Offshore Cash Deposits and Transactions
By Aurelia Masterson, www.panamalaw.org
Introduction – Depositing cash into a bank account is not illegal. What has to happen is the various declarations need to be made at the time of the deposit. Some countries require cash departing the country in amounts over $10,000 to be declared. Not all countries require declarations to be made on departing funds. You should be prepared to declare the source of origin of the funds. We cannot work with illegally derived funds. Panama – Panama banks will not accept cash in amounts over $10,000, all of them. Guatemala – The Banks in Guatemala will accept cash in amounts over $10,000 as long as the appropriate declarations are made in Guatemala. Same applies for large cash withdrawals – it is fine as long as it is declared. Ecuador - The Banks in Ecuador will accept cash in amounts over $10,000 as long as the appropriate declarations are made in Ecuador. Same applies for large cash withdrawals – it is fine as long as it is declared. Methods of Transportation – Generally large amounts of cash are not transported in commercial aircraft. No sane person is going to check a suitcase full of cash. This leaves carry on luggage and this will only hold “so much” cash and “so much” for some people may be enough and for others it will not even come close. Usually a private jet is utilized. Usually armored cars with police escorts are arranged to meet the flight when it lands and deliver the funds to the bank vault. Insurance – Brinks and similar companies that compete with them will transport cash for you by air internationally. They are set up for this. Insurance can be obtained. Insurance for shipments up to $5,000,000 is easily obtained. Insurance for larger amounts is of course possible but can take several days to arrange. Sometimes points are charged for insurance sometimes it is a flat fee. Some clients work without insurance and others want it. Counting the Deposit – The funds are taken by armored car from the airport to the bank. If the amount justifies it police and/or military escorts are arranged as well. The funds are placed in the vault of the bank. Immediately a team goes to work counting the funds with counting machines. You of course can remain with the funds during the counting process. This can take an hour or can last much longer depending on the size of the shipment. Deposit Procedure – The bank can issue a depository receipt sometimes referred to as an SKR (Safe Keeping Receipt). This shows as an official bank document that you have the funds on deposit in the bank. It has date and amount. Funds can then be placed into various corporate, foundation or personal bank accounts at the bank. The funds can then be treated as any other
funds inside of a bank account. If one wishes to keep the funds stored in the bank vault then storage fees would be charged by the bank and of course no interest paid. If deposited into various bank accounts then interest could be earned, credit cards issued, online banking set-up and so forth. Guatemala does have very tight banking secrecy as well as anonymous corporations and foundations. Dealing with the Guatemala Law Firm – We do not work with cash transactions in Panama. The Panama Banks will not accept cash over $10,000 and thus we do not work on any cash transactions over $10,000 in Panama. It is always done in the Guatemala Law Firm Offices. We do require ID on the depositor. We prefer to meet the client in person in Guatemala but it is not mandatory. A trip for 24-48 hours is all that is necessary. We can assist in arranging the transportation and insurance as long as the funds are not departing from the USA, Canada or the UK. We can arrange for the banking and have you meet the bank before the transaction but not before we are in receipt of a retainer. We will do nothing without a retainer except discuss things in very general terms with you. This do nothing policy includes not discussing names of banks, transport companies, insurance companies, actual prices for fees, transportation fees, insurance costs, etc. as well as any other details of the transaction. Concealing the details is to ensure the security and privacy of yourself and our other clients. The fees are going to be several points and this you can count on. The actual fee charged depends on the size of the transaction and other factors and they can come out of the principal sum transported and deposited. Rest assured there will be no tax on any offshore income, so no taxes will be due in the destination country. Coming to Guatemala does not take the place of a retainer. Some people may wish to come to Guatemala to meet us before remitting a retainer to us and that is fine. We are sorry to be so strong regarding the retainer. The retainer shows us you are a serious client. Some people have objections to retainers. The common objection is I was ripped off before. You should have come to us before is our answer this is a problem that does not concern us. Upfront retainers are standard in the industry. Beginning the Process – If you arrange your own transportation, insurance etc. then those expenses are on you and we are out of it as far as that goes. We may or may not be able to arrange transportation for you depending on variables such as country involved, size of shipment etc. We do NOT EVER under any circumstances arrange transportation or insurance for shipments departing from the USA, Canada, or the UK. There are other expenses such as armored cars and escorts in the destination country that need to be paid up front. We are not going to lay out money to arrange for secure transportation on the ground only to find out your shipment never arrives. This should be self-explanatory. What to Do Next – Contact us.