Gawker Publishes Romney Tax Haven Records

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Common Dreams

Gawker Publishes Romney Tax Haven Records

by
Common Dreams staff

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and wife, Ann, jet ski on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H. (Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

John Cook at Gawker.com published 950 pages of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's financial documents for at least 21 funds in which Romney personally invested, including several overseas 'tax haven' accounts, on Wednesday. The funds revealed in the documents are also affiliated with Bain Capital, Romney's former firm.

Gawker has not yet said how it obtained the documents, but asked "readers to help evaluate" the finances, and has financial lawyers currently filing through the dense paper work.

Romney has so far only released two years of partial tax returns, coming under fire for denying transparency regarding his personal finances, with some Democratic leaders claiming that in some years, he did not pay any taxes.

The Guardian reports today that the documents published by Gawker, make clear that tax avoidance is a primary aim of some of his investments.

Romney and his wife, Ann, are both investors in a Cayman Island-based fund called Bain Capital Fund VIII. The Bain fund contains assets worth up to $3.7bn and according to the documents, "intends to conduct its operations so that it will not be engaged in a United States trade or business and, therefore, will not be subject to United States federal income or withholding tax on its income from United States sources".

Bain controls at least 138 funds in the Caymans, and Romney personally has $30m invested in the Cayman Islands alone, according to an earlier report by Vanity Fair.

Romney has not yet commented on the new documents.

Cook writes today:

Today, we are publishing more than 950 pages of internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters for 21 cryptically named entities in which Romney had invested—at minimum—more than $10 million as of 2011 (that number is based on the low end of ranges he has disclosed—the true number is almost certainly significantly higher). Almost all of them are affiliated with Bain Capital, the secretive private equity firm Romney co-founded in 1984 and ran until his departure in 1999 (or 2002, depending on whom you ask). Many of them are offshore funds based in the Cayman Islands. Together, they reveal the mind-numbing, maze-like, and deeply opaque complexity with which Romney has handled his wealth, the exotic tax-avoidance schemes available only to the preposterously wealthy that benefit him, the unlikely (for a right-wing religious Mormon) places that his money has ended up, and the deeply hypocritical distance between his own criticisms of Obama's fiscal approach and his money managers' embrace of those same policies. They also show that some of the investments that Romney has always described as part of his retirement package at Bain weren't made until years after he left the company.

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