Anders Behring Breivik, Mystery Man

August 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Following the money trail

by Justin Raimondo, July 29, 2011

What do we really know about Anders Behring Breivik, the Norway mass murderer who killed in the name of his anti-Muslim ideology, nearly a week after his horrific rampage? We know what he did, and why he did it: he left behind not only a 1,500 page manifesto, in which he pours out his hatred of Muslims, but also a day-by-day diary that details his elaborate preparations, in which he claims his crime was nine years in the making. 

That’s an awfully long time for a "lone wolf" to keep his plans to himself, yet the head of Norway’s intelligence agency was quick to state Breivik acted alone – this is spite of Breivik’s own contention, in his online "book," that two other cells of his "Knights Templar Europe" exist. Furthermore, according to Breivik, the Knights were founded at a London meeting in 2002, at which his British "mentor" and representatives from across the continent were in attendance. 

What we don’t know, however, is how he did it. Oh, he gives us a detailed account of his obsessive preparations, including how much protein he added to his weightlifting regimen. We know he set up a front company, Breivik Geofarm, supposedly devoted to the growing of tubers, which is how he managed to get the fertilizer that was a key component of his car bomb. What we don’t know, however, is where money came from.

Breivik hadn’t had much income recently, as detailed here – yet he seemed to have some assets. The exact source of these assets is unknown. According to him, he "earned his first million kroner as an entrepreneur at the age of 24." Yet a number of news accounts flatly contradict this, notably the Sydney Morning Herald, which reports:

"Government records suggest that despite his management qualifications, his early attempts at business were a failure until he established Breivik Geofarm in eastern Norway for the cultivation of ‘’vegetables, melons and tubers.’ The business would have given Breivik access to nitrogen-based fertilizer – one of the main ingredients of a fertilizer bomb."

Yet "Breivik Geofarm" was, according to Breivik, just a "front" company, a legal shell meant to shield his activities from prying eyes. We don’t know that he ever grew a single tuber. The Wall Street Journal tells us: 

"Government records show Mr. Breivik registered a business, Geofarm, in May 2009, though its main business activity was at first listed as trading stocks and other investments. Tax records show he reported no income that year but listed 390,171 kroner (about $50,000) in unverified assets."

If Breivik’s business ventures were failures prior to the Geofarm project, then where did these unverified assets come from? According to the Independent:

"After school, Breivik did a brief stint in the army, and then appears to have gone from one job to the next. He is believed to have started a computer company and earned enough money to live in a luxury apartment and sport a Breitling watch. However, other reports suggest that for years he worked in a lowly call center and lived almost anonymously.

"… Exactly what he lived on in the run- up to the massacre remains a mystery. But his bank details reveal that in 2007, a sum equivalent to €80,000 (£70,000) was added to his account, which would have enabled him to live without having to work."

The mystery deepens….

Check out Breivik’s resume here, wherein he claims to have been the "managing director" of "E-Commerce Group AS," which is described as a "part investment company – 50%, part sales/outsourcing company – 50%," with a "total of 7 employees: 3 in Norway, 1 in Russia, 1 in Indonesia, 1 in Romania, 1 in the US." Like Breivik Geofarm, he says:

"This was a front (milking cow) with the purpose of financing resistance/liberation related military operations. The company was successful although most of the funds were channeled through a Caribbean subsidiary (with base in Antigua, a location where European countries do not have access): Brentwood Solutions Limited with bank accounts in other Caribbean nations and Eastern Europe. E-Commerce Group was terminated in 2007 while most of the funds were channeled in an ‘unorthodox manner’ to Norway available to the coming intellectual and subsequent operations phase."

There is no online record of Breivik’s "E-Commerce Group AS," as far as I can see: an odd happenstance for an e-commerce outfit, wouldn’t you say? As for Brentwood Solutions Limited, there is no record of those guys, either: however, there is a Brentwood Solutions LLC in Naples, Florida. In any case, what I want to know is how did Breivik manage to get his hands on the equivalent of nearly $115,000 added to his account in 2007? If the money was legitimately earned, then why hide it in Caribbean and Eastern European banks and why go through "unorthodox" procedures in order to sneak it into Norway? 

Okay, now let’s summarize what we know about Breivik’s money trail, based not on what he says in his diary but on what little investigative reporting has been done on the matter. It boils down to this: His tax records show a small income in 2007 – the year all that money miraculously appeared in his bank account – and a bit more in 2008. He had no reported income in 2006 and 2009. Prior to that, there is no evidence of his "first million" anywhere to be seen.

While his diary emphasizes that he saved every penny to finance his terrorist operation, there had to be some income coming in from somewhere. And then there’s that mysterious $115,000 – did he rob a bank? Or did he have a benefactor? Here is where Breivik’s money trail simply … trails off.

The idea that Breivik acted alone is absurd: he had to have help, just on logistical matters, never mind the financial side of such an operation. Furthermore, it’s hard – nay, impossible – to believe he kept the secret to himself for nine years. In order to escape detection, and have the means to carry off such a complicated operation, Breivik must have had some organized assistance – and not from amateurs, by any means. At this point, we don’t know from whom.

However, we can see in the reaction to his murderous assault a kind of support network that has sprung up, if not to defend him personally then to defend his motivations and the ethos from which his hatred welled up. As I have said in my other columns on this subject, the so-called counter-jihadist milieu – whose writings were copiously cited in the online manifesto – provided the theoretical basis for Breivik’s horrific actions. The "anti-jihadist" pro-Israel blogosphere played an important role in reinforcing and elaborating Breivik’s crazed worldview, and there is even some frightening evidence that they played more of an activist role than that. 

In a post dated June 24, 2007, Pamela Geller, a leading light of the counter-jihadi movement, posted the following on her web site:

"I am running an email I received from an Atlas reader in Norway. It is devastating in its matter-of-factness.

    "Well, yes, the situation is worsening. Stepping up from 29 000 immigrants every year, in 2007 we will be getting a total of 35 000 immigrants from somalia, iran, iraq and afghanistan. The nations capital is already 50% muslim, and they ALL go there after entering Norway. Adding the 1.2 births per woman per year from muslim women, there will be 300 000+ muslims out of the then 480 000 inhabitants of that city. 

    "Orders from Libya and Iran say that Oslo will be known as Medina at the latest in 2010, although I consider this a PR-stunt nevertheless it is their plan.

    "From Israel the hordes clawing at the walls of Jerusalem proclaim cheerfully that next year there will be no more Israel, and I know Israel shrugs this off as do I, and will mount a strike during the summer against all of its enemies in the middle east. This will make the muslims worldwide go into a frenzy, attacking everyone around them. 

    "We are stockpiling and caching weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast. 

    "Before, I thought about emigrating to Britain, Israel, USA, South Africa, etc. for taxes and politics, but instead (although I believe we are the very last generation on earth before the return of God) I will stay and fight for the right to this country and indeed the entire peninsula, for the God-fearing people, just in case this isn’t the end of the world after all. Doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan. 

    "It’s far from impossible to achieve, after all my people has done it every time before, in feats that match the ancient Greek, hebrew and british ‘legends’. 

    "Oslo and the southeast may fall easily, but there are other lines than ‘state’-borders drawn across this country since long before there was even a single muslim in the world, and we have held them this long, against everyone else too. We are entering a new golden age for my people, and those of a handful other countrys, but only through struggle.

    "Never fear, Pamela. God is with you too in this coming time."

In the comments, one of Geller’s readers warns that the author of the letter could be prosecuted by Norewegian authorities. Geller replies: "Yes … which is why I ran it anonymously."

So here is some nut stockpiling "weapons, ammunition, and equipment," because "this is going to happen fast" – with Geller’s enthusiastic encouragement. Indeed, she’s so concerned her correspondent might be arrested that she’s protecting his identity.

Who is Geller’s mystery correspondent – is it the same Norwegian nut-case who ruthlessly cut down dozens of children, or a different one waiting in the wings to do the same? Come on, Pamela – clear up the mystery. Or would you rather continue to shield your fellow "counter-jihadist"?

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the leaders and "scholars" who provided Breivik with the intellectual and political support he needed also provided more substantial support, such as ensuring the confidentiality of communications with the "Knights." Geller has already gone on the public record as supporting the thugs of the English Defense League, who troll the streets of British cities looking for Muslim victims – why not Breivik? 

Never has a "lone wolf" had this much company.

Federal Government Reinstates the Estate Tax – What That Means to You

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

By Adil Daudi, Esq.

FeaturedImageRecently, the Federal government has reinstated a law that will have a significant impact on how we manage our estate. Beginning in 2011, the Federal government brought back the federal estate tax, which imposes a 35% tax on any estate exceeding $5 million, or $10 million for married couples.

An estate tax is defined as a tax imposed on your gross estate that exceeds the exemption limit. For example, if John dies leaving a gross estate of $6 million, his total taxable estate would be $1 million ($6M – $5M). Thus, his estate would pay $350,000 in estate taxes to the government ($1M x 35%). Note: only assets owned by you individually at the time of your death are included in your estate.

Although the common citizen may overlook this law due to the large required estate, it is important to note that many experts consider this $5 million exemption to only be temporary. By the end of 2012, it is widely speculated that federal lawmakers will revert back to the pre-2001 days, where there was only a $1 million exemption and a tax rate of 55%.

Whatever the exemption amount, there are certain tools at your disposal that can assist you in lowering your estate for purposes of avoiding the estate tax altogether, or lowering the amount of money that you will be required to pay to the government. The following are certain deductions that are available to reduce your estate taxes:

(1) Marital Deduction: any property transferred to your spouse upon your death is excluded from your estate;

(2) Charitable Deduction: donations made to a charitable organization are deducted from your estate (creating a charitable remainder annuity trust – CRAT – is beneficial in this regard);

(3) Irrevocable Trust: this is a trust that takes ownership away from you individually and transfers title to your trust’s name; therefore, because you no longer claim individual ownership, the size of your estate is reduced.

The above options are effective means to help reduce your estate; however, you are not restricted to just those. That is why it is always advised that you consult with an attorney who is well-versed in estate planning and asset protection to ensure that you have structured a sound estate plan. Remember, although the exemption may not apply to you this year, there is a strong likelihood that the exemption limit will dramatically decrease by 2012. Plan now to be assured that you have the utilized the right tools to reduce your estate. After all, it is always better to pay your heirs as opposed to the government.

Adil Daudi is an Attorney at Joseph, Kroll & Yagalla, P.C., focusing primarily on Estate Planning, Shariah Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Business Litigation, Corporate Formations, Physician Contracts, and Family Law. To contact him for any questions related to this article or other areas of law, he can be reached at adil@josephlaw.net or (517) 381-2663.

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The Reality of Life in Greece

May 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

By Christopher Humphrys, Daily Mail

athens-greece A dream job? I thought so. I had left the grey skies of London and the big black hole in my bank account for the sunny skies of Greece. My salary as a cellist playing in a small Greek orchestra was relatively modest, but I could still afford to eat out every night, rent a nice apartment and spend long summer holidays on the Greek islands.

By the time I met my beautiful future wife, Penelope, my mind was made up. I could see no reason for ever wanting to live anywhere else but Greece.

That was 20 years ago. This week, as Greece woke up to the reality that it was effectively a bankrupt nation, I could see many reasons.

Civil unrest: Protesters clash with riot police over Greek ‘austerity measures’

Here’s a snapshot of everyday life in a nation on the brink of civil catastrophe.

Before I set out for work on my motorbike yesterday morning, I first had to plan a route that would avoid the latest demonstration and the inevitable tear-gas that would accompany it.

As I passed the debris of the previous night’s riots, I heard the police helicopters buzzing overhead and tried to avoid eye contact with the nervous policemen on almost every street corner, fingering their carbines.

The vibrant but essentially law-abiding city of Athens has become a tense and slightly threatening place to live. It’s all happening because of the Greek economy, which this week collapsed even further as global credit agencies downgraded the rating of Greek government bonds to ‘junk’ status.

But in truth, the rot set in long ago. For decades, Greece has been living a lie. To say the nation has been living beyond its means is the understatement of the century. We have been indulging in an orgy of over- spending and over-borrowing beyond the wildest imagination.

Let me introduce you to my oldest friend, John, the man I went to school with in Britain and the man who first persuaded me to try for a job in Athens. He was already living here. In the years since then, he has become as Greek as the Elgin Marbles. He has a Greek wife, Greek children and a deep love of the country he thinks of as his own.

greece But today he is desperately looking for a job back in Britain. And that’s because five years ago he managed to do something we all hankered after: he got a job with the state orchestra.

The important part of that sentence is the word ‘state’. It’s not a very good orchestra, but when you work for it you are on the state’s payroll, and that’s the gravy train that just about everyone in Greece wanted to board. It meant a job for life. The pension was eye-watering by British standards and so were the benefits.

Try this for size: a full year’s maternity leave; a year’s sabbatical if it took your fancy; and no matter how badly you played your music, you were utterly secure in the knowledge that you would never be sacked. These rules applied to every single state job in the land.

Now, in the spending cuts that are surely going to have to be made, John is terrified that his gold-star state job could vanish overnight — a bleak prospect with unemployment spiralling, but one that looks increasingly likely.

Unrealistic: Greeks may protest, but for too long they have relied on EU cash

Take another friend of mine, whose father died when she was only 25 years old. She inherited his state pension even though she was a well-to-do lawyer in her own right.

I have plenty of other friends who work for the state. I use the word ‘work’ loosely. Some of them are conscientious and do their nine-tofive hours with a degree of enthusiasm. But the fact is that some didn’t even bother turning up for work at all; they do other jobs instead, but still collect their state salaries.

I think of them as ‘ghost workers’ — and every Greek knows at least one of them. These ghosts have been milking the taxpayer for every penny they could take.

Now, let’s look at that word ‘ taxpayer’. In Greece, tax has long been something regarded by most people as entirely optional. You may choose to pay it, or you may not. There are a hundred ways of finding loopholes — some of them legal, many of them not.

The state has always acknowledged as much. And so, rather than pursuing the tax cheats with all the might of the law, they offered an amnesty: instead of being investigated for tax evasion, people were able to volunteer a one-off payment to make the problem go away.

How much? Just e2,000. And that’s it. No questions asked, even if you had been avoiding a tax liability of tens of thousands.

Greece 5400 But then, why on earth would the politicians seek to end this blatant corruption when they have been at [the receiving end].

One government minister was found to have built an enormous villa on the side of a mountain in a highly desirable location just outside Athens. Not only did he have no planning permission, but he built it with cheap labour supplied by illegal immigrants. His penalty, when the papers made a big fuss about it, was to be demoted — but his house still stands.

It’s impossible to calculate how many houses in Athens have been built illegally. What is certain is that somebody, somewhere, has been making a huge amount of money in bribes from the owners.

The standard way of doing business in this country is to resort to a ‘little brown envelope’. It’s not only corruption, such dishonesty denies the state income that should be paying for the schools, the hospitals and every other public service.

And here’s the strange thing. Those public services are, by most standards, very good. I have always found the health service here to be at least as good as Britain’s, probably better. And it’s entirely free.

So how can they afford it when people don’t pay their taxes? The answer, of course, is: Greece can’t. It’s bankrupt.

Nor can the country afford those staggeringly generous state pensions (my father-in-law’s pension is rather higher than my salary), nor the ghost jobs nor — God forbid — the Olympics that they staged with such fanfare in 2004. They cost more than e10 billion, and the long-term benefits from them have been effectively zero.

Yes, there’s a shiny new Metro underground train system and whole areas of the city have been tarted up — but it was done with borrowed money that has yet to be paid back. And those magnificent new stadiums are decaying before our eyes — a sad reminder of why hubris is a Greek word.

Perhaps the greatest corruption of all was the way Greece managed to join the euro. There was no way in the world the government could have met the strict financial criteria, so they took another route: they lied.

With the help of foreign bankers they simply misled Brussels and everyone else as to the true degree to which the state was in hock to the lenders.

They imagined that being members of the euro would cement Greece’s position as a modern, successful European country. Now, as we know all too well, the opposite has been the case.

Certainly, Greece has benefited enormously from being a member of the European Union. This is a fiercely patriotic country and you will see the Greek flag flying everywhere you go.

But here’s a sobering thought: almost every significant building, road, even park has been financed at least in part by you, dear reader. It’s your taxes — routed through payments to the EU — that have helped Greece look the way it does today. But now, of course, the gravy train has careered off the track and is causing carnage.

Yes, the Greek government is now embarking on what is called an austerity program. But it still doesn’t look anything like austere enough.

Here’s an example. It decided that if you own a swimming pool, you must, by definition, be pretty well-off and therefore you should be paying a certain amount in tax. If not, you’re in trouble.

And, of course, it’s easy for officialdom to spot the pool owners: they just look at the pictures conveniently provided on the website Google Earth. So what do the owners do? They cover their pools with green covers so that it looks as though they have nice, big lawns. Old habits die hard.

My own fear is that corruption and tax evasion and borrowing are so deeply ingrained in the Greek culture that even the austerity measures taken, and the combined bail-outs from other EU nations and the International Monetary Fund, will simply not work. Too little, and much too late.

And what then? Well, maybe we will be forced out of the euro — and maybe that will be good for us.

Many of us who live here will not be sorry to see the back of the euro, because one catastrophic sideeffect of joining the single market has been that the cost of living has pretty much doubled.

Meanwhile, the country must learn to live within its means. It must recognise that the state is not some sort of Santa Claus who can always pull another surprise goodie out of his bottomless sack.

For the past couple of years the Greek tourist authority has been selling the delights of this glorious country with the slogan ‘Live your myth in Greece’.

How appropriate that sounds today. We have been living a myth in Greece for far too long. It is now disintegrating, and all of us are deeply worried about what will take its place.

What a sobering lesson for Britain, as you slowly face up to the enormity of your own economic crisis.

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Islam in the Bahamas

April 1, 2010 by · 3 Comments 

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Jama’at Ahlus Sunnah Bahamas, Carmichael Road, Nassau

Introduction

Vacationing in the Bahamas, who would have thought that there are Muslims living in nice neighborhoods with a beautiful mosque. There are more than 300 Muslims in Nassau, Bahamas who are organized and have five daily prayers. Islam has come to the Bahamas more than 40 years ago via United States.

History

Which country is closest to Miami?  It is the Bahamas, only 40 miles from Miami to the east while Cuba is 80 miles to the south.  The Bahamas consists of more than 700 islands, well known for their gorgeous beaches, sea of colors, vivid flamingoes, and Poinciana trees that line the edge of roads and tantalize the senses with their fragrant aromas. Christopher Columbus discovered it on October 12, 1492 and named it Bahamas (low water or sea).  The British have controlled it until the Bahamians achieved their independence on July 10, 1973.  The thirteen colonies fought the British and won the island for few years but at the treaty of Versailles in 1783, the British traded Florida for the Bahamas.

Economy

Nassau, the capital, is the queen of archipelago, most densely populated consisting of two thirds of total population of 342,000. Eighty five percent of people are of African descent with literacy rate of 95 percent. City of Nassau is decorated with architecture of British, Spanish, Indian, Chinese and flavor of southern US. In 2008, 4.6 million people visited Bahamas, 85 percent from the USA.  Its economy thrives on four areas for income:  tourism, fishing, banking, and farming.  The Bahamas, because of it strict secrecy laws, is called the “Switzerland of the West.” It has no income tax, sales tax, capital gain tax, estate tax, or inheritance tax. The nation’s stable government and economy as well as its proximity to the U.S. make it one of the most attractive areas for investors all over the world. There are 110 US affiliated businesses operating in the Bahamas, mostly in tourism and banking.

Coming of Islam

According to the old records, some of the early Muslims were brought as slaves from North Africa. In the 1960’s a Bahamian called Bashan Saladin (formerly Charles Cleare) preached Islam and converted his home into Mosque. In 1974, Dr. Munir Ahmad who returned from US as Dental Specialist and Mr. Mustafa khalil Khalfani joined hand to establish Islam. They were later joined by Br. Faisal AbdurRahmaan Hepburn. There is only one central college in Nassau and no large university.  For all higher education, the Bahamians must travel to the United States.  After independence, many Bahamians converted to Islam while studying in the US.  Everyone you meet has connection to the US.  There are many South Asian Muslims from India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, as well as Turkey and Guyana totaling to 20-30 people working as doctors, businessmen and teachers that visit the mosque.

Community Development

There are many Muslims from India, Pakistan and other countries that have helped develop this community. In 1978 when Jamaat-Ul-Islam, the Revolutionary Islamic Movement, was formed and Br. Mustapha Khalil Khalafani was chosen as its leader. The Muslims established Jamaat- Ul-Islam Mosque in Nassau runned  by Jamaat Management Consultancy Limited owned by Brother Faisal Abdurrahman Hepburn.

The Mosque

The Mosque rests on two acres of land, white in color with three domes (one large and two small) and one tall minaret.  It is surrounded by newly planted trees, a colorful courtyard and a parking lot.  Women area is separated by a perforated wooden partisan. The five daily prayers are performed punctually in congregation. Over 60 people attend the Friday sermon and prayer.  Other activities include brothers and sisters study circle as well as children’s Sunday school.

Conclusion

Islam in Nassau is growing with strong foundation for increasing the Dawa work in the area. Muslims are being ignored or marginalized in many ways, because of being a very small minority(less than 1% of the population). For example, the media refuse to air positive Islamic program and local newspapers are reluctant to cover events relating to Islam and Muslims. They are still facing problems in carrying on their activities. They could use some help and attention from US Muslims in order to energize their work. Muslims in the U. S. including doctors, engineers etc. can contribute by devoting their 1-2 week of vacation per year while doing seminars on Islam or having free medical clinics while still enjoying the scenery. The entire area is conducive to Dawa work due to high literacy, good command of English language, respect for people from US in general and religious background. The US national organizations of Muslims have special obligation to reach out and extend a helping hand. Any cooperation and coordinated activity will go a long way in establishing Islam in this part of the world. For more information about the mosque or the Islamic organization in the Bahamas, contact them at email: faisalhepburn@yahoo.com or visit their website: http:// www.jamaahlus-sunnah.com/.

Anis Ansari, MD,
Clinton, IA
Dr. Ansari is President of Islamic Society of Clinton County in Clinton, IA  and Board Certified Nephrologists. He can be reached at a.ansari@mchsi.com.

Five Tips About the First-Time Homebuyer Credit Documentation Requirements

March 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Special Edition Tax Tip 2010-02

Claiming the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit on your 2009 tax return might mean a larger refund but it can seem complex. Are you confused about the documentation requirements? The IRS recognizes that the settlement documents can vary from location to location, so here are five tips to clarify the documentation requirements.

1. Settlement Statement: Purchasers of conventional homes must attach a copy of Form HUD-1 or other properly executed Settlement Statement.

2. Properly Executed Settle Statement: Generally, a properly executed settlement statement shows all parties’ names and signatures, property address, sales price and date of purchase. However, settlement documents, including the Form HUD-1, can vary from one location to another and may not include the signatures of both the buyer and seller. In areas where signatures are not required on the settlement document, the IRS encourages buyers to sign the settlement statement when they file their tax return — even in cases where the settlement form does not include a signature line.

3. Retail Sales Contract: Purchasers of mobile homes who are unable to get a settlement statement must attach a copy of the executed retail sales contract showing all parties’ names and signatures, property address, purchase price and date of purchase.

4. Certificate of Occupancy: For a newly constructed home, where a settlement statement is not available, attach a copy of the certificate of occupancy showing the owner’s name, property address and date of the certificate.

5. Long-Time Residents: If you are a long-time resident claiming the credit, the IRS recommends that you also attach documentation covering the five-consecutive-year period such as Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement or substitute mortgage interest statements, property tax records or homeowner’s insurance records.

For more information about the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and the documentation requirements, visit IRS.gov/recovery.

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Oldest Swiss Bank Tells Clients to Sell U.S. Assets or Leave

January 14, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — Wegelin & Co.,Switzerland’s oldest bank, is telling wealthy clients to sell their U.S. assets, or switch banks, because of concerns new rules will saddle investors with tax obligations in the world’s biggest economy.

U.S. proposals to extend reporting requirements for banks whose clients buy American stocks and bonds coupled with estate tax liabilities that may be inherited by the heirs of people who have such holdings prompted the advice from the St. Gallen, Switzerland-based bank, said Managing Partner Konrad Hummler.

“We came to the conclusion that it’s a threat to our clients,” Hummler, who is also president of the Swiss Private Bankers Association, said in an interview yesterday during a conference in Zurich. “It’s also a threat to us as a bank because as a custodian we are an executor to the estate. We find this aspect discomforting, so we recommend selling all American securities whatsoever.”

Hummler said he plans to raise the subject today at a meeting of the Private Bankers Association, which counts Pictet & Cie., Lombard Odier & Cie. and Mirabaud & Cie. among its members. Swiss banks, which manage $2 trillion, or 27 percent, of the world’s privately held offshore wealth, are struggling to protect bank secrecy after the government agreed to hand over the names of 4,450 UBS AG clients to U.S. tax authorities.

Hummler said he wouldn’t ask other association members to follow Wegelin’s lead. Wegelin, founded in 1741, manages more than 20 billion Swiss francs ($18.7 billion) in client assets.

“Every member is free to decide and act on their own,” he said.

HSBC Studies Alexandre Zeller,head of HSBC Holdings Plc’s private bank in Switzerland, said his company is still studying the new rules for qualified intermediaries and will do everything it can to comply with them.

“Often in these agreements you have to understand how this will be applied, and it would be premature, especially for an international bank, to take such a decision,” he said today, referring to Wegelin’s position. “It’s not on the agenda for the moment.”

The U.S. has proposed increasing reporting and oversight requirements for so-called qualified intermediaries — foreign banks that withhold taxes on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service. In addition, new rules may mean that people who spend limited periods oftime in the U.S. acquire tax obligations, including estate taxes,creating an unacceptable risk for Wegelin’s clients, Hummler said.

If a client decides to keep his U.S. investments, “then finally he has to change banks,” Hummler said.

“We’re talking about probabilities,” Hummler said. “My responsibility toward clients has to include any kind of probability,and if I see a real threat then we have to act.”

Wegelin is finding alternative ways of investing in the U.S. that won’t impose reporting requirements on the bank or tax liabilities on clients, Hummler said.

“The good thing is that in today’s world you can build up U.S.exposure in equities and as well in bonds through derivatives and index funds and so on, so we are switching to a European-made American exposure.”

Germany and France have also sought to weaken Swiss secrecy laws as they crack down on tax evaders.

The French government, which signed a double-taxation treaty with Switzerland on Aug. 27, obtained the names of 3,000 people suspected of tax fraud and holding accounts at three Swiss banks, French Budget Minister Eric Woerth, said Aug. 30 in an interview with the newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

“It’s not credible,” Hummler said. “The U.S. had a hard time getting these 4,450 names, then the French come and say we have 3,000? I cannot believe it, but they’re trying it on.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Warren Giles in Zurich at wgiles@bloomberg.net

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