“South Florida by the numbers” is a web feature that catalogs the most notable, quirky and surprising real estate statistics.
Earlier this month, the revelation of the “Panama Papers” and subsequent international news coverage rocked the entire world. A gigantic information leak from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm, exposed the vast, shady world of shell companies, and gave a detailed look at how wealthy and powerful individuals conceal their (often ill-gotten) money. The leak was analyzed and reported on by more than 370 journalists from 78 countries, and has already resulted in the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister, as well as serious embarrassment for England’s prime minister and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among many others.
Unfortunately, the leak also revealed a great deal of crooked activity within Miami’s real estate industry, particularly in the city’s volatile condominium market. Will the “Panama Papers” present another challenge for Miami real estate, or will the exposure of dirty money finally allow law-abiding buyers and investors to get their feet in the door? Let’s learn more in this “Panama Papers” edition of South Florida by the numbers.
$2.95 million: Using secret offshore shell companies, price paid by Brazilian developer and politician Paulo Octávio Alves Pereira (under indictment in his country for corruption) for a unit at Bal Harbour’s ultra-luxury St. Regis condominium. The leak revealed 19 foreign nationals who have created offshore companies and purchased Miami real estate; eight of which “…have been linked to bribery, corruption, embezzlement, tax evasion or other misdeeds in their home countries.” [MiamiHerald]
2.6: Number of terabytes generated by the leaked data from Mossack Fonseca, making the “Panama Papers” the biggest data leak in history – by far. For example, the WikiLeaks’ 2010 release of classified information came to just 1.7 gigabytes, while Edward Snowden’s leak of NSA and global surveillance information was roughly 60 gigabytes. [PRI]
162: Ranking of billionaire Igor Olenicoff among the world’s richest men. Olenicoff, who runs one of his companies from Lighthouse Point, was included in the “Panama Papers” as a shareholder of Olen Oil Management Limited. In 2007, he agreed to pay $52 million to the Internal Revenue Service after his $200 million worth of offshore companies were revealed. Through a Florida corporation, he also recently bought a $44 million community in West Palm Beach. [TheRealDeal]
$190,000: Price of a North Miami Beach home purchased by Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s cousin, Pedro Miguel Delgado Campana, in 2012. Campana and his wife, Maria Endara Blavijo (then consul of Ecuador in Miami) used AustroBank Panama, a company traced to Mossack Fonseca, to purchase the home. [MiamiNewTimes]
Less than $1,000: Cost to set up a corporation, allowing the owner to essentially disappear from the view of government revenue agencies and regulators, according to Brian Kindle, executive director of the Miami-based Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists. [TheGlobeandMail]
This column is produced by the Master Brokers Forum, a network of South Florida’s elite real estate professionals where membership is by invitation only and based on outstanding production, as well as ethical and professional behavior.