Romney's wealth well hidden offshore
Mitt Romney’s massive fortune - estimated to be as high as $250 million - is held in a complex and opaque network of offshore havens that are impossible to penetrate, according to a report in Vanity Fair.
Romney had a Swiss bank account and has interests in tax havens like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. The Romney campaign has insisted he does not use the havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes, but Vanity Fair wrote it is impossible to confirm that he is not seeing a savings.
The Republican candidate paid a 14 percent tax rate on $21.7 million in income in 2010 – far lower than the rate paid by many Americans because his earnings comes from investments rather than wages.
Vanity Fair noted that Romney has continued to receive large payments from Bain Capital since leaving the private equity firm in 1999.
Romney has personal interests in at least a dozen of the 138 or more funds organized by Bain in the Cayman Islands. Vanity Fair said the Romney-related funds are worth as much as $30 million and hidden behind confidentiality disclaimers.
The report also raised questions about Romney’s blind trusts, which are used by politicians to remove conflicts of interests by turning investment control over to an independent trustee.
Although the Romneys’ trust is supposedly “blind,” it invested $10 million in the startup of a fund cofounded by their oldest son, Tagg, in 2010. Another co-founder was Spencer Zwick, a former top fundraiser for the Romney campaign.
R. Bradford Malt, who manages the trust, has previously said he invested in Tagg’s Solamere Founders Fund without consulting Mitt or Ann Romney.
Romney’s financial disclosure form lists 25 such investments in an open-ended category labeled “over $1 million,” Vanity Fair reported. Many of them are set up in tax havens like the Cayman Islands.
Meanwhile, the Romney campaign is distancing itself from the CEO of Barclays, who stepped down from the British bank Tuesday amid an interest-rate fixing scandal.
Robert Diamond will no longer co-host a London fundraiser scheduled for July 27 when Romney will be in town for the Olympics.