The Sovereign Society Offshore A-Letter goes out via email five days each week to over 200,000 readers, (208,942 to be exact as of today).
That impressive number is a far cry from the days more than a decade ago when, as its first editor, I launched The A-Letter to an audience of 1500 friends, relatives and Sovereign Society employees, (all three of us) who had those new fangled email accounts with something called Compuserve or AOL.
But the present broad cast of my words may explain why these days I get a lot more email responses, pro and con. (Please keep ‘em coming!) And there’s really no telling what topic will elicit what I might call, "a vigorous reaction."
I certainly did not expect the many comments I’ve received after "Ever Heard of Labuan?" appeared on July 28. (Labuan is said to be a corruption of the Malay word labuh-an, signifying an "anchorage" and pulau means "island").
To be honest, as a hook to talk about my soon to be published next book, a second edition of the popular Where to Stash Your Cash legally: Tax Havens of the World, I used a news article describing concern about the declining U.S. dollar on the part of Malaysian and Chinese officials.
My attempted point was that my brilliant research covers not only well known offshore venues such as Switzerland or Panama, but out of the way places such as Belize or Labuan – the latter being Malaysia’s planned Islamic offshore financial center.
But if one wishes to present one’s self as an expert, one’s facts better be correct.
Word from an Expert
I made the mistake of quoting from a somewhat laudatory Forbes web article about Labuan without checking its accuracy. I repeated their erroneous statement that Labuan had been removed from the OECD "gray list" of tax havens, when in fact it has not.
An email from the distinguished senior offshore attorney, tax expert and author, Marshall J. Langer JD, (right) a friend of longstanding, brought me up short on that false assertion. I stand corrected.
Seeds of Doubt
Steve W. from The Philippines quite rightly emailed: "I read your newsletters with interest but when I see lax writing on subjects I'm familiar with it makes me doubt your advice on items I'm not."
Steve takes me to task for my faulty spelling and geography: "There is no ‘Sahbah province’ – there is the State of Sabah [but] Labuan is not in Sabah, rather it is in…the ‘Federal Territory of Labuan.’"
He also suggests that it’s not so easy to avoid Labuan corporate taxes, recommending instead Belize or the British Virgin Islands, where reporting and auditing requirements are virtually nil, (unlike Labuan). Steve closes with: "Aside from this article I enjoy your mailings, thanks for the information." De nada, Steve.
The Son Also Rises
Then there was a swift reaction from my eldest son, Ted, who travels the world as international representative of a major non-governmental organization. (He was in Haiti last week, this week in Africa, Asia last month).
Referring to my rosy description of Malaysia as being "pleasant and hassle free," (a phrase I wickedly borrowed from the Forbes article), Ted, who has been there, snorted: "Pleasant and hassle free? It’s a semi-dictatorship with a deeply repressive approach to civil liberties."
When I blamed Forbes’ wording he replied: "I'm sure it is pleasant and hassle-free for most of Forbes target market, but not for the rest of us!"
I stand corrected again. Ted’s been there. I haven’t.
An American entrepreneur now back in the U.S.A., described his troubles with Labuan as an offshore base for his business.
Says he: "I lived in Malaysia for 8 years. In that time I had extensive dealings with the Labuan Regulator (LOFSA), Bursa Malaysia (Owners of the LFX) and many other parties. I could write a book on why I would NOT use Labuan. It's been a case of poor (Malaya) based management from day one – they just do not understand ‘foreigners.’"
LOFSA Loves Me
On the other hand, I did get high praise for free publicity from the head man at LOFSA, the Labuan International Business & Financial Centre, whose official job is to sell the tax haven to the world.
As the late auto pioneer, Henry Ford, said (long before GM went under): "Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely."
Henceforth I’ll try ro follow Henry's dictum.
The Passport Book – 7th Edition
So, if you you are looking for a new, freedom loving country in which to pitch your tent, deposit your cash or protect your assets, the seventh edition of my best-selling publication, The Passport Book, is available for pre-order. You can reserve your copy now Here's a sample of the contents. Those who place orders now will receive a FREE copy of the 74-page Forbidden Knowledge Report.
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