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Question Simplest offshore bank set-up?

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JossZoomer

New member
Good morning everyone

I see an enormous amount of information on this forum about complex offshore company structures and so forth.

I am only in need of an offshore bank account that is resistant to potential minor civil litigation in my home country. From what I have read, CIM in Switzerland supposedly offers a reasonable package, though I'm not sure whether it's open for non-Swiss at the moment. I hold several nationalities, one of them from the EU, and simply want somewhere secure for around EUR 800K to tide me over for the next decade. The money is clean and documented. (The issue is mainly my ex-wife.)

In an ideal world, I would also be able to invest the money in ETFs and so forth, but I understand that this may not be possible with some bank accounts. At very least, the bank would offer me a credit card against the funds and would operate in a reasonably stable jurisdiction in a major currency.

Can anyone suggest something from personal experience besides CIM?
 

uplana

Corporate Services
Mentor Group Gold
From what I have read, CIM in Switzerland supposedly offers a reasonable package, though I'm not sure whether it's open for non-Swiss at the moment
they are open for foreigners, just apply for an account with them.

In an ideal world, I would also be able to invest the money in ETFs and so forth, but
Search the forum for the large thread International Brokers and NAGA there you may find opportunities.
 

Sols

Staff member
Mentor Group Gold
If this person is already your ex-wife or is likely to be one in the near future, it's probably too late to take action

While you can open a personal bank account with CIM or one of many other banks within a couple of weeks and wire the money over there, creditors can still claim your assets and win in court.

Sure, you can refuse to pay but you would be in violation of local laws. Local courts can try to compel you to move the money and can even try to petition the bank to release the funds. However, if your 800,000 EUR remains unmoved in that account, the courts may be able to just come after you personally and, depending on what local law says, make your life hell and drain what assets you have until the equivalent of your ex-spouse's share has been obtained.

What you are after is called asset protection. It needs to be set up years in advance, with good intentions (or at least no reasonable proof of maliciously hiding assets), and structured correctly. The most common setup is a trust or foundation (or similar arrangement) into which you surrender your assets. They are then controlled by a trustee in a jurisdiction that has laws protecting you, the trustee, and the assets. And even if local courts there take up the case, your structure should hold. Cook Islands, Nevis, Panama, Liechtenstein, USA, and Mauritius are some popular examples.

Then, after some time, you can release the funds back to yourself.

Speak with an attorney.
 

JossZoomer

New member
Thank you for your comprehensive reply.

The funds are 'dark', in the sense that the other interested party is oblivious to their existence and they're not even in the same country. Any legal risk to them is low. I'd just rather keep the money as far away from both of us as possible.

I'm familiar with the concept of asset protection through foundations and trusts. I was hoping to avoid such complications, as they're not really geared to accommodate relatively small amounts of money. I should also clarify: my 'ex-wife' is my current wife and is unaware of my decision to change her status.

Again, thanks for taking the trouble to reply.
 

Golden Fleece

Entrepreneur
If you "hold several nationalities," then the best solution is to move both yourself and your money to the country of citizenship (or any other country where you can take up residence) where your wife does not live and where the divorce proceedings will not occur. That way, the court system of your current residency will have no jurisdiction over you and will be unable to force you to repatriate your money. Any other solution will have a certain degree of risk. In fact, this is a great backup plan to whatever else you may decide to do (if your main plan fails).
 

Sols

Staff member
Mentor Group Gold
The funds are 'dark', in the sense that the other interested party is oblivious to their existence and they're not even in the same country. Any legal risk to them is low. I'd just rather keep the money as far away from both of us as possible.
If not already reported under CRS, once you move them into a personal bank account in Switzerland for example, information about the assets become known or knowable (within a period of time) to your local authorities. You can mitigate this by banking in one of the rapidly shrinking list of remaining jurisdictions that haven't signed up for CRS.

If you want any peace of mind, I think it's unavoidable that you will need to go beyond just opening a personal bank account.

If you just want list of banks that'll take you on for 800,000 EUR, you have many options. Lloyds, Standard Bank, Barclays, RBS, and NatWest have different types of personal accounts available in Gibraltar, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands with modest minimum requirements. You can even attract a handful of Swiss and Liechtenstein banks starting at 500,000 EUR/CHF. No harm asking around.

Further afield, you can probably sort out banking even as a non-resident in USA, Singapore, UAE, and Hong Kong.

Take this in combination with what @Golden Fleece mentioned and get cautiously creative with what nationality and residence you present. Be careful not to lie or deceive the bank, though. That can backfire worse than a scorned ex-spouse. If they ask for all your nationalities, show them. If you don't live where you claim to live, that's fraud and grounds to have your account frozen until a court order says differently.

I'm familiar with the concept of asset protection through foundations and trusts. I was hoping to avoid such complications, as they're not really geared to accommodate relatively small amounts of money. I should also clarify: my 'ex-wife' is my current wife and is unaware of my decision to change her status.
Without much customisation required, a Cook Islands trust with a Nevis trustee and bank account in Singapore, Cook Islands, or elsewhere doesn't have to cost any obscene amounts of money. Especially if your adversary is not likely to be combative and necessitate additional precautions. I'd have a chat with Asiaciti, Sovereign Group, Southpac, and maybe Vistra and explore the option before dismissing it too quickly.

Budget for a meeting with a lawyer in your jurisdiction of residence as well.
 

GPT

New member
“The issue is your ex wife.

hiding your money now is too late regardless of where you park it.

to avoid divorce / money issues it needs to be sorted upfront with a prenup or a structure. A simple offshore account in your own name will not do it. Setting a structure up now is also too late as it only covers you from the moment the structure is set up.

You might be able to do something with shelve companies which were incorporated before you got married. This is -when found out- fraud.

try to mitigate your losses with your ex. For the future take it as a wise lesson to sort things out beforehand.
 

Golden Fleece

Entrepreneur
“The issue is your ex wife.

hiding your money now is too late regardless of where you park it.

to avoid divorce / money issues it needs to be sorted upfront with a prenup or a structure. A simple offshore account in your own name will not do it. Setting a structure up now is also too late as it only covers you from the moment the structure is set up.

You might be able to do something with shelve companies which were incorporated before you got married. This is -when found out- fraud.

try to mitigate your losses with your ex. For the future take it as a wise lesson to sort things out beforehand.
Everything you say is true for the typical divorce case (and asset protection in general), but in this case the OP stated (in post number four): "The funds are 'dark', in the sense that the other interested party is oblivious to their existence and they're not even in the same country. Any legal risk to them is low."

Because the money is already hidden, he has many more options than in the typical case. And even if a spouse knows of certain funds, if you move both yourself and your money offshore there is very little that they can do. Most people simply do not have the financial means to track someone down and then navigate a foreign court system, especially when the target can simply move themselves and their funds once again after a lawsuit is filed.

In fact, if you keep your funds in a safe jurisdiction and live somewhere else, all you must do is move yourself.
 

JossZoomer

New member
I never would have expected such high-quality replies on an open online forum.

Thank you so much to everyone who responded. I definitely have enough to chew on to keep me busy over the next 12 months or so. The intended separation is my initiative and therefore the timing is (mostly) mine as well.

My situation is peculiar in that I derive my income from one country while my 'spare' savings are in another. Although it's a minor headache at tax time, I'm increasingly grateful for the advantages. I doubt very much that my spouse would have the gumption or financial means to pursue this money far.

Take care and stay safe, everybody.
 

Davis123

Entrepreneur
I never would have expected such high-quality replies on an open online forum.

Thank you so much to everyone who responded. I definitely have enough to chew on to keep me busy over the next 12 months or so. The intended separation is my initiative and therefore the timing is (mostly) mine as well.

My situation is peculiar in that I derive my income from one country while my 'spare' savings are in another. Although it's a minor headache at tax time, I'm increasingly grateful for the advantages. I doubt very much that my spouse would have the gumption or financial means to pursue this money far.

Take care and stay safe, everybody.
What's the simplest way to get a personal bank account in Singapore or safe jurisdiction without walk in as it's not possible to travel to places with Covid restrictions?
 

GPT

New member
Everything you say is true for the typical divorce case (and asset protection in general), but in this case the OP stated (in post number four): "The funds are 'dark', in the sense that the other interested party is oblivious to their existence and they're not even in the same country. Any legal risk to them is low."

Because the money is already hidden, he has many more options than in the typical case. And even if a spouse knows of certain funds, if you move both yourself and your money offshore there is very little that they can do. Most people simply do not have the financial means to track someone down and then navigate a foreign court system, especially when the target can simply move themselves and their funds once again after a lawsuit is filed.

In fact, if you keep your funds in a safe jurisdiction and live somewhere else, all you must do is move yourself.
The challenge is "account in own name". Too many examples (ranging from Joe and Jane Blog to some very high profile ones involving Russian oligarchs for instance) where the ex found out after the divorce was final and brought "dark" funds to the attention of tax authorities and "poof, it's gone". Account in own name isn't a good solution regardless of what anyone thinks.

The only viable solution might actually be to place the funds in an irrevocable discretionary trust which is setup in a jurisdiction that does not have to report and has protection in place for when someone is after the funds. St Kitts charges anyone 25000 non refundable that ones to start a court case. Besides St Kitts there are more jurisdictions doing the same.
 

Davis123

Entrepreneur
The challenge is "account in own name". Too many examples (ranging from Joe and Jane Blog to some very high profile ones involving Russian oligarchs for instance) where the ex found out after the divorce was final and brought "dark" funds to the attention of tax authorities and "poof, it's gone". Account in own name isn't a good solution regardless of what anyone thinks.

The only viable solution might actually be to place the funds in an irrevocable discretionary trust which is setup in a jurisdiction that does not have to report and has protection in place for when someone is after the funds. St Kitts charges anyone 25000 non refundable that ones to start a court case. Besides St Kitts there are more jurisdictions doing the same.
Hmm I think St kitts jurisdiction is reporting these days to govts? Maybe for creditor protection it's okay.
 

GPT

New member
Hmm I think St kitts jurisdiction is reporting these days to govts? Maybe for creditor protection it's okay.
St Kitts indeed reports for FATCA purposes (model 18 if im not mistaken).

I didn't say that St Kitts is the holy grail. It was an example of what to look for to avoid losing all.

You open yourself up for blackmail and all sorts of other accusations when you have a bad ending with the ex. For decades to come.
 

uplana

Corporate Services
Mentor Group Gold
I didn't say that St Kitts is the holy grail. It was an example of what to look for to avoid losing all.
Not bad. If just we could get a bank account for a St. Kitts based company it would be a very attractive jurisdictions.
 

Mark Rucken

Entrepreneur
If you "hold several nationalities," then the best solution is to move both yourself and your money to the country of citizenship (or any other country where you can take up residence) where your wife does not live and where the divorce proceedings will not occur. That way, the court system of your current residency will have no jurisdiction over you and will be unable to force you to repatriate your money. Any other solution will have a certain degree of risk. In fact, this is a great backup plan to whatever else you may decide to do (if your main plan fails).
This is just not true. Court of one country can request anything from the court of other country where he might try to "hide", especially in Europe.

How do you think divorces work for people of different nationalities/citizenships?
 
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maxmmm

Entrepreneur
If not already reported under CRS, once you move them into a personal bank account in Switzerland for example, information about the assets become known or knowable (within a period of time) to your local authorities. You can mitigate this by banking in one of the rapidly shrinking list of remaining jurisdictions that haven't signed up for CRS.

If you want any peace of mind, I think it's unavoidable that you will need to go beyond just opening a personal bank account.

If you just want list of banks that'll take you on for 800,000 EUR, you have many options. Lloyds, Standard Bank, Barclays, RBS, and NatWest have different types of personal accounts available in Gibraltar, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands with modest minimum requirements. You can even attract a handful of Swiss and Liechtenstein banks starting at 500,000 EUR/CHF. No harm asking around.

Further afield, you can probably sort out banking even as a non-resident in USA, Singapore, UAE, and Hong Kong.

Take this in combination with what @Golden Fleece mentioned and get cautiously creative with what nationality and residence you present. Be careful not to lie or deceive the bank, though. That can backfire worse than a scorned ex-spouse. If they ask for all your nationalities, show them. If you don't live where you claim to live, that's fraud and grounds to have your account frozen until a court order says differently.


Without much customisation required, a Cook Islands trust with a Nevis trustee and bank account in Singapore, Cook Islands, or elsewhere doesn't have to cost any obscene amounts of money. Especially if your adversary is not likely to be combative and necessitate additional precautions. I'd have a chat with Asiaciti, Sovereign Group, Southpac, and maybe Vistra and explore the option before dismissing it too quickly.

Budget for a meeting with a lawyer in your jurisdiction of residence as well.

Amazing answer, super helpful.

What about cases in which the trustee oversteps the boundaries and treats the money as his own? For example in Liechtenstein there's a famous case

Can you still control how the money is invested- e.g. buy\sell stocks? Or you must only give instructions to the trustee on how to manage it (to claim that you are not in "control" of the funds)?
 

GPT

New member
Amazing answer, super helpful.

What about cases in which the trustee oversteps the boundaries and treats the money as his own? For example in Liechtenstein there's a famous case

Can you still control how the money is invested- e.g. buy\sell stocks? Or you must only give instructions to the trustee on how to manage it (to claim that you are not in "control" of the funds)?
Famous and exception to the rule. At the same time you can -in the case of a trust- have a provision for a "protector" as mentioned in the article. In cases where a protector is appointed the trustee (depending on what is written in the trust deed) needs approval from the protector.

Given that the protector is an advisory or oversight type of role they are in many cases a relative or a trusted friend. Its an extra layer of accountability for the trustee. What happened in this case is beyond every moral and ethical thought. At the same time it started with the settlor (father) who was sweet talked into the setup and neglected to get a second (and third) opinion before setting up the trust. This led to legalised theft.

Also, Liechtenstein has its place in a structure. I'm again sure that 99.9% of the visitors here wouldn't qualify for a Liechtenstein trust or foundation. The rule of thumb for Liechtenstein until 4-5 years ago was 100 million and up to make it worth while. Im quite sure that the minimum amount is higher now to make it worth while. If you think Switzerland is expensive.. Go to Liechtenstein. Switzerland all of a sudden feels like a third world country.
 

Admin

Forum Moderator
Staff member
I'm again sure that 99.9% of the visitors here wouldn't qualify for a Liechtenstein trust or foundation.
If you say that because of the 100M then I'm sorry to disappoint you, we have had an institute to review our traffic last year, they have measured on it and found out where people are coming from, you will be surprised to know what visitors are coming here.

If I should make a qualified guess and adjust your figure I would say 82% will not qualify for Liechtenstein.

Just to be fair cof%¤#
 

GPT

New member
If you say that because of the 100M then I'm sorry to disappoint you, we have had an institute to review our traffic last year, they have measured on it and found out where people are coming from, you will be surprised to know what visitors are coming here.

If I should make a qualified guess and adjust your figure I would say 82% will not qualify for Liechtenstein.

Just to be fair cof%¤#
I can live with that. Thanks as well for that input. Gives me also a bit of an idea of the level of people here.
 

Mark Rucken

Entrepreneur
If you say that because of the 100M then I'm sorry to disappoint you, we have had an institute to review our traffic last year, they have measured on it and found out where people are coming from, you will be surprised to know what visitors are coming here.

If I should make a qualified guess and adjust your figure I would say 82% will not qualify for Liechtenstein.

Just to be fair cof%¤#
I find it hard to believe that 18% of people on this board with 100M+ in their bank account are spending hours to read offshorecorptalk (in some cases completely wrong and misleading information) instead of paying a serious consulting firm. Just my two cents ...
 
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