Saturday, February 12, 2005

Kenneth Dart, citizenship and Tax havens

Howard Dean is the new chairman of the Democratic party. Congratulations Howard.

Howard called me up late last night to invite me to his party. That was very nice of him. I was going to accept the invitation till he told me the party would be held in the house of the wife of financier Kenneth Dart in Florida. Mrs. Dart is a big Democratic donor, but I can’t go anywhere near her or her husband.

His family owns the largest plastic cup factory in the US. He himself renounced his citizenship during my presidency and went offshore to avoid taxes. I mean hundreds of millions in taxes. I remember this episode very well. A few weeks after he renounced his citizenship, we received a letter from the government of Belize asking us permission to open a new consulate in Florida for their new consul Kenneth Dart.

Obviously I said no. It was just another of Dart’s tax dodging schemes. When you renounce your citizenship you are only allowed to be in the US for a limited amount of time. Otherwise the IRS can tax you as a resident. Being a foreign diplomat allows you to stay here as long as you like and what’s more, foreign diplomats can not be taxed.

Apart from that Kenneth Dart is one of the most hated businessmen in South America, because of his what some might call vulture fund as opposed to venture fund activities. He buys large amounts of government debts of third world countries at 20 cents a dollar and forces the governments to pay up dollar for dollar. He almost bankrupted the Brazilian economy in the late eighties with these kinds of activities. He made hundreds of millions of dollars in that transaction. That’s the reason he wanted to renounce his citizenship.

His latest venture is to force the government of Argentina to pay the debt it defaulted on. Again he paid dimes on the dollar for the debt and wants the Argentineans to pay him the face value of the debts he holds. Argentina is bankrupt at the moment. Half its population is living below the poverty line.

I don’t know what he is up to now by donating money to our party, but I don’t want to go anywhere near this guy.

I remember his brother telling a journalist that Dart hated paying taxes so much, after he dies, he wants to keep his brain alive artificially, so his daughters don't have to pay any estate taxes.

Money does weird things to some people.