Chinese oligarch sues city of Vancouver over $200,000 "Empty Homes Tax"

In recent years, Chinese oligarchs have been buying up vast swaths of Vancouver real estate as a way to park their money. They often don't set foot in the luxury townhouses they buy, which has led the Vancouver city government to issue a 1% Empty Homes Tax. A Chinese woman named He Yiju, who is married to a "top politician in China's rubber-stamp parliament" according to CNN, owns a $200 $20 million waterfront mansion and is suing the city to avoid paying the $200,000 tax bill.

She and her husband have a combined net worth of $925 million according to Forbes. $200,000 to someone with a net worth of $925 million is equivalent to $210 to someone with a net worth of $1 million.

From CNN:

In 2018, Vancouver's government ruled that He was subject to Vancouver's Empty Homes Tax, which requires owners of unoccupied homes to pay a 1% levy on their properties' value.

He [Yiju] denies, however, that the property was empty. In a petition filed last month to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, her legal team argued that the lot was being prepared for renovations pending the city issuing redevelopment permits.

He's attorney, Joel Nitikman, declined to comment when asked by CNN about the case.

Image: Shutterstock/Spiroview Inc Read the rest

Ukrainian oligarchs accused of laundering $470b, buying up much of Cleveland

Billionaires Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov used to own Privatbank -- the largest bank in Ukraine -- and now they are being sued for using it for a decade to launder more than $470b (through its Cyprus subsidiary) ($470b is more than double the GDP of Cyprus over the same period). Read the rest

Believing in "meritocracy" makes you act like a dick

The term "meritocracy" was popularized in the UK sociologist Michael Young's 1958 novel, "The Rise of the Meritocracy," in which aristocrats insist that they are the natural rulers of their society based on "objective" measures of worth ("merit" + "aristocracy" = "meritocracy") that are obviously tilted to favor them, a fact that they are conveniently blind to. Read the rest

The UK is finally cracking down on its Russian money-laundry, but hasn't hired people to do the job

Scottish Limited Partnerships are a preferred money-laundering tool of the world's criminals, looters and oligarchs, especially favored by criminals from the former USSR, who have pumped an estimated $80B through them in the past four years alone. Read the rest

Scotland is still a financial secrecy exporter, laundering billions for Russia's crime-bosses and oligarchs

If you're an oligarch in the former Soviet Union, chances are you owe your billions to corruption and even overt criminal activity, and your ability to hang onto that money is entirely contingent on the sufferance of the even-more-corrupt strongmen at the top, like Vladimir Putin -- one wrong move and you may find yourself stripped of your assets (or even assassinated in broad daylight). Read the rest

The 0.2% of Americans exempted by the GOP estate-tax plan (including the Trump cabinet) have never paid tax on their millions and never will

The Republican tax plan will exempt the 0.2% of Americans who pass on estates of $5.49 million (each) to their heirs, a tiny elite that includes most of the Trump cabinet of one-percenter plutocrats; under the Senate proposal, that exemption would double. Read the rest

China's billionaires are disappearing into police custody and/or early graves

Dozens of the richest executives in China have disappeared under mysterious circumstances and are assumed to be in police detention as the country pursues an aggressive anti-corruption agenda. Read the rest

America: a welcome home for corrupt foreign politicians and businesspeople

Some of the most notorious criminals of South and Central America and China have resettled to the USA with money they looted from their countries' treasuries or defrauded their fellow citizens of. Read the rest

July: Vancouver imposes a 15% tax on foreign real estate speculators; September: home sales drop by a third

Vancouver has been wracked by a white-hot property bubble driven primarily by offshore speculators, mostly Chinese, who have driven up the price of housing beyond the means of working Vancouverites, crippling the city's daily life as workers, students and families struggle to find somewhere -- anywhere -- to live. Read the rest

Rich Russian Kids Instagram feed

The spawn of Russia's 0.0001% are alive and well, enjoying police escorts, helicopters, ski resorts, private jets, gold-plated Bentleys, megayachts, luxury wristwatches, pet lion cubs, photo opps with Vladimir Putin, and their own Instagram account.

Кто там сказал понедельник день тяжёлый??????? - by @alexander_dgr8 #RRK #RichRussianKids #audi #r8 #armanddebrignac #domperignon #villa #la

A photo posted by ?? Rich Russian Kids (@richrussiankids) on Feb 15, 2016 at 12:05am PST

Баршаңызға сәлем #RRK из Майами, летим тусить? У кого какая погодка сейчас???☀️?? - by @maks_rr_ w/ @muratx01 #RichRussianKids #helicopter #miami

A photo posted by ?? Rich Russian Kids (@richrussiankids) on Feb 20, 2016 at 8:14am PST

Московское время 120?₽, получше твоих паленых g шоков??⌚️? - by @invisible #RRK #RichRussianKids #hublot #ulyssenardin #rogerdubius #louismoinet #urwerk #greubelforsey

A photo posted by ?? Rich Russian Kids (@richrussiankids) on Feb 20, 2016 at 3:24am PST

Чего там на #RRK нового, ищу компанию на лето????? - by @ml_max #RichRussianKids #mclaren #650s #italy

A photo posted by ?? Rich Russian Kids (@richrussiankids) on Feb 18, 2016 at 1:12am PST

Кто там сказал понедельник день тяжёлый??????? - by @alexander_dgr8 #RRK #RichRussianKids #audi #r8 #armanddebrignac #domperignon #villa #la

A photo posted by ?? Rich Russian Kids (@richrussiankids) on Feb 15, 2016 at 12:05am PST

Summer '15 #tb ☀️?? - by @papa__doma #rrk #RichRussianKids #yacht #corona

A photo posted by ?? Rich Russian Kids (@richrussiankids) on Dec 23, 2015 at 6:56am PST

GM Miami?? - by @polinaaam #rrk #RichRussianKids #miami

A photo posted by ?? Rich Russian Kids (@richrussiankids) on Dec 23, 2015 at 2:11am PST

Yacht day☀️?

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Putin your butt

Reddditor Amzfx created a Putin butt-plug by way of commentary on Russia's invasion of Crimea, and he's selling them on Shapeways for €20.22. The print medium seems a little too porous for safe sex play, and the nose looks like a likely candidate for painful snagging. Amznfx has more political 3d prints in his repertoire.

Check out my 3d printed Putin Butt plug

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest

Realtime Mitt Romney wealth accumulation calculator

The "Mitt Romney just made" page is a running calculator that shows a realtime estimate of Romney's earnings while you watch (He made $940.38 while I wrote a couple of blog posts and got a bowl of cereal for my daughter). It also lets you calculate your own Romney earnings. For example, making a 10-minute egg (including the time it takes for the water to boil, and a minute in ice-water to loosen the shell):

"In the time it takes me to boil an egg, Mitt Romney makes $2,596.08"

Mitt Romney just made:

(Thanks, Fipi Lele!) Read the rest