A Hillary Clinton donor, Haim Saban, is among the the thousands of names linked to both the Panama Papers, the documents leaked to journalists that show how many celebrities, politicians, and the wealthy use offshore companies to avoid paying taxes, and to Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian firm who assisted these thousands of people in tax avoidance.
Saban is an Egyptian-born Israeli who made much of his fortune off the children’s TV show and franchise of the “Power Rangers”, and also owns a substantial stake in Univision. As one of Hillary’s biggest donors, Saban has given more than $15 million dollars to her presidential campaign, and the questionable Clinton Family Foundation. The Saban Capital Group, which is based in Los Angeles, controls many multimedia companies around the world, and has helped earn Saban an estimated net worth of $3.6 billion dollars. In 2010, Bill Clinton told The New Yorker, “For nearly two decades, Haim Saban has been a good friend, loyal supporter, and trusted advisor to Hillary and me.” Both Saban, who is 72, and his American born wife, Cheryl, are some of the Clinton’s closest associates, having donating $3.5 million to Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign, and over $12 million to the Clinton Foundation, on which Cheryl happens to be seated on the board. Saban, who has dual citizenship for both the U.S. and Israel, has gone through many lengths to avoid paying taxes in both countries.
Saban’s cheif business is registered to be located in the corporately lax state of Delaware, however, several branches were set up in offshore tax havens with assistance from Mossack Fonseca. Among these branches are Saban S.A., incorporated in both 1998 and in the British Virgin Islands, and Saban Ventures Corporation, said to have formed in both 2008 and in Seychelles.
Fox News reports that while examining the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, they discovered a key Saban partnership called AP. Ab. At. Cayman L.P., registered in the Cayman Islands by co-investors Apex Partners, Saban Capital, and Arkin Communications. In 2005, that partnership privatized Israel’s government-run telecommunications system, Bezeq, in a billion dollar buyout sanctioned by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who once called Saban his “dear personal friend.” Using loans from the government-owned bank, Bank Leumi, Saban was able to finance the deal. During Saban’s time managing Bezeq, huge dividends were paid to its new shareholders. In 2010, Saban sold Bezeq for a $1.2 billion “pre-tax” profit.
Several months after Saban bought Bezeq, he was labeled as a tax dodger by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security’s investigative report know as “Tax Haven Abuses: The Enablers, the Tools and Secrecy.” Detailed in this report was how in 2001, Saban sold his share of Fox Family cable channel to Disney for a profit of $1.5 billion. He then falsified $1.46 billion in investment losses, causing him to answer before a Senate panel. Saban, while answering to this Senate panel, admitted he falsified investment losses to “save money on taxes.” Only Saban’s lawyer and his investment advisers received criminal sanctions. Saban claimed to have failed to read the documents he signed, and was ordered to pay $250 million in back taxes to the IRS. The ordeal, however, did not stop Saban from continuing to use offshore havens.
Saban, while using his Delaware corporations and partnerships, took over another Israeli telecommunications group in 2013, called Partner Communications. Seated on the board of directors for Partner’s are several former Bezeq directors, including Saban’s own brother, Arieh Saban.
Using the Saban Family Foundation, Saban and his wife donate regularly to the Clinton Foundation. In addition to the Foundation, they also give multimillion dollar grants to the Brookings Institution, Friends of Israeli Defense Forces, and many lobbyists representing Israeli interests in the U.S.
Given Saban’s record of tax dodging, and use of the Panama Paper’s law firm who’s speciality is to hide money from governments throughout the world, Hillary’s pledge to “close corporate tax loopholes and make the most fortunate pay their fair share,” could put a strain on their relationship. That is unless of course, Hillary’s promise to the American people to close such loopholes, as well as making the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes, is simply another lie in attempts to earn votes. Which Hillary will America, and Haim Saban get if she’s elected president? I don’t trust America’s odds when up against a $15 million dollar donor.