Gossip extra

Offshore database revealed



Almost 100 individuals and business entities based in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are named in the infamous “offshore leaks” database — which contains 2.5 million names of folks worldwide with secret offshore bank accounts that can be designed to hide assets.

The database, which includes the names and addresses of foreign account holders in such places as Cook Islands, the Virgin Islands, and Samoa, was leaked recently to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

While the database didn’t yield household names, it contained names of international figures such as French President Francois Hollande’s campaign treasurer, Russian oligarchs, a Canadian senator’s husband and Denise Rich, wife of American oil trader and President Bill Clinton pardon seeker Marc Rich.

Offshore banking has become such a hot potato that calls to end tax havens were heard at the recent G8 summit.

The journalism group, meanwhile, finally made the database public last week. It shows that in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, several doctors, an Internet entrepreneur and well-heeled families with expansive trust accounts put money abroad over the past 30 years.

While more than half closed the accounts after the United Stated promised amnesty for taxpayers who’d bring their money back stateside, many are still active.

Because of the controversial nature of offshore banking, however, few locals named in the database agreed to be interviewed.

Broward asset preservation lawyer Bernard Singer comes up as the administrator of one fund. He agreed to chat because his clients are on the up-and-up — or they wouldn’t be his clients, he said.

“I can’t believe this information is out there,” he said of the database. “A lot of people are not going to be happy.”

Singer cautioned that not all of those named opened accounts abroad to escape the IRS or for nefarious reasons. It can be done legally, he said. For example, Singer set up a trust fund in the Cook Islands for now-retired Hollywood plastic surgeon Richard Edison, whose name is in the database.

Why did he send cash abroad? Unhappy patients!

“Doctors used to set up these trust funds abroad to protect their assets from malpractice lawsuits,” Edison said. “They wanted to protect the things they worked for all their lives.”

To find out if anyone you know is in the database, log on to http://offshoreleaks.icij.org.

Strange encounter

The death last week of James Gandolfini, the 51-year-old star of The Sopranos, reminded me of my attempt to interview him during a viewing party of the series finale at the Seminole Hard Rock Resort & Casino.

Gandolfini, who was at the casino in June 2007 with a dozen of the top actors from the HBO show, mistook me for a reporter of the New York Post.

The paper had outed his mistress a few years earlier, costing him his marriage and a boat load of cash, and Gandolfini clearly still held a grudge.

Before I could tell him I had nothing to do with that paper, he extended one of his huge paws and pulled me hard into his chest.

And like Tony Soprano would give a traitor the kiss of death, Gandolfini planted a wet kiss on my right cheek, then walked away without saying a word.

Obviously, there’d be no interview.

E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons, who died two years ago, watched the scene and cracked up.

“You don’t understand,” he said. “These guys just play themselves, not characters.”

Read more People stories from the Miami Herald

  • As seen on TV

    Attack of Sharknado 2: Oh yeah, there’s another one

    The idea of making a movie about a tornado that scoops up thousands of sharks and sends them flying through the air to chomp their way through a bevy of people, places and things sounds totally ridiculous. That didn’t stop Syfy from moving ahead with Sharknado, a movie that became a pop culture phenomenon last year. The mania reached such a fevered level that a sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, was ordered. It premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Syfy.

  • La vida local

    Miami Heat player Mario Chalmers goes from basketball to golf; Ariana Grande talks family problems

    You’d think Mario Chalmers would be ready for his PGA card by now. On Monday, the Miami Heat point guard held his sixth annual golf tournament in Lawrence, Kansas, benefiting his namesake foundation and hanging out with his old college teammates from his days playing basketball with the University of Kansas.

  • Celebrity roundup

    Bachelorette Andi Dorfman: I was attracted to Josh Murray from the beginning

    Bachelorette (no more) Andi Dorfman stopped by Good Morning America on Tuesday to show off her ABC swag (aka engagement ring) from former pro baseball player Josh Murray. The 27-year-old lawyer and her 29-year-old grinning fiance held hands and looked pretty happy. “I definitely knew there was that chemistry and attraction with him,” Dorfman said of their first meeting. “I'm definitely an overthinker, though, so it took me till the very end.” Plus she had to break up with 24 guys first. No wedding date has been set yet; the couple need to do more publicity first.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category