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Latino Daily News

Thursday October 20, 2011

Lobbying for Free Trade Pacts with Panama and Colombia, News Corp. Direct Benefit

According to federal records, Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire News Corp. lobbied in favor of the free trade pact with Panama.

The free trade pact with the Latin American country makes it harder to crack down on abuses of tax policies in Panama, where News Corp., which heads Fox News, operates subsidiaries.

It was in the best interest of the conglomerate to push for the now-current Panama pact, and that’s exactly what the already controversial company did.

Within countries considered to be international tax havens, News Corp. operates 136 subsidiaries according to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Panama attracts companies worldwide with its zero-percent tax rate, and its banks’ secrecy policies.

Rebecca Wilkins, senior counsel at the nonprofit Citizens for Tax Justice, told the Huffington Post, “A long list of tax haven subsidiaries might indicate a lot of nefarious activity, but you really only need one. News Corp. might use a single Panama subsidiary to avoid taxes on $3 or on $3 billion. We need sales, profits, tax payments and employees reported on a country-by-country basis to get a good picture of what the multinational is really doing.”

But while a number of companies have money stashed in international tax haven countries like Panama, HuffPo owners AOL included, most do not a directly lobby on trade deals as News Corp. did.

The other recent free trade agreements with Colombia and South Korea were also beneficial to the media giant, as News Corp. operates two subsidiaries in Colombia, and three in South Korea.

Congress passed trade deals with all three countries on October 12 of this year.