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Euro Tax Haven 'Apocalypto' Opens Door To Guatemala

Mar 20, 2008
More commonly known for its ancient civilization history of the Mayan Empire, Guatemala has more recently become the focus of the worlds wealthy, who are beginning to look beyond the European tax havens of Switzerland, Andorra and Monaco following recent political debates at the European Parliament in the Brussels.

Problems are brewing between the tax havens, Euro officials and resident individuals who have for years, taken advantage of the tax benefits of company and individual offshore accounts in the neighbouring principalities. Member governments such as Germany have wanted to close the tax loop-holes that allow their citizens to cross the border into Liechtenstein to avoid taxes. Recently, the Germans went one step further and allegedly paid an employee of the LGT Group, (a Liechtenstein Bank owned by the royal family), to steal the account holder information of its customer base. Thoughts are, that if a government is willing to go to these lengths to obtain information on its citizens trying to avoid taxes, what will be next!

One of the beneficiaries of the situation could be the central American country of Guatemala who like their close neighbours Panama, have seen a resurgence of interest in offshore companies and offshore trusts since the E.U. began tightening its laws.

Guatemala sits in central America, with Mexico and Belize to its northern border and El Salvador and Honduras to the south. Known best for the Mayan civilization and its ruined cities and pyramids depicted in Mel Gibsons' recent film 'Apocalypto', the native population has been the victim of several periods of violent unrest over its 12, 000 years of history.

Many of its native people were wiped out by epidemic following the Spanish occupations of the 16th century when much of central America came under the rule of Hernan Cortes. In more recent years, a thirty five year old civil war finally ended in 1986, but not before a period of genocide was committed against the indigenous population. Since 1986 and these first free elections, Guatemala has slowly regained her recognition as a free and democratic state and retaken her place amongst the international community of trade and commerce.

With many similarities to its neighbour Panama, Guatemala has very strict privacy laws, making offshore trusts a specialty of its modern banking system. In a Guatemalan trust agreement, the trustees, (those entrusted with the assets), are the Guatemalan law firm. The attorney/client privilege in Guatemala is encased in stone and underwritten by the courts who protect corporate and attorney rights above all else giving a privacy element to the arrangement that would be hard, if not impossible to penetrate. Combine this with the tax regime of not taxing offshore transaction income and Guatemala has all the necessary credentials to provide safe and secure tax haven to those looking beyond the once acceptable destinations now coming under fire.

Add to this, the stability of government and the use of English and Spanish as languages of trade, (Spanish being the recognised language), and Guatemala could finally be seeing a lot more flights from Europe to its shores, as those once reliant on the havens of Europe make their way to more secure destinations.
About the Author
Panama Legal are a Panamanian based law firm that specialize in second passport and offshore company formation. Panama Legal can guide you through the legal procedures. Read finance articles at OMDN
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