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Goldman Sachs' “Tax Evasion” Hit by Rep. Doggett, Citi's and Transocean's Offshoring

By Matthew R. Lee

SOUTH BRONX, July 20 -- Goldman Sachs, recently let off the hook by the Securities and Exchange Commission with a mere $550 million fine, dropped its tax rate in one recent year from 34% to 1%. On July 20, Inner City Press asked Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tx) what he thought of Goldman's decline in tax rate, and of the SEC deal.

Rep. Doggett replied that this was “outrageous,” that Goldman Sachs' decrease in tax rate “suggests a company among the most profitable on the Street is not paying its fair share” and is using “gimmicks.” But what's going to be done?

Lloyd Doggett on the Hill, Goldman taxes not shown

Inner City Press asked the question on a media conference call including Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich) and several “responsible investors” including Amy Domini. Ms. Domini recounted how she had to pull funds recently from Chicago-based Shorebank, and that some of her customers then pulled funds from her.

Doggett was asked about Citigroup, with more than 400 offshore subsidiaries. He said this should be investigated, as should Transocean, owner of the leaking Gulf oil platform, which shifted business to the Cayman Islands and then Switzerland to evade U.S. taxes.

   Senator Levin spoke out against companies shifting their patents and other intellectual property offshore to evade taxes. The loopholes should be closed -- but will they? Watch this site.

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Uzbek Karimov Closed Border Due to Capacity, But IMF Denies Impact on Budget

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 1 -- When Uzbekistan's president Islam Karimov closed his country's border to those fleeing ethnic violence in Kyrgyzstan, he said it was due to lack of capacity, including financial capacity. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called and spoke with Karimov, and rather than urge the re-opening of the border or the release of people imprisoned for political reasons, thanked Karimov for stretching his resources, promising help.

But when Inner City Press on July 1 asked International Monetary Fund spokesperson Caroline Atkinson how the IMF mission to Uzbekistan, there from June 14 to 29, viewed the influx of refugees' impact on the Uzbek budget, her answer implied that the IMF saw no financial impact whatsoever.

Questions should be directed to the UN High Commissioner on Refugees,” she said, adding that the IMF is “very concerned about the human cost.” But what about the financial cost? She directed Inner City Press to materials on the IMF's web site, which incongruously offer fulsome praise to Karimov' Uzbekistan, with no mention of the border and refoulement issues. Very concerned? Watch this site.

On Uzbek border, budget impact not seen by IMF

Footnote: one way that Ms. Atkinson was able to dodge the budget question was by omitted the word. Inner City Press' question, as submitted, was “In Uzbekistan, the IMF mission there from June 14-29 must have considered the Karimov government's dealing with Kyrgyzstan: influx of refugees, closing the border, forcing refugees back. How does the IMF consider these developments, including as impacts the budget?”

But Ms. Atkinson paraphrased it as whether the IMF considered Kyrgyzstan refugees, “closing borders and so on” -- with no mention of the word budget. And so it goes.

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Uzbek Karimov, UN's Ban Does Not Raise Border Closure or Maxim Popov, Omitted from Transcript

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 18 -- With tens of thousands of people seeking to flee attacks in Kyrgyzstan blocked at the Uzbek border, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke on June 16 with Uzbekistan's strongman Islam Karimov. Ban did not, however, ask Karimov to open the border. This was confirmed on June 18, when Inner City Press asked Ban himself if any request had been made to open the border. Ban's two minute answer included no such request. Video here, from Minute 10:14.

  Nor did Ban raise to Karimov, when he visited Tashkent in April, the plight of UN-funded AIDS educator Maxim Popov, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for blasphemy. Inner City Press has twice asked Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of UNAIDS, about Popov.

  On June 9, Sibide told Inner City Press that "I personally tried to be sure the Secretary General during his trip to Uzbekistan was able to raise this issue" of Popov. Video here, from Minute 10:02. Inner City Press then asked Ban's Spokesperson's Office if Ban had raised it, without answer.

  Inner City Press asked Ban directly on June 18, saying "the head of UNAIDS said you were prepared to raise this issue of Maxim Popov, in jail for seven year." Ban did not answer this part of the question, so Inner City Press repeated it. Video here, at 13:06.

  Ban replied, "United Nations relevant agencies will continue to work to address that issue." Not only is the logic circular -- UNAIDS says they prepared Ban to raise the issue, then Ban says "agencies" will be the ones to raise it -- when at 6 p.m. the UN put out their transcript of the press encounter, they omitted Inner City Press' Maxim Popov question, and called the follow up "inaudible." Compare video to UN transcript, below.

UN's Ban and Karimov, border closure and Popov not shown

Compare video to UN transcript--

Inner City Press: You mentioned the people that are waiting to cross the border out of Kyrgyzstan. When you spoke with President [Islam] Karimov of Uzbekistan, did you ask him to open the border? Also, when you were in Uzbekistan, were human rights a part of your conversation with President Karimov of Uzbekistan?

SG: When I had a telephone call with President Karimov just two days ago, I appreciated his willingness to accommodate 80,000 refugees who have crossed the border. I know that there is a serious difficulty in accommodating these 80,000 people and also in feeding them, providing necessary assistance. He told me that their capacity would run out in three to four days. That is why I have immediately spoken with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other United Nations agencies in mobilizing all humanitarian assistance. UNHCR has delivered more than 200 tons of immediate, urgent food assistance. Now it is important that borders are open, but at the same time, I know I know that there is concerns on countries in the region of how to manage this border security when addressing all these tens of thousands of people at one time. I will continue to discuss this matter. [Special Representative] Mr. Miroslav Jenca is on the ground in Bishkek talking to all the neighboring countries and he is closely coordinating with the Special Representatives of the European Union, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and Shanghai corporation organizations and other individual countries. I understand that you have been briefed by Mr. Jenca, by the way, at this afternoon's noon press briefing. So we will closely monitor what will be the best way to address this humanitarian issue including this border management.

Inner City Press: [inaudible, not into microphone]

SG: Again, United Nations relevant agencies will continue to work to address that issue.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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