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Accounting News Roundup: Inversion Winners; Meet Some SEC Whistleblowers; Cleaning Up the James Brown Estate | 07.29.14

Banks Cash In on Mergers Intended to Elude Taxes [DealBook]
Someone's got to: "Investment banks are estimated to have collected, or will soon collect, nearly $1 billion in fees over the last three years advising and persuading American companies to move the address of their headquarters abroad (without actually moving). With seven- and eight-figure fees up for grabs, Wall Street bankers — and lawyers, consultants and accountants — have been promoting such deals, known as inversions, to some of the biggest companies in the country, including the American drug giant Pfizer."

In Inversion Deals, U.K. Is a Winner [WSJ]
The founding fathers are rolling over: "America once went to war to escape British taxes. Now, U.S. companies are moving to the U.K. to pay them. […] While some companies are heading to low-tax countries like Ireland and the Netherlands, Britain is emerging as the most popular landing spot because American executives are comfortable with its location, language and lifestyle. A tax break for companies filing for patents in the U.K. is another reason, particularly for pharmaceutical makers, which have been big participants in the inversion rush."

Meet the SEC's 6,500 Whistleblowers [WSJ]
Among them: "[
A] diesel mechanic, an antiques dealer and a longshoreman; there's an agronomist, two people who listed themselves as "ex-wife" and a veterinarian. There are also a number of current and retired military servicemen and enough hospitality and service employees to suggest executives should watch what they say in restaurants, bars, hotels and taxis."

PricewaterhouseCoopers to close one of its Albany, NY offices [ABR]
Multiple Albany offices? I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Chuck Gallagher: Stole from his accounting clients [MW]
A North Carolina CPA who ran a Ponzi Scheme in the late 80s explains his thought process from back then: "
I believed that I had a private hedge fund and I was going to pay that back, but I wasn’t investing any of it. If you can convince yourself that what you’re doing is somehow OK, then you can sleep at night. You get so caught up in your own delusion that the delusion starts to be real. I did not believe it was wrong. When the scheme collapsed it became very clear that I was living in an illusory situation."

Watchdog: DOD workers with security clearances owe $730 million in taxes [WaPo] 
About 31% of them owed the taxes when they were granted security clearance.

Tax fraud case against Lionel Messi goes ahead [AP]
And a fine Messi it is: "
A Spanish judge on Monday rejected a prosecutor's request to drop charges of tax fraud against Lionel Messi and ordered the investigation into three cases of suspected unpaid taxes to proceed. A court statement said there was 'sufficient evidence' to believe the Barcelona and Argentina star 'could have known and consented' to the creation of a fictitious corporate structure to avoid paying taxes on income from his image rights."

Accountant unlikely savior of James Brown's messy estate [The State]
Russell Bauknight is a yeoman: "When he took over management of the estate in 2009, it had $12,000 in the bank and owed $14 million on a loan Brown had taken out to cover expenses on an earlier tour. Add in insurance, maintenance and taxes, some long overdue, on Brown’s Beech Island mansion, and it was obvious that, although the funk still was flowing on the airwaves, the cash wasn’t flowing into the estate. Bauknight recruited Hollywood music expert Peter Afterman to help him root out the many unlicensed uses of Brown’s hundreds of songs and to find new revenue sources. Within a year, most of the bills had been paid. The estate has maintained a $2 million cushion in recent years, Bauknight said. The national release of Get on Up and its soundtrack album promise to be a major boost."

Adorable Kid Hugs His Dad For Catching A Foul Ball [Deadspin]
Aww, shucks. That's nice.

Posted in ANR