Friday, September 30, 2016

Secret Swiss Military Bunkers Being Filled With Gold By Billionaires

For decades, Switzerland had a reputation for bank secrecy that made it the most sought after tax haven for billionaires from around the globe. But, after more than 80 years of secrecy, a series of bilateral agreements with countries around the world, including America’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), have forced the private-banking industry in Switzerland to embrace an entirely new era of transparency that requires a full exchange of tax-relevant information with more than a hundred countries.

Which, as Bloomberg points out, has been a huge boon for Swiss operators of private vaults which are not subject to the same transparency and reporting requirements as banks. In fact, these super-secret, privately operated storage facilities buried around the Swiss Alps can basically store anything from anybody because they're not even required to report suspicious activity to Switzerland's Money Laundering Reporting Office.

"There is growth in gold,” Wipfli says. “Since 2008 there has been a real interest in alternatives to bank deposits.” The company explicitly taps into that demand. Swiss Data Safe “is independent from the banking system and any other organization or interest group,” according to a PowerPoint presentation Wipfli shows clients. The company and its anonymous rival aren’t regulated by the Swiss financial-services regulator Finma.

Nor do such companies have to report suspicious activity to Switzerland’s Money Laundering Reporting Office.In the past, submissions to the agency have led the Swiss attorney general to open investigations into corruption at FIFA, the global soccer body, and banking ties to Brazil’s Petrobras bribery scandal.

Moreover, American citizens aren’t required under FATCA to declare gold stored outside of financial institutions either. So perhaps it's no surprise that, according to the Swiss defense department, of the roughly 1,000 former military bunkers still in existence across Switzerland, several hundred of them have been sold to private individuals who are now operating them as private storage sites for the gold stash of the world's wealthiest of billionaires.

- Read the full article on Zero Hedge

Satellite Imagery Reveals China's Strategic Petroleum Reserve Is Vastly Greater Than Disclosed

At the end of August, we did a follow up article on what we believe is a far bigger marginal driver to the price of oil than OPEC production (which may or may not be reduced by up to 750kbpd in November), namely the Strategic Petroleum Reserve of China, a major importer of oil in recent years, along with India, taking advantage of low prices and largely supporting global oil demand growth at a time of rampant oversupply, and which we profiled most recently in "A Chinese "Mystery" Has Become The Biggest Wildcard For The Price Of Oil."

The simplest reason why Chiina's SPR capacity (and storage) is of key importance, is that it determines the ongoing demand China has for oil - of which much ends up in storage - and also allows analysts to calculate how much more oil China would need, in order to fill up its SPR. While China has traditionally kept any data about its SPR inventory as opaque as possible, in a rare release this month, Beijing reported adding about 43 million barrels of crude to its strategic reserves between mid-2015 and early this year. Reserves totaled 31.97 million tons in early 2016, equivalent to about 234 million barrels, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement that was the first government update on reserves since December.

"A guard stands before the oil SPR tanks at Zhoushan"

As Bloomberg confirmed, emergency stockpiles of the second-biggest oil user have been a source of speculation among analysts and traders, who rely on customs figures and infrequent construction updates to estimate how much of the country’s imports go into strategic inventories, and for how long they will continue to fill.

- Read the full article on Zero Hedge

Clinton Foundation Deal Unleashes Italy's Anti-Trump Front

Mrs. Clinton musters foreign support in a desperate attempt the regain her lead.

In face of her squeezing rating in the US presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton is likely enacting the State Department’s official positions to promote her candidacy to the Oval Office. In the particular Italian case, now she makes use of an alluring proposal she received from an Italian envoy to the Democratic National Convention back in July this year.

The point is that the current Italian Prime-Minister Matteo Renzi fears to lose the upcoming constitutional referendum due to be held only days after the climax of the US presidential campaign. To prevent such development he tried to secure support of the current and future US administrations. During the DNC, when Hillary Clinton was yet a front-runner of the campaign, she was visited in Philadelphia by a Renzi’s delegate, a young attractive rising star of the Italian political kaleidoscope and incumbent minister for constitutional reforms Maria Elena Boschi. While her selfie with Bill Clinton was booming in Instagram, the results of her delicate talk with Mrs.Clinton at the sidelines of the DNC on July 28 went completely unreported (La Stampa published only a preliminary note on that).

In fact minister Boschi requested Mrs.Clinton’s public support of the Italian constitution reform on behalf of the American Democrats. She also redrew Hillary Clinton’s attention to Libya asking her to help easing the US pressure on the Italian government urging it to expand its involvement in counter-terrorist operation in the post-Gaddafi domains as it impacts negatively the Renzi cabinet’s rating. After all, the alternative would most likely be the populist Five Star Movement, a new Italian political conglomerate the American Democrats do not feel any sympathy to.

The two ladies have settled the deal. As a return favor for her lobbying Mrs.Clinton asked to secure support of her presidential race by the influential Italian diaspora in the United States. A media campaign in Italy to discredit Trump and some extra contributions to the Clinton Foundation were also agreed (yet the Italian Ministry For The Environment, Land, & Sea is among the “minor” contributors to The Clinton Foundation with a total donation up to $250,000).

- Read the full article on Off Guardian

LA Times Tracking Poll - Trump Leads Clinton 5.6% After First Debate

Republican presidential nominee continues to build his lead in the Los Angeles Times’ daily tracking poll, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton by over five percent on Friday.

Trump leads with 47.3 percent support, while Clinton lags at 41.7 percent. The poll surveyed 2,560 eligible voters.

Trump had 46.7 percent support on Thursday. Most snap online polls showed voters saying he won the first presidential debate.

The next presidential debates take place on Oct. 9 and Oct. 19.

- Source, Breitbart