Thursday, April 14, 2016

News Headlines Unfair to Red Cross

Several newspapers have reported allegations that the International Committee of the Red Cross (the “ICRC”) was listed as the beneficiary of two Panamanian foundations used by clients of the infamous Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

These reports are unfair to the ICRC.

The ICRC has no control over whether it is named as beneficiary of a trust or foundation.  Any person setting up a trust or foundation can name any person in the world as a beneficiary.  If the ICRC was named as a beneficiary, the ICRC was likely named as an “ultimate” beneficiary who would receive something only if something was left over after distribution of the assets to the “real” beneficiaries.  While offshore trusts and beneficiaries frequently name the ICRC and other charities as “ultimate” beneficiaries, I suspect that the ICRC and those other charities never actually see any funds from those trusts and beneficiaries.  The charities are being used as an unwilling tool to satisfy requirements of trust and foundation law.

And really, if some of the funds actually went to the ICRC and other charities, would that be such a bad thing?

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The above article provides general commentary of an educational nature. It does not constitute advice for any specific person or any specific set of circumstances. Because circumstances vary, readers should consult professional advisers in order to obtain advice that is applicable to their specific circumstances.