🏛️ Top Secret News!

by Sreetama, Anshumi Shah and Anushka Shah


You all must have heard about Nikola- the EV startup similar to Tesla. A short-seller, Hindenburg Research, said that it had evidence. Nikola and its founder Trevor Milton had made false claims about the company’s proprietary technology to form partnerships with automakers.

That is a serious allegation! And in this chain of events, the founder Trevor Milton has quit.

This Week’s Dose-

📄 The FinCEN Files

16 months, 88 countries, 400 journalists, a trail of $2 trillion (€1.7 trillion) worth of suspicious funds. What are the FinCEN files?

Banks compile the records of money movements and submit the possibly suspicious ones to the US Department of the Treasury. But now, there was a leak!

BuzzFeed News shared with the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists), more than 2,100 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). These were filed by global banks to the U.S. Treasury Department’s intelligence unit – FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network). After that 108 media partners in 88 countries spent 16 months investigating and organizing leaked documents, archives and public records, interviews, government agencies, and whatnot.

There was a disturbing revelation of the complex trail of more than $2 trillion worth of suspicious funds being maneuvered around the globe – and on the role of banks since 1999-2017.

These papers are very closely related to the Luanda Leaks and the Panama Papers, which talk about tax havens and offshore companies.

The crux of the matter. The flow of this so-called ‘dirty money’ causes incalculable harm. Criminal and drug enterprises are fueled by this money. It helps them grow their fortunes and power. This also leads to global inequality, enables tax evasion, and undermines democracies, and points towards the failure of banks as they become a medium for the transfer of money.

📹 Raindrop, Droptop, Who wins TikTok?

China says it won’t dance to the tunes of the U.S. TikTok Deal. If you have been following the recent talks around the TikTok “Sale”, you may have scratched your head. Not to worry! Even Oracle and Walmart – the potential U.S. stakeholders of TikTok- aren’t clear on that.

When did the confusion start? Earlier this week China’s ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, gave a statement that it will retain 80% stake in TikTok after selling a total of 20% to Oracle, its “trusted technology partner,” and Walmart, its “commercial partner.”

Tax got nothin’ on ByteDance. On one hand, it ‘forecasted’ that the global TikTok business will have to pay the U.S. treasury department a sum of USD 5B as income tax and tax dollars incurred in the business. And on the other hand, it said that taxes had ‘nothing to do’ with this deal.

Where does the deal stand now? However, no deal was finalized before the deadline of September 20. The date has passed, along with China’s ambiguity on the matter. The country has been more than vocal about its discontent with the said deal. They’ve even gone as far as calling this sale “dirty”, “unfair”, “bullying & extortion” in their newspaper – China Daily. Beijing has already changed some of its export rules to complicate the potential TikTok deal and restricted the sale of some AI-technologies to foreign companies.

Amidst the tension between both countries on the matter of data security, millions of users, and the clash of the governments – let’s watch out if at all the U.S. gets partnership-custody of beloved TikTok.  

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💵 Trump’s tax return Saga

The Donald Trump Tax Return Saga goes back to 2017. Over the years, the US presidential candidates have willingly released their Tax returns as a matter of transparency. Trump, however- ‘the horse of another color’ managed to circumvent this disclosure. 

There have been numerous claims against the President including tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records. His former personal attorney Michael Cohen also called him out for tax fraud. 

Alas! The legal battle over obtaining Trump’s Tax Returns has borne fruit. The District Attorney stated that he might have grounds to investigate Trumps’ businesses for tax fraud and will persuade the Court to allow access to Trump’s tax returns.

Millions of citizens await the disclosure so they can piece together this puzzle.

#TaxSeason2020 – Documents Checklist

Got taxes on your mind? Here is a roundup of all the 🗎 important documents you’ll need to file your Income Tax Return. Ease your way through this #TaxSeason2020 🚀

🥔 The Court Hadst Hath Decided! Crazy Tax Story on Pringles

🥔 The Court Hadst Hath Decided! Crazy Tax Story on Pringles

Let’s talk about foods that aren’t particularly good for health – potato crisps! There was long litigation over the definition of Pringles. So what is a Pringle? This is an important subject in the United Kingdom because food gets a zero rate for VAT purposes. On the other hand, Potato Crisps are subject to full VAT. In 2008, the lower courts sided with Proctor & Gamble saying that Pringles are NOT potato crisps. The courts said that the crisp was more akin to a cake or bread. 

This was later appealed by HMRC. In 2009, P&G found itself in the Court of Appeal. There was a long discussion about the nature of what a Pringle is. It turns out, that they’re only 42% potato. They are made from a dough that starts out with potato flour, it’s cut into shaves and fried. But at the Court of Appeal, they decided that 42% was enough to declare them made from potato. Therefore they’re potato crisps – only for the U.K. market!

P&G had to pay a gigantic tax bill to the tune of somewhere around £100m.

Now, let’s revel in the irony: a giant food manufacturer goes to the court to publicly and expensively assert that their product is artificial and lacking in natural ingredients. And then they eventually lose and pay a fortune…

Well, all that matters is, once you pop you can’t stop.

💭 Byte of the Day

💭 Byte of the Day by elon musk

💂 Google’s Gatekeeping Fees


🔨 Hammer Blow to Luxury Retail in the UK

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