One of my consulting clients recently drew my attention to a very important article – something that is highly relevant to any of us who own portable assets and valuables of any type. In today’s Britain, search warrants are granted in massive sweeps and the innocent have to prove they are innocent or else they have their valuables confiscated. If you are looking for international asset protection or offshore gold bullion investments, it’s something important to bear in mind.
The natural question to ask is, where could this happen next? And, perhaps more importantly, in which countries would this NOT happen? I’ll address those questions below.
“More than 500 officers smashed their way into thousands of safety-deposit boxes to retrieve guns, drugs and millions of pounds of criminal assets. At least, that’s what was supposed to happen.” So begins a recent investigative article in Britain’s Daily Mail.
The Metropolitan Police’s most ambitious operation in its 180-year history, it had nothing to do with national security. In all, more than 500 police officers had been summoned to raid smart addresses in well-heeled parts of London on one massive ‘fishing trip’ – a huge raid on safety deposit vaults of the Safe Deposit Centres Ltd company across the British capital.
The Mail’s investigation, however, paints a very different story: a botched operation that will end up costing the British taxpayer millions in compensation. Undoubtedly, it’s a symptom of big government out of control. And a warning sign to anybody who keeps an onshore safe deposit box. This was an unprecedented court order that allowed police access to not far off 7000 safe deposit boxes – and their justification boiled down to claiming that the mere fact of having a safe deposit box was suspicious enough to justify the raid.
“Just goes to show who the real dishonest people are, when the police have to resort to the sort of thing that we the public would be arrested for and possibly prosecuted. Anorther indication where the system can lie and cheat and get away with it, and they won’t even have to pay the cost. WE WILL” commented one reader on the article.
Another points out what a terrible state the UK is in today. Even local municupal bureaucrats have the power to seize and freeze assets. The average Britain is recorded on CCTV over 50 times per day. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people have their DNA recorded on a database, with no recourse. Dozens of government departments have the right to authorize wire taps.
If you want to get some insights into how the British Police work, read the article by following the link.
Many of our readers have safe deposit boxes, for storing important documents like bearer shares or valuables like gold bullion. We’ve pointed out numerous times over the years the importance of buying real gold bullion rather than ‘digital gold’ like gold ETFs or certificates. Physical gold also has the advantage of not triggering reporting requirements, because gold bars are not a bank or financial account.
HOW TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM GOVERNMENTS OUT OF CONTROL
But we are not here to scare you. At Q Wealth we believe in presenting practical solutions for your freedom, wealth and privacy. What lessons can we learn from this fiasco?
In my view, the UK and the USA are probably the countries with the most out-of-control governments in the whole world. The expectation of privacy, and being considered innocent until proven guilty, seem to be things of the past in those countries. Others, in particular Australia, are playing catch up very fast. These are the kinds of places where raids like this could be expected again in the future.
On the other hand, clients have frequently asked us for good gold storage options, and in my view Austria stands ahead of the pack. Never say never, but I just can’t see an Austrian judge authorizing this kind of fishing trip. Austria is the only major country where you can still rent safe deposit boxes completely anonymously. (Various options are explored in more detail in our free reports Practical Offshore Banking Guide and The Gold Report – both of which are available in the Members’ Area)
For those needing a storage option in the Americas, Panama might not be a bad place, according to our friend Ammi at Do Business in Panama.
Finally, at a more general level, the lesson from this story is surely not to sit down and cry about what is right and wrong, but to take a pragmatic approach and act decisively but discreetly to protect your assets, and your family, from governments that are out of control. That is what we are all about, and you are in the right place. Feel free to sign up for our Free Q Bytes Membership to learn more about our philosophies and practical asset protection advice.