The Wealthy Are Moving To The Cook Islands, A Safe Paradise
Tue 17 Dec 2013
- Cook Islands
The Cooks are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, lovely coral atolls, good fishing and a global pioneer in offshore asset-protection trusts, with laws designed to protect foreigners’ assets from legal claims at home, a lawsuit proof, safe paradise.
Austria, the Bahamas, Switzerland, Bermuda, The Caymans and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) always get the headlines for laws and tax rates that allow multinational corporations and the wealthy to shelter income from governments.
The Cook Islands are different, American and other countries’ laws do not reach out there. The Cooks, for the most part, do not recognize foreign court orders, thus protecting assets legally placed there.
Law firms that practice asset protection advise on Cook Island Trusts(CIT) to fearful, wealthy global clients.
One firm suggests that anyone with more than $1-M in assets should consider Cook trusts for safe wealth-preservation.
Over the past few years regulators have become aggressive in their efforts to invade tax haven countries, offshore banks and their customers, but the Cooks have not been their target.
The data shows Americans are the biggest customers of the Cook Island Trusts, which can be held only by foreigners, not Cook Islanders.
The islands’ official website calls the Cooks a “prime choice” for “discerning wealthy clients.”
The Cooks’ Financial Supervisory Commission says the CITs offer anonymity, and safe legal protections. The value of assets are not disclosed and it is against the law in the Cooks to identify who own the trusts or to provide any information about such ownership. Hence, a safe paradise.
Cook Island Trusts provide security along with secrecy, officials say. “Asset protection is to provide a layer of insurance for something that cannot be insured — the unforeseeable,” according to an official of the Cook Islands Financial Services Development Authority.
There is nothing illegal about setting up a Cook Island Trust, and putting assets into one does not eliminate the requirement to pay taxes on its assets’ earnings.
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