Lucy Komisar, a New York journalist, is writing a book about the
offshore bank and corporate secrecy system. She is a member of the
steering committee of the Tax Justice Network.
Sources Consulted for this Article:
Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office, "Comparison of Reported
Tax Liabilities of Foreign- and US-Controlled Corporations 1996-2000,"
"Corporate Tax Sheltering and the Impact on State Corporate Income Tax
Revenue Collections," July 15, 2003.
"U.S. Trade with the World: An Estimate of 2001 Lost U.S. Federal
Income Tax Revenues Due to Over-Invoiced Imports and Under-Invoiced
Exports," Oct. 31, 2002,
Merrill Lynch's "World Wealth Report," 2004.
IMF paper Offshore Financial Centers June 23, 2000.
IMF September 2004 World Economic Outlook
Mark Lopatin, "Tax avoiders rob wealth of nations," the London
Observer, November 17, 2002.
"Calif. Opens Attack on Illegal Tax Shelters/ With Revenue Down, Other
States May Use Campaign as a Model," by Jonathan Weisman, Washington
Post, December 4, 2003.
"Tax Havens: releasing the hidden billions for poverty eradication,"
June 2000. www.oxfam.org.uk/what_we_do/issues/debt_aid/tax_havens.htm
"U.S. Trade with the World: an Estimate of 2001 lost U.S. Federal
Income Tax Revenues Due to Over-invoiced Imports and Under-invoiced
Exports," by Simon J. Pak and John S. Zdanowicz, Florida International
University, Oct 31, 2002.
"Money Laundering and Tax Havens: The Hidden Billions for
Development," Report of a Conference organized by the
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, July 8-9, 2002, New York.
"The Taxonomist: The Tax Cheaters' Lobby, How the banking industry and
the right foment tax evasion," by Robert S. McIntyre, American
Prospect, November 18, 2002.
"Uncle Sam Gets Shorted By the Bermuda Bye-Bye," by Allan Sloan,
July 5, 2002.
"The Tax Games Tyco Played." by William C. Symonds, with Geri Smith,
Businessweek, July 1, 2002.
Speech by New York district attorney Robert Morgenthau at the
Brookings Institution, Washington D.C. June 5, 2002.
Damon Silvers, AFL-CIO associate general counsel, interview with the
author, December 12, 2002.
"Federal Court Approves Service of IRS Summons on Mastercard," press
release from U.S. Department of Justice, August 22, 2002.
"Private Banking and Money Laundering: A Case Study of Opportunities
and Vulnerabilities," Minority Staff of the U.S. Senate Permanent
Subcommittee on Investigations,February 5, 2001.
"Shell Games: Brash Russian Banker And His Deals Are Key To Laundering
Probe-Mr. Kagalovsky's Menatep Set Up Offshore Firms Alleged to Skim
Millions-Cashing In on the Isle," by Andrew Higgins, Alan S. Cullison,
Michael Allen, and Paul Beckett, Wall Street Journal, August 26, 1999.
Elise Bean, speech at "Dirty Money and National Security," conference
sponsored by the Brookings Institution, Washington D.C., September 10,
Contact Dissent Magazine
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Born to former Dayton Hudson Corp. Chairman Bruce Dayton and the late
Gwendolen Brandt Dayton. He is the great-grandson of George Dayton, a
one-time banker who opened a dry-goods store in 1902 that became a
national retailing powerhouse.
Mark attended Long Lake Elementary School in Hennepin County and then
Blake School in Minneapolis, where he graduated, cum laude, in 1965.
Like many Minnesota kids, Mark was a hockey fanatic. He spent his free
time on the ice practicing to be a star goalie. His hard work earned
him a place on Blake's " All State" first team in his senior year.
Following high school, Mark attended Yale University where he majored
in psychology, played varsity hockey, and graduated, cum laude, in
1969. While at college, he joined Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity,
whose then-president was now-President George W. Bush! After working
as a hospital orderly for three summers during high school he thought
he wanted to become a doctor so he completed pre-med course
requirements while at Yale.
However, Mark decided medicine was not the right fit for him so after
graduation he took a job teaching at P.S. 65, a tough school on New
York's Lower East Side, and lived part of the time with a family on
welfare. With three years of teaching under his belt followed by
experience as a counselor for runaways, then as chief financial
officer of a Boston social service agency, Mark felt a call to public
Mark's interest in public service led him to join the Washington staff
of then-Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale in 1975. He focused on
education, children and youth, and small business. Mark never dreamed
that a quarter-century later, he would inhabit his own office in the
same building as Senator Mondale once did.
When Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter selected Senator Mondale as
his running mate the following year, Mark joined the campaign. At the
campaign headquarters in Atlanta, he worked as a driver,
midnight-to-dawn telecopy operator, and all-around go-fer. Immediately
following Carter's election victory, Mark returned to Minnesota to
work for incoming-Governor Rudy Perpich and was asked to head the
Minnesota Department of Economic Development. He served in that
position for nearly two years.
In 1978, Mark married Alida Rockefeller, whose brother, Senator Jay
Rockefeller, is currently one of Mark's Senate colleagues. They have
two sons: Eric, age 23, and Andrew, age 20. Alida and Mark were
divorced eight years later; however, they remain dedicated parents and
Spurred by a growing recession and national energy crisis that hit
rural Minnesota particularly hard, Mark founded and led the Minnesota
Project in 1979. This economic development and public policy
organization continues to support the social, environmental and
economic health of Greater Minnesota communities.
Soon after Ronald Reagan was elected President, Mark began his own
campaign for the United States Senate. He defeated former Senator
Eugene McCarthy in the DFL primary; but in the 1982 general election,
lost to incumbent Senator David Durenberger.
The following year, reelected Governor Rudy Perpich appointed Mark the
Commissioner of an expanded Minnesota Department of Energy and
Economic Development. During his tenure, he set up the newly created
Minnesota Economic Development Authority, which offered tax and other
financial incentives to businesses willing to locate or expand and
create jobs in Minnesota. He also developed the Minnesota Star City
Program, an initiative begun by his predecessor, which trained local
officials, business owners, and other community leaders throughout the
state to retain existing businesses and recruit new businesses into
their cities. He also organized another new program established by the
legislature, under which he named the first "Enterprise Zones" in
Mark left state government four years later and founded the Vermilion
Investment Company. During this time, he also went through a 28-day
alcohol treatment program. For the next few years, he devoted himself
to his recovery, business, and family.
In 1990, Mark ran for State Auditor and won. He served one, four-year
term in a position he describes as "the Taxpayers' Watchdog." During
this time, he formed a Special Investigations Unit to uncover misuse
and theft of public funds in cities, counties, townships, and school
districts throughout Minnesota. He also served on the boards of the
state Executive Council, the state Board of Investment, the state Land
Exchange Board, the Public Employees Retirement Association, and the
Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. Mark also successfully led the
opposition to corporate attempts to use public pension funds to prop
up their financially ailing operations.
Following his time as State Auditor, Mark co-chaired the Reelection
Committee of his long-time friend, Senator Paul Wellstone, and served
as its Finance Chairman. In 1997, Mark launched his own campaign for
Governor of Minnesota; however, he lost in the DFL Primary to
then-Attorney General Skip Humphrey.
In early 2000, Mark was eager to once again have a role in statewide
politics. Early in the year, he announced his candidacy for the United
States Senate seat then held by Senator Rod Grams. After hearing from
hundreds of Minnesotans during his gubernatorial campaign, Mark
launched a series of bus trips to Canada, funded by donated Senate
salary, called the "Rx Express." These trips continue today to provide
seniors with a way to buy much-needed prescription medicines at
substantially lower prices. He also created the "Healthcare Help
Line," which is in its fourth year of assisting Minnesotans with
problems they have with their insurers.
In September, Mark won the DFL primary and eight weeks later was
elected to the United States Senate. On January 3, 2001, he was sworn
in as the 33rd Senator from Minnesota and as the 1,846th Senator in
the nation's history.
Mark serves on four Senate Committees including Agriculture,
Nutrition, and Forestry; Armed Services; Governmental Affairs; and
Rules. He is also a member of the House-Senate Joint Committee on
Printing, which he chaired in 2003.
William H. Taft, IV
c/o Fried Frank
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Office: Washington, DC
Phone Number: 202.639.7164
William H. Taft, IV is of counsel resident in Fried Frank's
Washington, DC office. He joined the firm in 1992. In 2001, Mr. Taft
was appointed by President George W. Bush as Legal Adviser to the
Department of State. After four years of service at the State
Department, he rejoined the firm and became of counsel.
Mr. Taft concentrates his practice in government contracts counseling,
international trade, and international litigation and arbitration.
Prior to joining Fried Frank, Mr. Taft was U.S. Permanent
Representative to NATO from 1989 to 1992. Before that, he served as
Deputy Secretary of Defense from January 1984 to April 1989 and as
Acting Secretary of Defense from January to March 1989. From 1981 to
1984, Mr. Taft was General Counsel for the Department of Defense.
Prior to his initial appointment to the Department of Defense, Mr.
Taft was in private law practice in Washington, DC, from 1977 to 1981.
Before entering private practice, he served in various positions at
the Federal Trade Commission, the Office of Management and Budget and
the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, where he was
appointed by President Ford in 1976 to serve as General Counsel.
Mr. Taft received his JD in 1969 from Harvard Law School and his BA in
1966 from Yale University. He is admitted to the bar in the District
Office of the Legal Adviser (L)
Legal Adviser William H. Taft, IV
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Samuel M. Witten
Counselor on International Law
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c/o John R. Bolton
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democrats will not allow a vote on
President Bush's choice for U.N. ambassador unless the White House
hands over records of communications intercepts Bolton sought from the
secretive National Security Agency, Minority Leader Harry Reid said
"You can't ignore the Senate. We've told them what we've wanted. The
ball is in his court," Reid, D-Nevada, told CNN. "If they want John
Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations, give us this information.
If they don't, there will be no Bolton."
The Senate fell four votes shy of the 60 needed to cut off debate on
Bolton's nomination in May after two Democrats on the Foreign
Relations Committee urged their colleagues to hold the issue open.
Sens. Joseph Biden, the ranking Democrat on the committee, and
Christopher Dodd have demanded the Bush administration produce
documents 10 National Security Agency communications intercepts that
Bolton, the State Department's undersecretary for arms control, had
requested since 2001.
White House Communications Director Nicole Devenish called Reid's
stance "another effort to distract from the work that the people want
to see done here in Washington."
"This request for additional information is clearly a stalling tactic,
and one that I think the American people are growing weary of," she
But Reid said Bush is responsible for breaking the impasse -- not Democrats.
"The president is obstructing a vote on John Bolton," he said. "We've
asked for simple information that Congresses over many decades that we
have been in existence have been given by the White House."
The Senate confirmed Bolton for four previous government jobs dating
back to the 1980s. But his nomination to the U.N. post has been more
controversial, since he has been an outspoken critic of the world body
in the past.
During a Federalist Society forum in 1994, Bolton said: "If the U.N.
secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit
The White House says Bolton's blunt style and skepticism about the
United Nations is needed to promote reform within the organization.
But opponents also have criticized his handling of the diplomatic
standoffs over the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea during the
past four years.
The Foreign Relations Committee, in a rare move, sent his nomination
to the full Senate without a recommendation, and Ohio Republican Sen.
George Voinovich has urged colleagues to vote against Bolton's
Bush criticized the delay last week, telling reporters that the
information Democrats want was given to Senate Intelligence Committee
Chairman Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas and ranking committee Democrat
John Rockefeller, D-West Virginia.
But Democrats have tried to argue that lawmakers have a right to that
information in order to make an informed decision on Bolton, who has
been accused of threatening intelligence analysts whose conclusions
did not match his. (Full story)
"We know very categorically that John Bolton tried to have fired two
intelligence analysts because he didn't like the conclusions they
reached about America's intelligence," Dodd told CNN's "Inside
"That, to me, is going way beyond the prerogatives of a policymaker
here. Did he go further than that? I need to know the answers to those
questions. I have a right to know it as a senator -- not me
personally, but the Senate does."
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The Senate will confirm John Bolton as U.S.
ambassador to the United Nations when it returns from a weeklong
recess and Democratic requests for more information are "just an
excuse" to further delay, Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday.
In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," Cheney said he was
confident Senate Republican leaders would gather the votes to end
debate on the contested nomination. Republican efforts to do so last
week ended four votes shy of the 60 needed. Two senators did not vote.
"We've got the votes to confirm him. I'm convinced we will get him
confirmed," Cheney said. "We just need three more and I think we'll
get those when they come back."
On Thursday the Senate put off the vote on Bolton after Democrats
demanded the Bush administration hand over more information that may
show Bolton tried to misuse U.S. intelligence to promote his hawkish
views. Bolton, a favorite of conservatives, is currently the top U.S.
diplomat for arms control.
"The information that they've requested basically has been made
available to the chairman and ranking member of the Intelligence
committees," Cheney said.
"There's nothing there. This material has been reviewed, the
information they're asking for. I think it's just an excuse."
Cheney said he could wholeheartedly endorse Bolton, who Democrats
accuse of being a bully who will damage U.S. relations with the United
"He's tough. But I can't think of sending somebody to the United
Nations as our ambassador who's not tough. I mean the U.N. is in some
Cheney mentioned the Iraq oil-for-food scandal and said the body had
been unable to deal with Iraq for 12 years. The United States invaded
"And I think the United Nations, and the president believes the United
Nations badly needs to be reformed. We need a good, tough ambassador
up there," Cheney said.
"Somebody who will go up and not get captured by the international
diplomatic crowd, if you will, but is there as America's
representative to the U.N."
l New York Permanent Mission
Permanent Observer: H.E. Mr. M. Nasser Al-Kidwa
115 East 65th St.
New York, NY 10021
Ph. (212) 288-8500
Fax. (212) 517-2377
Syria's U.N. Ambassador Denies Bush Claim
Friday June 10, 2005 8:01 PM
By EDITH M. LEDERER
Associated Press Writer
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Syria's U.N. ambassador on Friday denied
President Bush's claim that Damascus was still interfering in
Lebanon's affairs, calling the allegation part of ``a smear campaign''
and maintaining that all Syrian intelligence operatives have
Fayssal Mekdad was responding to concerns raised earlier at the White
House by Bush that Syrian intelligence officers were still operating
in Lebanon in violation of a U.N. Security Council resolution
demanding the withdrawal of all troops and intelligence operatives.
In comments clearly aimed at the Bush administration, he said the
``smear campaign'' reflects displeasure at the results of recent
elections in Lebanon and is an attempt ``to deepen differences between
different Lebanese forces, and to create problems for a constructive
relationship between Syria and Lebanon.''
Mekdad said in an interview with The Associated Press that ``certain
circles'' also want ``to kill'' the recent report by a U.N.
verification team on Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon.
He said the report ``confirmed that Syria has fully withdrawn its
troops, intelligence and assets.'' Syrian troops entered Lebanon in
1976 after the start of that country's civil war.
However, the report said the team could not ``conclude with certainty
that all the intelligence apparatus has been withdrawn'' because
``intelligence activities are by nature often clandestine.''
``I think what the report said on the nature of these operations is
correct,'' Mekdad said. ``We want the team to ensure us if there are
no other intelligence services in Lebanon. But what we are sure of in
Syria is that we have withdrawn everybody.''
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday he is considering sending
the U.N. team back to Lebanon to check reports that Syrian
intelligence officials still may be operating in the country.
U.S. in Face-Off With U.N. Hopefuls
Washington, along with China and Russia, wants to delay vote on a
bigger Security Council. Four aspiring nations vow to push ahead
By Maggie Farley, Times Staff Writer
UNITED NATIONS — The United States, China and Russia are trying to
delay a vote to expand the Security Council before a summit here in
September, diplomats say, but four countries aspiring to proposed new
permanent seats declared Wednesday that they would defy U.S. pressure
and push for a key resolution this month.
In a conference call Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
told foreign ministers from the other countries with permanent seats
on the Security Council — China, Russia, Britain and France — that the
U.S. wanted to postpone this month's vote, possibly until after the
summit in September, ambassadors from two of the countries said.
But the hopefuls known as the G-4 — Germany, Japan, India and Brazil —
said U.S. resistance would not deter them.
"Possibly it may hasten the vote," said Indian Ambassador Nirupam Sen.
"I don't think it will delay it."
Japan's U.N. ambassador, Kenzo Oshima, fought to correct media reports
that Japan had agreed to push back the vote.
"The United States is an important member, but it is only one member,"
On Wednesday, the group circulated a new draft of a resolution that
would change the United Nations Charter to allow six more countries to
become permanent members of the Security Council — including two
unnamed African countries — and add four rotating seats. The council
now has five veto-holding permanent members and 10 members elected to
The new draft does not spell out whether the new members would have
veto power — which the five permanent Security Council members oppose
— but implies that they would forgo the veto for at least 15 years,
when the decision would be reviewed.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended restructuring the council
to make the U.N. better reflect new "political realities" and better
able to cope with new security threats in a world that has changed
dramatically since the organization's creation 60 years ago. He
expressed a preference for consensus, but if arguments threatened to
delay action, he said, the matter should be put to a vote so that
world leaders can decide in September.
Two-thirds of the 191-member General Assembly must first vote to amend
the charter to expand the council, a public ballot tentatively
scheduled for the end of June. Then they must select the six new
permanent members, ideally in July, before ambassadors leave for the
Then two-thirds of U.N. member nations — and all five permanent
members of the council — must ratify the amendment for it to take
effect. Even if the General Assembly overwhelmingly approves the
change, the U.S. or China could kill the amendment simply by refusing
to approve it.
That threat hangs over the intense lobbying that is preceding this
month's vote. China has made it known that it does not want to see
Japan, its regional rival, gain a stronger diplomatic voice. Chinese
Ambassador Wang Guangya has called the G-4's push for a vote
"divisive" and "dangerous" and said China would do everything it could
to block it.
Russia has sided with China and wants to keep the Security Council as
is, fearing a diminution of its power.
The United States has endorsed only Japan for a permanent seat, noting
that the nation gives more money to the world body than Britain,
France, Russia and China combined. Rice, after meeting with German
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, declined to endorse Germany's bid
but said the U.S. had made "no determination or decision" about it.
Rice also said the U.S. needed more time to sort out the implications
of a larger Security Council for the global balance of power and
reforms at the U.N.
France broke with the rest of the permanent members Tuesday, lending
its weight to Germany's goals by cosponsoring the G-4 resolution.
Britain supports the resolution but has not decided whether to sponsor
That puts the Americans in the uncomfortable position of siding with
the Chinese and Russians. The fight over Security Council expansion
also threatens to derail essential reforms under negotiation.
"It's not that we don't want change. We are very much for U.N.
reform," said Richard A. Grenell, a spokesman for the U.S. mission to
the world body. "We just have to figure out the best way to do it.
Security Council reform is just one piece of the puzzle."
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Harper, Sarkozy among dignitaries who paid tribute to Paul Desmarais
Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2013 3:10PM EST
MONTREAL -- Tributes poured in for the late Paul Desmarais on Tuesday
at a commemorative ceremony headlined by a veritable who's who of
public figures past and present.
Four Canadian prime ministers, a former French president and five
Quebec premiers were among those who attended a two-hour memorial for
the business tycoon at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica. He died Oct. 8
at the age of 86.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and two of his predecessors, Jean
Chretien and Brian Mulroney, delivered eulogies for a man described as
both a business titan and a humble, giving friend.
Canada's most wealthy: Thomson, Weston family fortunes see
double-digit growth Former Power Corp. chief Paul Desmarais Sr. dead
at 86 Photos
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy escorts Jacqueline Desmarais
during a commemorative ceremony for businessman Paul Desmarais in
Montreal on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN
Prime Minister Stephen Harper pays tribute to businessman Paul
Desmarais during a commemorative ceremony in Montreal on Tuesday,
December 3, 2013. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Sophie Desmarais pauses as she read a eulogy to her father,
businessman Paul Desmarais, next to her sister Lise, right, during a
commemorative ceremony in Montreal on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. (Paul
Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard and his wife Solange Dugas
arrive at a memorial service for Paul Desmarais in Montreal on
Tuesday, December 3, 2013. (Paul Chiasson / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
GESCA Ltee Director Paul Desmarais appears before the Kent Commission
inquiry into the news paper industry in Ottawa on April 7, 1981.
(Chuck Mitchell / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Mulroney, a longtime friend, recalled an exchange he observed years
ago between Desmarais and a couple of the businessman's employees at
his estate in Quebec's Charlevoix region.
Only a few days earlier, Mulroney and Desmarais had eaten dinner
together with the Queen at 24 Sussex Drive.
"I saw Paul seated on the porch with...two of his most trusted
workers," Mulroney told hundreds of people who had packed the Basilica
pews for the ceremony.
"They were talking about plans for a new garage and a new road for
access to the property. I was listening to their conversation on that
morning... when something struck me.
"I realized that Paul was interacting with the workers exactly the
same way he had with Her Majesty. He was the same man: warm, funny,
respectful and direct."
Desmarais, a native of Sudbury, Ont., took over a near-bankrupt family
bus operation and eventually built a multibillion-dollar business
empire. Over the years, he cultivated political connections on
Tuesday's crowd of political and business heavywieghts also included
Quebec Premier Pauline Marois and her predecessors Daniel Johnson,
Lucien Bouchard, Bernard Landry and Jean Charest.
Also present were former prime minister Paul Martin, ex-media mogul
Conrad Black, former Bombardier president Laurent Beaudoin, ex-Bloc
Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe, former federal Liberal leader Bob Rae
and his successor, Justin Trudeau.
In his eulogy, Harper praised Desmarais as a canny entrepreneur who
saw opportunity within Canada and abroad.
"He foresaw the rise of China as a great trading nation and got there
long before others," the prime minister said in a five-minute address.
"He understood early the transformation brought about by the unity of
Europe and the role it would play in Canada's economic future, a
potential now being realized in no small part thanks to the
trailblazing efforts of Paul and his connections and those he
Harper expressed his admiration for Desmarais and called him a humble,
generous and unpretentious man.
"He never once raised personal business interests with me," said
Harper who also appreciated Desmarais' steadfast belief in Canadian
"Indeed, the one and only common theme of every subject we ever
discussed was his country, Canada: its uniqueness, its prosperity, its
challenges, its unity."
Testimonials heard Tuesday about Desmarais' life also reminded the
audience of his powerful contacts.
Chretien, whose daughter France married Desmarais' son, Andre,
recalled how he met with Desmarais after being named parliamentary
secretary to then-finance minister Mitchell Sharp in the mid-1960s.
"I told Paul that I didn't know anybody in the big business world,"
said Chretien, who shared four grandchildren with Desmarais.
"I asked for his help. Forty-eight hours later, we were having lunch
with the president of the Royal Bank, Earle McLaughlin. That was Paul
Desmarais at his best."
The A-list in attendance on Tuesday also included former French
president Nicolas Sarkozy, who has admitted he owed much to Desmarais.
When Desmarais was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 2008,
Sarkozy said he was president partly because of the Canadian's advice,
friendship and loyalty.
On Tuesday, Sarkozy likened his friend to a tireless fighter and
recalled how incredibly sad he was when Andre Desmarais told him of
his father's death.
"It was over," he said in a eulogy. "We'd never speak again."
"My dear Jackie (Jacqueline Maranger, Desmarais' widow), not a day has
gone by since that I haven't thought about your husband.
"In my life I haven't met too many people with the standing of Paul
Desmarais. I will always be proud to say I was his friend."
Desmarais also cultivated high-level friendships at the White House.
The guest list for a Desmarais housewarming party in 2003 included two
former U.S. presidents: Bill Clinton and George Bush.
During Tuesday's memorial service, former U.S. secretary of state
James Baker read out a statement prepared by Bush.
"Paul was that rarest of men, who possess not only the drive, the
integrity and the vision to succeed spectacularly in business, but
also a tremendous capacity for friendship," Bush's statement said.
"He was what I would call a true point of light, helping and usually
leading many worthwhile causes. So, yes, I liked and I respected this
good man immensely. At age 89 and a half, I recognize more than ever
the importance and the blessings of friendship."
Baker himself also paid homage to Desmarais, noting how observers have
said the businessman had a pipeline into every prime minister's
office, regardless of who was in power.
"And you take one look at the list of today's eulogists and I think
you see the validity of that comment," said Baker, who described
Desmarais as "notre ami."
"Paul Desmarais was a friend, both to Canada and to the United States."
Baker also credited Desmarais for being a capitalist who supported
free trade, particularly the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
"Yes, Paul Desmarais was proof that what we call the American Dream in
my country has been alive and well in Canada," he said.
Desmarais' path to power began in Sudbury, where he was born in 1927.
He left law school to take over the family's ailing bus company in
A series of smart moves resulted in the creation of a holding company
that in 1968 made a share-exchange offer with Power Corp.
With his company's diversified holdings in insurance, transportation,
paper, media, and financial services, Desmarais was one of the most
notable members of his province's business elite, often referred to as
His empire included Great West Life, London Life and Canada Life in
the insurance industry; the Investors Group and Putnam Investments;
the Gesca newspaper chain, with its flagship Montreal La Presse; and
stakes in the oil company Total S.A. and the Pernod Ricard liquor
He helped open the door to Canadian businesses in China by leading a
commercial delegation there in 1978. He was the founding chairman of
the Canada China Business Council.
However, it took eight years before Power Corp. launched a business
venture there. It now invests in infrastructure projects in China
through its stake in CITIC Pacific Ltd.
By the time he handed daily operations of the company to his sons in
1996, Desmarais had seen Power's assets increase to $2.7 billion, from
Power Corp., through its Square Victoria Communications Group
subsidiary, and together with the corporate parent companies of the
Toronto Star and Globe and Mail newspapers, owns The Canadian Press.
Canadian Business magazine ranked Desmarais as the wealthiest Quebecer
and Canada's seventh-wealthiest person, with a fortune estimated at
Despite his heft in the business world, he was discreet when it came
to discussing politics.
Desmarais, however, was a staunch Canadian federalist.
Only on rare occasions did he voice his views publicly. During his
last annual meeting as Power's chief executive in 1996, he extolled
his belief in Canadian unity.
"My profound attachment to Canada stems from the great liberty and
freedom that my ancestors were able to enjoy in building their lives
in a new country, the same liberty and freedom which allowed me as a
young French-Canadian from Northern Ontario to realize his dream in
building a business in all parts of Canada and abroad."
Even with Desmarais' longtime opposition to Quebec's independence
movement, he still managed to win the respect of those on the other
side of the contentious debate.
"We were totally opposed on many matters -- the national fate of
Quebec of course, the management of modern capitalism," former Parti
Quebecois premier Landry said after Tuesday's ceremony.
"But for many other things, internationalism, culture, we were on the
same floor. And that's why we remained friends."
An art lover, Desmarais had one of Canada's largest private art
collections. Two wings of Montreal's Fine Arts Museum are named in
honour of his family.
He also had a deep appreciation for music and Montreal's Orchestre
Metropolitain performed at Tuesday's service.
Mulroney said while Desmarais was renowned for his skills in business
in finance, he was less well-known for his vast knowledge of music,
history and architecture.
"Every day with Paul, and I had hundreds with him, both here and
around the world -- every one was a good one," Mulroney said.
"Something to learn. Something to do. Some new place to go. Some
fascinating people to meet.
"With him, life was a whirlwind of achievements and discussions and
debates, laughter, good times and fun."
- With files from Sidhartha Banerjee, Peter Rakobowchuk and Melanie Marquis