How the US super-rich ‘dodge’ taxes

WASHINGTON, Aug 7, 2006 (AFP) – If you had a billion dollars in the bank and lived a jet-set lifestyle out of a string of luxury homes filled with valuable artworks, your taxes would be pretty hefty, right? Well not entirely, according to a Senate probe that has examined hundreds of documents and issued 74 subpoenas as it turns a spotlight on the murky tax dealings of some of America’s richest citizens.

The Senate’s subcommittee on investigations has spent a year tracking the finances of several billionaires and discovered they funnelled hundreds of millions of dollars to tiny Caribbean islands and the Isle of Man.

Named in a subcommittee report are Robert Wood Johnson IV, the owner of the New York Jets American football team, Haim Saban, the billionaire behind the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show, Texan tycoons Charles and Sam Wyly and telecoms entrepreneur Walter Anderson.

“Our investigation blows the lid off tax haven abuses that use sham trusts, shell corporations and fake economic transactions to hide the fact that US citizens are controlling offshore assets … and dodging taxes,” Senator Carl Levin fumed as the panel released its findings last week.

Investigators claim Johnson and