How the world’s wealthy hide millions offshore – from their spouses

Why an Alaska plastic surgeon took a sudden road trip to Panama with millions of dollars

When Michael Brandner, a plastic surgeon in Anchorage, packed his bags and drove more than 4,000 miles from Washington state to Costa Rica in 2007, he wasn’t just getting away from it all. Not long before, Brandner’s wife of 28 years had filed for a divorce. According to a later indictment and court documents, the doctor “collected” $3 million of his and his wife’s assets, converted them into cashier’s checks and set off on a secret trip.

In Costa Rica, Brandner opened a bank account to deposit some of the money and put a thousand ounces of gold in a safety deposit box. Then he traveled to Panama, where he opened an account in the name of a sham organization, Dakota Investment, according to prosecutors’ documents from the case. In 2008, he deposited $4.6 million into the account. Brandner also did not report the accounts to the Internal Revenue Service. During the divorce proceedings, Brandner claimed the money was tied up in these investments and could not be returned, and that the investments were then lost.

Brandner went to all this trouble, the Justice Department says, to conceal assets from his wife, who could have been awarded some of them. Ultimately, U.S. investigators seized the assets. The doctor pleaded not guilty to the charges, but on April 4 of this year, he was sentenced to 48 months in prison for wire fraud and tax evasion.

[ Pro Axia Consultants Business Consulting Group in Osaka, Tokyo, Nagoya, Japan: SAP Business One ]

Brandner’s case draws attention to a less widely recognized use of offshore accounts — hiding assets from a spouse in divorce — that was highlighted by the leak this month of the Panama Papers, which contain many details about the secretive offshore companies and accounts of public officials, drug kingpins and money launderers. The Washington Post has not reviewed the 11.5 million documents.

Brandner declined to be interviewed directly, but his lawyer, Randall Ensminger, offered several defenses. He says that Brandner did not evade taxes on purpose — he just didn’t know that he needed to file for the offshore accounts — and that he took the money to Panama not to defraud his wife but to protect their assets during a time of emotional upheaval in their relationship. Brandner’s intent in taking the money to Panama was “to protect it on behalf of his heirs,” says Ensminger.

Experts in the industry say that Americans are still hiding money offshore from litigious spouses and tax officials alike, but it is getting harder for them to do so. In the last few years, the Obama administration and the Treasury department have erected staggering penalties for those who hide their wealth offshore, as well as many new reporting requirements, says Daniel Jones, a forensic accountant who specializes in the issue.

Read more here…



Mossack Fonseca Supports National Reforestation Day

The Mossack Fonseca Group recently planted over 1,000 seedlings in Camino de Cruces National Park as a part of National Reforestation Day and the “Alliance for a Million.”

Panama City, Panama – November 25, 2015 /PressCable/ —

Taking a more proactive approach to the issues associated with global climate change, the Mossack Fonseca Group offered its support for the reforestation efforts adopted by Panama and much of the rest of Central America through its participation in National Reforestation Day. Recognizing the importance of the role trees play in the recovery of degraded soils, the protection of the water supply, the absorption of carbon and the emission of oxygen, the planting of a wide variety of tree species on such a grand scale is a highly beneficial measure for further protecting the environment from the potentially devastating effects of unchecked climate change.

The firm has a long history of environmental consciousness and has frequently participated in projects similar to the reforestation efforts taking place in Panama. In this particular instance, a large contingent represented the Mossfon Family at Camino de Cruces National Park to take part in the “Alliance for a Million” project undertaken by ANCON. In planting over 1,000 young seedlings throughout the park, members of the firm were able to assist ANCON as it seeks to achieve its lofty goal of stimulating the growth of forest and fruit species across 1 million hectares. With a focus on targeting the areas with the most pressing need for regrowth, members of the firm helped to ensure that forest management areas, river banks, natural forest areas and groundwater recharge zones benefited from the immediate attention.

Those participating in National Reforestation Day surely understand the impact that deforestation has had on the world at large, but Central Americans in particular are acutely aware of the consequences that have been wrought throughout the region. Over the last 40 years alone, 40 percent of the rain forests have been cleared or burned, affecting the region’s ecological balance to a significant degree. Deforestation has affected air quality, caused soil instability and endangered the 80 percent of terrestrial life that calls the forest home. Given the pervasive and accelerated nature of climate change, efforts such as the one undertaken by ANCON and the firm are necessary for ensuring future environmental stability.

About the Firm The Mossack Fonseca Group is a firm that provides exceptional legal, trust and investment consultancy to clients across the globe. Founded in 1977, the firm offers comprehensive services across every continent, specializing in international business structures, commercial law, wealth management and trust services.

For more information about us, please visit

Contact Info:

Name: Mossack Fonseca

Organization: Mossack Fonseca

Address: 54th Street, Marbella, Panama

Phone: 507-205-5888


Meir Ezra: The Benefits of Being Unreasonable

You succeed when you are unreasonable. You neither give nor accept excuses. You insist on success.

L. Ron Hubbard defines reasonableness as faulty explanations.” When you agree with faulty explanations, you are too reasonable.

Examples of faulty explanations:

“I can’t repair your furnace today as it might rain.” The truth is, the repairman is going to a basketball game.

“None of the staff will work past 5:00.” The truth is, the manager does not want to work past 5:00.

“I can’t pay you as I promised as my wife is sick and can’t fix our meals.” The truth is, he is spending the money elsewhere.

“We’ll never get this project done today as we’ve never done it in one day before.” The truth is, they’ve never tried to get it done in one day.

Why Agree?

If you agree with faulty explanations, you agree to fail. Excuses, justifications and reasonableness produce nothing.

Yet disagreeing often helps you succeed.

“If you can’t fix the furnace today because of the rain, no problem. I’ll see if I can find someone who repairs furnaces, despite the rain.”

“I believe lots of people will work past 5:00. You are the manager and need to handle the schedules. Do you need me to show you how to do it?”

“Well, I’m sorry about your wife, but don’t see how that’s related. You agreed to pay me today, so I’ll have to get the money from you right now as you promised.”

“So what if we’ve never done a project like this in one day. We are better at this than ever before and I think we can get it done if we get going right now!”

The sun shines, the birds sing and everything improves when you disagree with faulty explanations. The lies disappear, the truth comes out and the solutions are obvious.

As well as being unreasonable about problems with others, you must be unreasonable with yourself. For example, “I’m tired and want to go home early. Too bad! I need to disagree and WAKE UP! I’ll take a brisk walk. Today should be a day I can be proud of.”

The most important thing you must be unreasonable about is DOWN STATISTICS.

“The one big god-awful mistake an executive can make in reading and managing by graph is being reasonable about graphs. This is called JUSTIFYING A STATISTIC.”

“One sees a graph down and says `Oh well, of course, that’s———–‘ and at that moment you’ve had it.”

“Never JUSTIFY why a graph continues to be down and never be reasonable about it. A down graph is simply a down graph and somebody is goofing.” — L. Ron Hubbard

At some point, we have all given or received excuses for stagnant or shrinking statistics. Because these are faulty explanations, no solutions are possible.

“Reading skills are getting worse in the United States because we have too many television channels.”

“Our business failed because nobody would buy our stocks any longer.”

“No one buys cars from Pete because he’s too old.”

However, when you disagree with explanations and find the truth, the solutions are OBVIOUS. Examples:

“Television has nothing to do with reading skills. What else could it be? Oh! Are children taught to use a dictionary?”

“Your business didn’t fail because nobody would buy your stocks. It failed because you didn’t know what you were doing. Do you know how to make a profit? Did you test-market your product? Do you know how to advertise?”

“People do buy cars from older sales people. Was Pete working every day? Has anyone trained him to sell?”


In the examples below, decide which are reasonable explanations and which are the truthful statements.

“I can’t lose weight because (I’m too busy) (I’m lazy and addicted to chocolate).”

“Company profits are soaring because (I’m very charming) (the new computer system doubled our efficiency).”

“I have no money because (I don’t do financial planning) (of the economy).”

“I’m single and lonely because (I don’t get out and meet people) (no one likes me).”

“I can’t find a good assistant because I (have too many jobs) (am not taking the time to find one).”

“I let people boss me around because (I’m kind and caring) (I don’t stand up to them).”