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Euro Pacifc Bank & Perth Mint - Money Laundering, Tax Haven & Blacklisted?

Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member

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The Perth Mint signed the Bank of Cyprus up as a customer earlier this year despite the US State Department declaring the island a "major money laundering jurisdiction" and warning about its links to Russian organised crime.

As pressure mounts on the WA government-owned refiner over its sourcing of tainted gold from Papua New Guinea, The Australian Financial Review has been alerted to major gaps in its anti-money laundering protections.

The Perth Mint is dealing with a bank based in the British Virgin Islands, a known tax haven.

In addition to bringing the scandal-plagued Bank of Cyprus on as a customer, the Mint has granted "approved dealer" status to Euro Pacific Bank, from the British Virgin Islands, and Swiss private bank, BFI Consulting.

All three institutions provide offshore banking services to clients who may be seeking to avoid tax or disguise the true ownership of their assets.

One former law enforcement official, who asked not to be named as he still works in government, stumbled across the Mint's approved dealer list when investigating tax havens. The Mint was not a target of that investigation and no law enforcement action has been taken in response to its dealings with these institutions.

He described the Mint as a potential "money launderer's paradise" and raised the prospect that West Australian taxpayers could be guaranteeing the precious metal holdings of tax cheats, kleptocrats and foreign criminals.

As the price of gold remains above $US1900 an ounce, it and other precious metals are becoming an increasingly popular hedge against volatile financial markets.

The money-laundering issues follow a series of governance and compliance failures being revealed by the Financial Review, triggering two reviews, a corruption investigation and the Mint being black-banned by two big banks.

Government guarantee

Being a customer of the Mint's depository business allows clients to buy gold and store it at the Mint, where it is backed by a WA government guarantee. The Mint is the only refiner in the world to have such a guarantee.

The former law enforcement official questioned what additional due diligence the Mint carried out on customers of the three tax-haven institutions and if it knew the ultimate beneficial owners of the precious metal it was housing.

"It is possible the Perth Mint is being used to store the ill-gotten gains of criminals and kleptocrats from around the world," he said.

The Bank of Cyprus is the largest financial institution on the Mediterranean Island, which has long been considered a tax haven for Russian oligarchs.

Following the collapse of the Cypriot financial system in 2012, Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, referred to in Russian media as a former KGB official and ally of President Vladimir Putin, became the Bank of Cyprus' largest shareholder.

Despite improvements in recent years, the US State Department rates Cyprus a "major money laundering jurisdiction" and said its financial system was "vulnerable" to "foreign criminals".

The same report, released in March, rated the British Virgin Islands a "major money laundering jurisdiction".

Financial secrecy

The Basel Institution of Governance, a think tank, said in July a high level of financial secrecy undermined Switzerland's anti-money laundering frameworks.

The Mint is already facing an investigation by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), the world's largest precious metals exchange, over its dealings with PNG firm Golden Valley, which is owned by a convicted killer.

Golden Valley has acknowledged the existence of child labour and toxic mercury in its supply chain.

The LBMA investigation could result in the Mint losing its ethical sourcing accreditation, which this week prompted HSBC and JP Morgan to stop buying its gold.

The Mint is also facing an investigation by the WA corruption watchdog over nepotism and related party dealings.


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Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member
Two of the world's biggest banks blacklist Perth Mint


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Two of the world's largest banks, HSBC and JPMorgan, have stopped buying gold from the Perth Mint, citing potential damage to their reputation and concerns the government-owned refiner could lose its London accreditation.

The black ban follows revelations in The Australian Financial Review that the mint was buying up to $200 million of gold a year from a convicted killer in Papua New Guinea and that child labour.....


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Run from EPB and Perth Mint and don't look back eek¤%&
 

Admin

Forum Moderator
Staff member
Elite Member
The Perth Mint signed the Bank of Cyprus up as a customer earlier this year despite the US State Department declaring the island a "major money laundering jurisdiction" and warning about its links to Russian organised crime.
Somehow this comes to me as an suprise. I can't avoid to think if the USA is simply say so for their own advantage, considering they are one of the biggest tax havens them self with Wyoming, Delaware and other states.

Thanks for sharing @Martin Everson
 

Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member
If JP Morgan and HSBC drop and blacklist the Perth Mint then other banks who deal with those banks will have to blacklist Perth Mint in order to maintain relationships with those banks. EPB we already know is a bank used predominately by tax evaders and criminals. Why anyone would wait for EPB to be blacklisted or for Australian gov and Australian banks to force Perth Mint to terminate relationships with EPB and its likes is beyond me.

People can't say they weren't warned now :(.
 

Sols

Entrepreneur
Somehow this comes to me as an suprise. I can't avoid to think if the USA is simply say so for their own advantage, considering they are one of the biggest tax havens them self with Wyoming, Delaware and other states.
For context, this is the whole list of such jurisdictions:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Burma, Cabo Verde, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Cyprus, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Georgia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Laos, Liberia, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, St.Kitts and Nevis, St.Lucia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, Sint Maarten, Spain, Suriname, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Vietnam.

Source: https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Tab-2-INCSR-Vol-2-508.pdf

So they list themselves as a Major Money Laundering Jurisdiction. ;) It just means transactions involving these countries require extra attention, not that they are outright banned. Note that for example UK, Belgium, and Netherlands are on this list.
 

Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member
Anybody know whats happening with Europacific Bank? Seems it has lost a lot of its correspondence banking in certain currencies i.e AUD, HKD, NOK, NZD, SEK and SGD ca#"!. Looks like they lost Westpac as a correspondence bank....but please correct me if I am wrong...thx.
 

neweraoffshore

IT Nerd Offshore Guy
@Martin Everson i am 100% with you, still can't believe why so many still have EPB accounts. They changed their intermediate banks for EUR 4 times in 2019, this should have rang all alarms, already. Now Mint. And for every transfer out they now require crazy documentations, if you don't provide them correctly at the first time, they tell you that your account risk increased drastically and they have to close the account and you can do 1 last transaction to an account in the name of the UBO. Haha. And they know exactly that the UBO will get in trouble as he can't receive his money for which he didn't pay tax, was obtained illegally or is from a political exposed person on his name.

Listen to the warnings of @Martin Everson and look for a different bank...
 

Nishizawa

New member
All of us knows this day would come someday, but it's suprisethat things happen faster than I expected. Peter schiff always criticizes that Bitcoin will be over soon, but what actually ended was his poor banking service. LoL

It was a big mistake that I opened an account with the EPB a few years ago, and fortunately I heard some advice here and didn't deposit anything. If someone still has an account in the EPB, I hope they can realize what they should do before things get worse...
 
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xzars

Mentor Group Gold
Anybody know whats happening with Europacific Bank? Seems it has lost a lot of its correspondence banking in certain currencies i.e AUD, HKD, NOK, NZD, SEK and SGD ca#"!. Looks like they lost Westpac as a correspondence bank....but please correct me if I am wrong...thx.
True or not, the EPB will certainly have a hard time maintaining correspondences for currencies used in high tax 1st world as a non-CRS bank in PR. They've suffered correspondence turbulence for years now.

As a tax-allergic Swede, imagine having access to non-CRS Swedish Krona banking offshore; as a Swedish revenue official, imagine not trying to do anything about it. All good things come to an end.
 

xzars

Mentor Group Gold
Two of the world's largest banks, HSBC and JPMorgan, have stopped buying gold from the Perth Mint, citing potential damage to their reputation
Imagine HSBC taking a piss from the moral high ground. Most unusual. smi(&%smi(&%
 

Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member
Yes HSBC is taking the piss knowing their background but who can blame them in this climate.

Btw where are all the EPB customers on the forum? Are they too busy writing their "invited" reviews of the bank on Trustpilot ;). Just look at all the 5 star "invited" or "verified" via invitation reviews on Trustpilot for them. Did EPB offer you a discount to basically write anything on Tustpilot and give it 5 stars....lol? Just read the feedback, its just staff members been given praise for routine stuff...lol.

 

xzars

Mentor Group Gold
Give the EPB a break. Schiff is a great free market fellow who does us all a service! He helps the ones living in the U.S. and foreigners alike :)

Without guys like him who speak up, the "cancer", aka the government, would expand so big that having 40% of work force on public payroll would no longer be an embarassing nor rare statistic for a nation state. There's always some room for well-paid commissioners to be monitored by better-paid commissioners who take orders from a clueless but rich-as-fuck sister of a cabinet minister.

EPB banking sucks, I agree, but it doesn't supply the child labor or mercury to Perth Mint so in this case, they are not remotely related to incident. Unless I missed some fine print?
 

xzars

Mentor Group Gold
A guy whose bank makes money mostly off tax evaders is great?
So so.

We're unlikely to come to an agreement, but I'd come back with another question - a guy who advocates/implements progressive income tax is great?

If not, then the tax evader, the lesser of two evils, is a theft evader; certainly applies to a wealthy Swedish tax evader suffering from confiscatory rates. He already pays the burden of a hundred individuals, but the thief keeps asking for more.

There's a great personal sacrifice that goes into building profitable companies and that should not be disregarded. If the less productive society wants the rich guy to pay more, then the society owes the rich guy something else. How about the poor folk send their pretty daughters to suck off the rich guys while they're struggling with their business concepts? It's only fair share.
 

Phil123

Mentor Group Gold
Apologies if a little off topic!

I've only learned about EPB from this forum and a lot primarily from @Martin Everson reading his posts and strong opinions there (invaluable input!).

Opened an account there after doing simple reverse engineering of the above noticing how this fits well for particular scenarios and understanding how the flaws may become the advantages and the keys to achieve whatever needed at the time.

In particular this relates to people, I mean EPB employees.
I have checked the guys I was in contact with and they were easy to find on LinkedIn and all worked as freelancers aside from the tech team I was dealing with who were actually based in Puerto Rico and needed be contacted during their office hours.

All with their scripts as in any company, but when you consider people working from their homes all alone it's easier to build a rapport and to make sure when something is 50/50 it goes to 70/30 your way. It does not guarantee a success if you are asking them something you know they shouldn't but provides good chances. This is something not possible in a normal bank, but as we know EPB is not a normal bank!

I don't know their commission structure (EPB staff), but at the time I have received very good service whether during skype calls/chat/phone conversations. I still have some on Skype and even a group chat with one of their high level techs, all super helpful.
I have found something with their panel and the guy was trying to fix this as we chatted! (how crazy was that?)

I mean, hello, this is not possible in any other bank, not any standard bank and should not be, yet this level of service was offered.
I was not expecting anything but those guys were on it and a solution to a problem was found.

Also, by all means this should not be possible as this doesn't build much trust, but if someone considers EPB they must know better already!

In all honesty my experience with them was very similar to a small shop selling say bikes but working under a franchise from a big brand.
If you expect premium experience, quality and security you learned about from TV, well a cold shower is waiting.

However, it opens a lot of opportunities and know-how is scarce, which opens even more opportunities.

While for a minute I would not consider having a saving account there, there are reasons that a relationship with them could be considered, especially opening the account is so easy...

Anyway, apologies for a slight offtopic...

I was really laughing when I read that HSBC did something to protect their reputation... they took and laundered enough of narco money (billinions?), paid a small fine and would not be surprised if they were doing that again.
 

Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member
So so.

We're unlikely to come to an agreement, but I'd come back with another question - a guy who advocates/implements progressive income tax is great?

If not, then the tax evader, the lesser of two evils, is a theft evader; certainly applies to a wealthy Swedish tax evader suffering from confiscatory rates. He already pays the burden of a hundred individuals, but the thief keeps asking for more.

There's a great personal sacrifice that goes into building profitable companies and that should not be disregarded. If the less productive society wants the rich guy to pay more, then the society owes the rich guy something else. How about the poor folk send their pretty daughters to suck off the rich guys while they're struggling with their business concepts? It's only fair share.
No need for rich to complain about an oppressive tax systems. You pack your bags and move to a tax free or tax friendly country hap¤#".
 

Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member
In particular this relates to people, I mean EPB employees.
I have checked the guys I was in contact with and they were easy to find on LinkedIn and all worked as freelancers aside from the tech team I was dealing with who were actually based in Puerto Rico and needed be contacted during their office hours.
Yes EPB hardly employs anyone. They are mostly freelancers and carpet salesmen with no banking background that work for EPB when I last spoke to a member of staff. Not to take away their hardwork but 99.9% of them know nothing about the bank they work for. Just ask any of them if they know how much money the banks hold or whether the bank made a profit or loss. Then wait for the tumbleweed to blow past.
 

4br

New member
I am/was an EuroPacifc Bank customer. My account was recently terminated and I am in the process of moving out my funds.

I have been a customer for five years. I have had no problems receiving EUR and GBP. I have had an issue receiving USD. The sending party told me they got a response saying the bank account did not exist. But in this case I trust EPB over the sending party. I have probably received 100-200 incoming wires. Not sent anything out, except to another EPB customer.

The reason my account was terminated as during their seemingly 5-year request for me to renew all my documents they decided they do not like my address, which is in Serbia. Though I am not a Serb and the account otherwise has nothing to do with the country. I primarily have that address to spread my footprint and houses in Serbia are very cheap.

I imagine this became an issue as they used to be based in St Vincent, but moved to Puerto Rico. They likely changed their list of blacklisted countries due to regulation. Although Serbia is a safe country in my opinion, it remains on many banking blacklists. When I tried to open a personal account in Hong Kong in 2017 I noted that Serbia was one of only about five countries on blacklists. I was like "What da?!?"

I don't know what other banks are like, but EPB seemed heavy on regulation. There were a lot of forms to fill in when you have a new source of funds, which luckily I only ever had a handful. But they don't care about that. You could probably fill in those forms with anything.

Personally I am considering two things in light of the growing international dragnet:

- move my entire liquid estate into crypto (so I can be sure of my ownership)
- move to a low-tax jurisdiction like Hungary or Georgia, and pay their modest taxes for their sensible governments
 
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Martin Everson

Offshore Retiree
Mentor Group Gold
Elite Member
When I tried to open a personal account in Hong Kong in 2017 I noted that Serbia was one of only about five countries on blacklists. I was like "What da?!?"
Serbia was blacklisted for some with FATF and EPB (See my below post). But I believe it has been removed by FATF now but may remain on other blacklists.


EPB does lots of wire checks as they have no choice or they will keep losing correspondence banks. The issue is EPB has only two types of customers 1) Criminals and CRS avoiders 2) shell companies. That is simply not a good client business model in 2020 and Peter Schiff should be ashamed of himself for operating such a business. Him running to Puerto Rico to reduce his taxes is one thing. But actively taking on clients, who they know are avoiding CRS and avoiding paying taxes and then turning a blind eye is another.
 
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xzars

Mentor Group Gold
No need for rich to complain about an oppressive tax systems. You pack your bags and move to a tax free or tax friendly country hap¤#".
Works great until an exit tax is implemented, or strings-attached PIT regardless on non-residency status for x years if the new country has significantly lower rates.

I mean look at Schiff. He doesn't want to renounce and pay 40% of his net worth to Uncle Sam in exit tax so he keeps telling himself how great of a place Puerto Rico is for living. smi(&% smi(&%
 
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