Germany buys Dubai data to track possible tax evasion

Germany buys Dubai data to track possible tax evasion
Tax authorities in Germany’s 16 states had in the past sought information from countries like Switzerland to unearth possible tax evasion by wealthy Germans. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 13 June 2021

Germany buys Dubai data to track possible tax evasion

Germany buys Dubai data to track possible tax evasion
  • Der Spiegel Magazine first reported the purchase of a CD containing details of assets in Dubai

BERLIN: Germany has bought a trove of data that could help treasury officials track down possible tax evasion by wealthy German citizens, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Friday.
“The data will now be evaluated by the regional tax authorities,” Scholz said in Berlin. “Tax evasion is not a minor offense it is a crime.”
Der Spiegel Magazine first reported the purchase of a CD containing details of assets in Dubai such as tracts of land and real estate owned by German nationals.
It said an anonymous informant approached German officials and offered to pass on the data, for which the Federal Tax Office paid about 2 million euros ($2.42 million), Spiegel said.
Scholz did not confirm or deny the details reported by Spiegel about how the CD was purchased or the price.
Tax authorities in Germany’s 16 states had in the past sought information from countries like Switzerland to unearth possible tax evasion by wealthy Germans.
Scholz, who leads the Social Democratic Party (SPD), has made fair taxation a major election pledge before an election in September forecast to deal his center-left party its worst-ever result.


New York makes registration mandatory for crypto lending platforms

New York makes registration mandatory for crypto lending platforms
Updated 5 sec ago

New York makes registration mandatory for crypto lending platforms

New York makes registration mandatory for crypto lending platforms
  • State’s attorney general directs unregistered outlets to cease operations

RIYADH: New York has made it mandatory on cyrptocurrency lending platforms to register with the Office of the Attorney General if they wish to operate in the state or offer their products to New Yorkers.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday said these steps are aimed to protect New York investors and markets from exploitation by high-risk virtual currency schemes.

The official also ordered the closure of two cryptocurrency lending platforms in New York and three other platforms were directed to provide information about their business.

“Cryptocurrency platforms must follow the law, just like everyone else,” James said.

The move comes weeks after the attorney general won a court order forcing the closure of cryptocurrency exchange Coinseed.

“My office is responsible for ensuring industry players do not take advantage of unsuspecting investors. We’ve already taken action against a number of crypto platforms and coins that engaged in fraud or that illegally operated in New York,” he said.


Saudi Venture Investment Co. launches initiative to support startups

Saudi Venture Investment Co. launches initiative to support startups
Updated 28 min 17 sec ago

Saudi Venture Investment Co. launches initiative to support startups

Saudi Venture Investment Co. launches initiative to support startups

RIYADH: The Saudi Venture Investment Co. has launched the “Investment in Accelerator Funds and Startup Studios" initiative, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.
It is part of the company’s efforts to support startups in the Kingdom in the seed and pre-seed phases.
SVC has investments worth SR1.1 billion ($293.2 million) in 20 funds.
The company has supported around 116 startups since its establishment in 2018 till the end of the third quarter of 2021.
 


Saudi Arabia sees gasoline, diesel demand rise in 2021

Saudi Arabia sees gasoline, diesel demand rise in 2021
Updated 48 min 20 sec ago

Saudi Arabia sees gasoline, diesel demand rise in 2021

Saudi Arabia sees gasoline, diesel demand rise in 2021

RIYADH/CAIRO: Average motor and aviation gasoline demand in Saudi Arabia jumped to 470 thousand barrels per day (kbd) in 2021, compared to 455 kbd in 2020, data compiled by Arab News from Jodi revealed.
Calculations made for 2021 were up to August, the year’s latest data point so far.
The data reflects a recovery in gasoline demand as the effects of the pandemic start to taper off. However, the demand is still below the pre-pandemic levels. Average gasoline demand used to cross 500 kbd before 2020 in the Kingdom.
The data for 2021 is incomplete and a 12-month dataset might lead to a different conclusion.
Saudi motor and aviation gasoline demand reached 471 kbd in August, which was a marginal decline from the previous month's 473 kbd. In annual terms, 2021 recorded a 9kbd fall in demand as compared to last year's August, which stood at 480 kbd.
Similarly, the Kingdom’s average diesel demand slightly increased to 497 kbd in 2021, up from 492 kbd in 2020. Nevertheless, it is still below pre-2020 levels. In 2017-19, average diesel demand was above the 520 kbd mark.
Diesel is mainly used by trucks and hence could be roughly used as a gauge for the intensity of goods shipments across the country.
In August, the demand for diesel reached 532 kbd, which was moderately higher than the same month last year by 11 kbd. It was also noticeably greater than the previous month’s demand as it recorded a monthly increase of 41 kbd.


Bitcoin rises near 6-month high, as ETF launch date approaches: Market wrap

Bitcoin rises near 6-month high, as ETF launch date approaches: Market wrap
Updated 18 October 2021

Bitcoin rises near 6-month high, as ETF launch date approaches: Market wrap

Bitcoin rises near 6-month high, as ETF launch date approaches: Market wrap

RIYADH: ProShares is set to launch a Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, in what would be a first for institutional investors in the US, New York Times reported.

The ETF will provide institutional investors and retail investors exposure to Bitcoin, who cannot legally or do not want direct exposure, through a brokerage account.

“When we have a Bitcoin ETF in the US, billions and billions of dollars will flow into Bitcoin that under no circumstances would have found their way into Bitcoin otherwise,” MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor said.

Stablecoins

Asset-backed stablecoins do not pose a systemic risk to the US financial system and should not face a new set of rules, a major cryptocurrency lobby group told US regulators on Monday, as tighter oversight of the fast-growing technology looms.

Stablecoins — digital tokens usually backed by reserves of dollars or assets from gold to other cryptocurrencies — have ballooned during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets — which comprises top US regulators including the Treasury and Federal Reserve — is focusing on them as part of wider efforts to rein in crypto.

The group is widely expected to publish in the coming months a report detailing the risks and opportunities of stablecoins.

Adoption

The Central Bank of Brazil released a report showing that Brazilians have bought more than $4 billion in cryptocurrency imports since the beginning of the year.

The report also shows that Brazilians have consistently earned more than $350 million in cryptocurrencies every month since January.

However, according to some analysts from the central bank, this number is likely to reach twice its value this year.

Brazilians investing in cryptocurrencies abroad are likely to triple the amount invested in American shares, according to Bruno Serra the director of monetary policy of the Central Bank of Brazil.

Crypto regulation

Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange, Coinbase has published its proposal for crypto regulation after more than 75 meetings with stakeholders in government, industry, and academia.

“Today we’re launching our Digital Asset Policy Proposal, which we hope will help chart a course for clear regulation of cryptocurrency and web 3.0 in the US. It’s critical to bring clarity to this space and ensure America remains a financial leader,” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong tweeted.

ATMs

Popular BTM Operator, Bitcoin of America, recently announced their newest addition to their Bitcoin ATM machines.

Ethereum is available now for buy and sell at Bitcoin of America ATM locations due to its growing popularity,  it also offers Bitcoin and Litecoin options online and at their BTM locations.

Trading

Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency in trading internationally, traded higher on Monday, rising by 1.62 percent to $61,891 at 6 p.m. Riyadh time.

Ether traded at $3,769, down 1.94 percent, according to data from CoinDesk.


Oil prices ease off highs as US factory data weighs on market: Energy market wrap

Oil prices ease off highs as US factory data weighs on market: Energy market wrap
Updated 18 October 2021

Oil prices ease off highs as US factory data weighs on market: Energy market wrap

Oil prices ease off highs as US factory data weighs on market: Energy market wrap

RIYADH: Oil prices pulled back after touching multiyear highs on Monday, trading mixed as US industrial output for September fell, tempering early enthusiasm about demand.

Brent crude oil futures were down 20 cents or 0.24 percent at $84.66 a barrel by 11:46 a.m. EST (1546 GMT) after hitting $86.04, their highest since October 2018.
US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were 17 cents higher, or 0.2 percent, at $82.46 a barrel, after hitting $83.87, their highest since October 2014.
Both contracts rose by at least 3 percent last week.

OPEC+ quota

OPEC+ compliance with oil cuts fell slightly to 115 percent in September, three sources from the alliance told Reuters on Monday.

The figure shows that some members continue to struggle to produce at their agreed quota levels due to various technical problems.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies led by Russia, or OPEC+ as the alliance is known, raised its output targets by 400,000 barrels per day in September. 
It has also agreed to raise them by a further 400,000 bpd in October and in November.


Underinvestment and maintenance problems have stymied efforts by Angola and Nigeria to raise output, an issue that is expected to continue impacting the West African producers in the near future.

Saudi exports

Saudi Arabia’s crude oil exports rose in August to its highest level in seven months, according to data released by the Joint Organizations Data Initiative (Jodi) on Monday.

Some 6.45 million barrels per day (bpd) were shipped from the Kingdom in August, a rise from 6.327 million bpd recorded in July.

US coal-fire generation

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Monday it expected the US coal-fired generation to increase in 2021 by 22 percent compared with 2020.

Green hydrogen

INEOS, Europe’s largest hydrogen producer, said on Monday it would invest more than $2.3 billion on electrolysis plants to make zero-carbon green hydrogen across Europe.

Emission cuts

South Korea aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 2018 levels by 2030, for fighting climate change over the next decade.

Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp, a trading house and mineral resources company with energy and metals assets worldwide, will invest $17.54 billion by 2030 in alternative energies, to halve its greenhouse gas emissions on 2020 levels, and to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, it said in a statement.

Gas supply 

Russian gas giant Gazprom has booked 35 percent of total additional capacity, offered by the Polish operator Gas System for transit via the Kondratki transit point for the Yamal-Europe pipeline for November and has not booked any volumes via Ukraine, according to the auction results shown on Monday.

Germany does not see any gas supply shortages despite a slight drop in its storage levels from the week before, a spokesperson for the country’s Economy Ministry said.

Storage facilities are now filled to around 70 percent capacity compared with 75 percent last week, but the ministry still assumes that the facilities will continue to be filled as suppliers honor their contracts, he added.

Coal vs. renewable 

Global coal prices have jumped to record highs and top thermal coal exporter Indonesia has increased its 2021 output to 625 million tons, 11percent higher than 2020 output target to meet the demand.

The EU’s head of climate change policy said that returning to using dirty energy from coal during the current energy crunch is “not a smart move” and markets should seize the opportunity to transition into renewables.