BBC - A controversial website that allows whistle-blowers to anonymously post government and corporate documents has been taken offline in the US. Wikileaks.org, as it is known, was cut off from the internet following a California court ruling, the site says. The case was brought by a Swiss bank after "several hundred" documents were posted about its offshore activities.
Other versions of the pages, hosted in countries such as Belgium and India, can still be accessed. However, the main site was taken offline after the court ordered that Dynadot, which controls the site's domain name, should remove all traces of wikileaks from its servers.
The court also ordered that Dynadot should "prevent the domain name from resolving to the wikileaks.org website or any other website or server other than a blank park page, until further order of this Court."
Other orders included that the domain name be locked "to prevent transfer of the domain name to a different domain registrar" to prevent changes being made to the site.
Wikileaks claimed that the order was "unconstitutional" and said that the site had been "forcibly censored".
The case was brought by lawyers working for the Swiss banking group Julius Baer. It concerned several documents posted on the site which allegedly reveal that the bank was involved with money laundering and tax evasion.
The documents were allegedly posted by Rudolf Elmer, former vice president of the bank's Cayman Island's operation. . .
The court hearing took place last week and Dynadot blocked access from Friday evening.
Wikileaks says it was not represented at the hearing because it was "given only hours notice" via e-mail.
A document signed by Judge Jeffery White, who presided over the case, ordered Dynadot to follow six court orders.
As well as removing all records of the site form its servers, the hosting and domain name firm was ordered to produce "all prior or previous administrative and account records and data for the wikileaks.org domain name and account".
The order also demanded that details of the site's registrant, contacts, payment records and "IP addresses and associated data used by any person...who accessed the account for the domain name" to be handed over.
LIBERTYPEN - In July 2000, the United States Department of the Treasure Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued an advisory states stating that there were "serious deficiencies in the counter-money laundering systems of the Cayman Islands",
"Cayman Islands law makes it impossible for the supervisory and regulatory authority to obtain information held by financial institutions regarding their client's identity",
"Failure of financial institutions in the Cayman Islands to report suspicious transactions is not subject to penalty" and that
"These deficiencies, among others, have caused the Cayman Islands to be identified by the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering. As of 2006 the U.S. State Department listed the Cayman Islands in its money laundering "Countries of Primary Concern".
HOW TO STILL GET TO WIKILEAKS INFO
BACK WHEN BILL CLINTON was governor of Arkansas, an investigating Congress member found %50 million had been electronically transferred froms the Arkansas Development Financial Authority to a bank in the Cayman Islands. At the time the Grand Cayman's had 570 banks with one bank regulator.
BOB DROGIN, LOS ANGELES TIMES, December 17, 2007 - While in private business, Mitt Romney utilized shell companies in two offshore tax havens to help eligible investors avoid paying U.S. taxes, federal and state records show.
Romney gained no personal tax benefit from the legal operations in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. But aides to the Republican presidential hopeful and former colleagues acknowledged that the tax-friendly jurisdictions helped attract billions of additional investment dollars to Romney's former company, Bain Capital, and thus boosted profits for Romney and his partners.. . . In the Cayman Islands, Romney was listed as a general partner and personally invested in BCIP Associates III Cayman, a private equity fund that is registered at a post office box on Grand Cayman Island and that indirectly buys equity in U.S. companies. The arrangement shields foreign investors from U.S. taxes they would pay for investing in U.S. companies.
Romney still retains an investment in the Cayman fund through a trust. Campaign disclosure forms show the investment paid him more than $1 million last year in dividends, interest and capital gains.
JOSEPH N. DISTEFANO, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: To manage its far-flung financial interests, avoid local taxes and shroud high-stakes deals from investor scrutiny, Enron Corp. organized a sprawling network of 2,000 corporate subsidiaries in 23 states and 62 countries. Hundreds of Enron units were set up in offshore tax havens such as the Cayman Islands; others were under the laws of Brazil, England and other places Enron did business, according to the bankrupt company's annual report.