Advice

Badvice: how to open a bank account in Panama

By Tom Morris

Are you rich-I don’t mean “Can afford Sky+ HD” rich, I mean really, really, stinking, “own a private island or maybe most of Russia” rich? Do you consider yourself one of the world’s global financial elite? Do you have a few million dollars’ worth of spare cash lying around that needs to be safely deposited somewhere- somewhere those filthy socialists can’t milk tax money out of it to help poor people with, blowing it all on useless inventions like the NHS and all that other tosh? Then why not try ferreting it away in a place formerly only known for, literally, the canal that gets you out of it?

That’s right- Panama! Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands used to be the places to hide all your cash, but that’s just for entry-level rich folks. The best place to hide your money is well, well away from the grabbing hands of Brussels. That is not to say this deal is only for the Eurocrat, it is for any wealthy person from around the world to take advantage of.

Panama’s best known bank is Mossack Fonseca, although it has only really become “mainstream” in the last couple of months. Don’t let its new-found fame deter you from placing your faith and cash in it- it’s not like it’s the source of the biggest data leak in history or anything like that.

Mossack Fonseca offers mainly business based banking opportunities. All the better of course if the main operation of your business is hiding sponds in offshore economies. You may find it particularly useful to use the theoretical base of your business in Panama as a means of hiding the fact that you own it. This way, you won’t have to pay too much tax yourself, and neither will your business!

I say your business, but really in this case, especially if you are a particularly influential sort of person, it might be best to get someone else to handle it for you to keep it out of the public’s reach. For example, if you are the prime minister of Iceland, maybe you should take out an account in your wife’s name. That way your money can live in a warmer climate and you can donate less tax to the sunless country you are already supposed to be setting a good example to.

Of course it’s not all about the money- it’s also about the fame. When your company’s account sits alongside accounts owned by a head of state, you know you’ve made it. Unfortunately, Mossack Fonseca can’t guarantee that the account alphabetically above yours is actually owned by a head of state because, of course, the owners’ identities have been successfully obfuscated. You can rest in the knowledge though that whoever it is, they’re definitely rich. Your money won’t be alongside some pauper’s money, someone who is learning bad habits like how to smoke around the back of the sheds.

That’s right! Your money will be so incredibly safe that it will even need to be protected from you. Mossack Fonseca advises that you sign up with any name as long as it’s not yours. Perhaps use your favourite fictional character. If you want something less obvious, you should probably go for someone no-one’s ever heard of- maybe go for Harry Potter or Darth Vader.

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