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Liechtenstein, When A Tax Haven Rights Its Ways And Sheds Its Shells

The former capital of letterbox companies has reinvented itself, minus the tax evasion. Liechtensteiners are discretely delighted by Panama's troubles.

VADUZ — It was fiscal slaughter, a purge in the name of financial transparency. In five or six years, Liechtenstein saw half of the letterbox companies that made it a tax haven of choice — and of questionable repute — disappear.

"We've gone from 90,000 companies to about 40,000 now," explains Katja Gey, director of the Principality's Office of International Financial Affairs in the capital Vaduz.

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Liechtenstein Banker Murder, The Silicon Valley Connection

After striking it big in the U.S., Jurgen Hermann battled financial powers back in Liechtenstein. A reporter recalls the unraveling of a man now accused of murdering a top banker.

VADUZ — They think the accused murderer is dead, but can't be sure of much at this point.

"We believe he may have committed suicide," says Jules Hoch, Liechtenstein’s police chief. "But as long as we haven’t found the body we have to assume he may still be alive."

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Occupy Liechtenstein? Popular Showdown With Monarchy In Europe's Richest Enclave

The Liechtenstein royal family has threatened to abandon the country if the public tries to limit their extensive range of powers. But leaving would force them to finally pay taxes on their billions.


Locals in the wealthy alpine enclave of Liechtenstein are as famously attached to their monarchy as they are to their mountains. But one of these looming fixtures now risks suddenly disappearing – and it's certainly not the Alps.

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