8 Countries That Take Bank Secrecy Seriously
By Bob Bauman


Down through history, whenever a major war or other calamity has threatened, ever-greater hoards of foreign cash have flowed into Swiss bank accounts because the world knows Switzerland traditionally stands for safety.

With the U.S. Internal Revenue Service claiming worldwide powers, it’s certainly no longer easy for Americans to open a Swiss or other offshore bank account.


But the list of friendly offshore bankers, even for Americans, is longer than you might think. And accounts in selected offshore financial centers offer everyone what U.S., U.K, French and German banks no longer can guarantee—much stronger asset protection and greatly increased banking privacy.


For Americans, a foreign account also provides a choice of stronger non-dollar currencies, plus a means for direct trading and investing in more profitable foreign equities, precious metals and tax-deferred insurance and annuities.


The Swiss banker won’t roll out as warm a welcome to Americans as he once did—but Switzerland is still on a short list of places that every American should consider investigating for banking advantages.

That is so because, even with all the post-UBS tax-evasion scandal fallout, Switzerland still has one of the strongest bank-secrecy laws anywhere, even when dealing with the U.S. government. If anything, all their recent troubles and the attendant publicity have made Swiss bankers more aware of obligations to clients and protective of clients’ rights.


Other banking countries that make my short list and should be on yours are: Liechtenstein, Denmark, Austria, Singapore, Hong Kong, Panama and Uruguay.


Each of these countries’ banks has a different level of protection and different requirements for clients. While in general banks in each country are wary of U.S. clients because of the demands of high-handed U.S. laws such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), selected banks there often are willing to open trust or corporate accounts controlled by Americans.


But be ready to comply with now-universal “know your customer” rules requiring proof of citizenship and current residence, as well as signing IRS Form W-9 allowing the bank to confirm your taxpayer identifications number (TIN) and notify the IRS of payments to you.


The 1934 Swiss Bank Secrecy Law, still in effect, was a direct response to the rise of Hitler and the threat of war.

Seventy-eight years later, savvy Argentines are escaping that country’s ruinous policies by banking in neighboring Uruguay, and Putin’s beleaguered Russian business people are pouring billions of rubles into banks in far more friendly Cyprus.


History proves my point: an offshore account can serve as your personal shield against oppressive government, stifling regulations and declining currencies.


Editor’s note: America was built on the principles of freedom—and that includes the right to be financially free. Bob Bauman is one of the experts who contributed to the Safe Haven Strategies to Reduce Your Taxes, Preserve Your Privacy, and Reclaim Your Freedom Overseas report. Get your copy here.

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Panama is starting to look like the Dubai of the Americas and it is often compared with that famous city. This project joins the Biomusio in Amador which was designed by Frank Gehry and is scheduled to open next year.

The new convention center, which represents an investment of 149 million euros, seeks to place Panama as the best choice for business events in Latin America. During 2011, the Central American country hosted 66 international conferences and expects to close 2012 with a total of 126.


The facility, whose opening is scheduled for 2014 and will be implemented by the HPC-Contractors consortium, composed of Panamanian capital, Spanish, Puerto Rican and.


Located near the Panama Canal and Diversity Biomuseo, the complex of 57 thousand square meters has 16 meeting rooms, a theater for 1947 people and an amphitheater for 2,000 people. In addition to the exhibition hall of 15,000 m2, will have a restaurant and a multipurpose room with about 4,000 m2.


Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ernesto Orillac, during EIBTM, Barcelona reported that Panama will receive at least 40,000 visitors to participate in over 15 events worldwide over the next two years.


One such event, the Ironman sports tournament Panama, involve the arrival of 2,000 visitors in February 2013. By May of next year is expected to meet World Missionary Movement congregate about 15,000 people across the Americas.


Among its projections, the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) is proposed to generate nearly 400,000 room nights in late 2014 and also obtain an acceleration of tourism growth of 12% to 15%, as explained Orillac.

In 2011, Panama hosted 66 conferences and plans to reach 126 events and 120,000 room nights in 2012. The realization of these meetings provided 90,000 nights of hotel in 2011, the official said.


Currently, the country canal has over 600 hotel facilities with a total of 23,500 seats. International hotel chains have invested in housing infrastructure in recent years, and in the period 2012-2013 is expected to open 50 stores.

In 2011, Panama received 2 million international visitors with revenues of EUR 2,000 million. The ATP believes that 2012 will close with 2.2 million visitors.


The new convention center is part of a solid investment process, as well as hotels of famous brands and works as Biomuseo, opening in 2013, including major infrastructure additions such as the metro, the Panama Canal expansion and a new terminal at Tocumen airport, which handled more than six million passengers in 2011.


Thomas H. Brymer II

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Upon the suggestion of a relative, I made the trip out to Bala Beach Resort the other day to see just what it had going on.  I have heard that in the preconstruction sales phase back in 2006 - 2008, there were many North Americans snapping up the nicely sized units on the Caribbean side of the ithsmus.


This is true.  The first phase, consisting of two buildings, is almost completely sold out, and titles are finally being legalized, and deals are being closed.  More on that later.


First, I want to say that the experience of being on that side Panama is pleasant.  There was a nice breeze and the sun was shining.  The surf is a little rough, but there are several beaches nearby, including Isla Grande, which is always an nice get-away.  The beach has very nice white sand and is shaded by perfectly spaced palm trees, of course one doesn't need to get ones feet sandy to enjoy the water.  Although only one pool is complete, there are plans for several more.


Driving onto the property, you still get the feeling of construction, and incompletion, but that will come.  I got the feeling of confidence in the developer after speaking with them, that they truly care about the project and want it to be one of the nicest in Panama.  The buildings and the units themselves show that in the quality.  I could see and feel that quality on my tour.  Quality and unique finishes right down to the floor, with a beautiful light brown bamboo.  Open glass views over the grounds, pool, and ocean put me in awe for a moment, and I see a lot of views from a lot of buildings in Panama.


To play devil's advocate, there were a couple things I noticed that may serve to work against sales in the developments though.  The drive from the city is great, quick and easy.  It's when you enter Nuevo Colon and some of the towns heading to the resort along the coast, that you see the extreme poverty of the area, which can bother some people obviously.  Especially after reading all of the government website warnings for tourists to avoid Colon for it's crime.  I haven't mapped the route from the airport, but I would guess a 2 hour drive.  It is exactly one hour from my office in the city.


There has been chatter of a new international airport in Colon as well, so that would cut travel time to about 45 minutes and lend to increasing property values in the area for anyone that cares.


Also, the white sand is trucked in, so it will have to be replenished from time to time as the ocean will most certainly carry it away.  The surf is large, the water fairly rough, but shallow.  All in all, a decent beach.


The finishing touches are being completed on phase one right now as excited owners get ready to take possesion of their vacation spaces in paradise.  Here's the thing though.  The economy took quite a hit after the presales frenzy on this complex.  The developer has informed me that there are deals to be had, as not everyone was able to close, and with the second phase selling, there are deals to be had there as well.  


The bottom line is, I am a believer in this project, and now is going to be the very best time to buy here, as there are deals to be had from people unable to close.  The area is only beginning to see an influx of developers eager to exploit the area's beauty, and the government is only too happy to help by providing the improved ifrastructure necesary to sustain such rapid growth.


You can see pictures, prices, and floor plans in my property listings section.

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30 November 2012

PUNTA PACIFICA, Panama -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Trump Ocean Club(R) International Hotel & Tower Panama is pleased to announce that they have selected Sun International to operate the expansive, on-site casino slated to open mid-year 2014. Helping to further elevate the entertainment experience at the award-winning hotel, the 75,000 square foot casino will be located on the Mezzanine level and will showcase numerous offerings including 32 gaming tables for blackjack, poker, roulette, baccarat, among others, as well as a superior collection of 600 slot machines showcasing numerous diversions for both the amateur and experienced gamer. The casino will also have a fine-dining restaurant and expansive bar & lounge. Enjoying spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and City, a Salon Prive will be set on the 66th floor for private gaming, which will also include an intimate restaurant and lounge. The 65th floor will reserve private suites for most elite clientele and gaming enthusiasts.

"Trump Panama has quickly established itself as a world-class destination for leisure and business travelers alike offering exceptional service and amenities. The opening of the casino will bring our guest experience to a whole new level," said Mark Stevenson, Vice President & Managing Director of Trump Panama. "We are excited to be working with Sun International, a company that shares our standards of service excellence and superior experiences."

Sun International acquired the space at Trump Panama and rights to operate the casino for $45.5 million. The company plans to invest a total of $60 million to build-out and fully develop the multiple spaces. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sun International is a globally recognized public company that has an impressive portfolio of 27 resorts, luxury hotels and casinos operating in eight countries. The company prides itself on successful leisure group offerings focusing on superior gaming, hotel and entertainment experiences that exceed customer expectations. With Monticello in Chile, Trump Panama will be Sun International's second operation in Latin America.

"Given Trump Panama's icon status, great location and superb brand standards that match our own, we are very confident that upon opening, the casino will attract hundreds of local and foreign visitors annually," says Sun International's Acting GE, Garth Collins.

Having just celebrated its one-year anniversary in July 2012, Trump Panama has become one of the most sought-after hotels in the region. With a resort feel in the heart of the vibrant Panama City, the property attracts thousands of leisure and business travelers, as well as group and incentive travelers from North and South America. Most recently, the property was named the top #2 hotel in Central America by Conde Nast Traveler 2012 Readers' Choice Awards. With the opening of the casino, Trump Panama will further set itself apart as the only hotel of its kind in Latin America.    

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