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Monday, July 31, 2006

WSJ: How Tax Shelters Brought Trouble to Billionaire Wyly Family

Another interesting front-page story in today's Wall Street Journal:  How Tax Shelters Brought Trouble to Billionaire Clan; Wylys Enjoy Painting, Watch Owned by Overseas Trusts As Grand Jury Investigates, by Glenn R. Simpson:

Audubon is part of a network of companies and trusts established on the Isle of Man to park large parts of the Wyly family wealth, a move that shields the money from U.S. taxes and lawsuits. To critics, the ability of the Wylys to enjoy benefits from assets that they don't own illustrates what's wrong with the huge offshore tax-avoidance industry....

The Wyly trusts will be examined tomorrow at a hearing by a U.S. Senate panel called the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The panel's senior Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, has been probing offshore tax evasion and money laundering for several years. The panel is also looking into how the elite New York law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP provided legal advice on offshore tax shelters to wealthy individuals, people familiar with the probe say.

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