When a wealthy businessman set out to divorce his wife, their fortune vanished. The quest to find it would reveal the depths of an offshore financial system bigger than the U.S. economy.
I was amused to see the comments on this Times story. Several of them made the comparison to Trump.
Other than that, this isn’t amusing, but it does bring up one of my frequent rhetorical questions: Aren’t you glad you’re not rich?
Here are a few excerpts from Nick Confessore’s terrific piece, bolding by me. It reads in part like a John Grisham novel. Indeed, I suggest a producer buy this piece and turn it into a thriller.
When the investigations began, in 2009, [Sarah] Pursglove was living with the two children in Boca Raton, but [her husband Robert] Oesterlund lived on Integrity [a yacht, what else?] in the Bahamas, unable to join them. He had overstayed an earlier visa, and the United States denied him a green card. The denial and the investigations enraged him, Pursglove told me. He employed dozens of people in Florida, he fumed, and had provided the United States millions of dollars in tax revenue. He told his wife their businesses were being unfairly harassed by bureaucrats. Going forward, Pursglove explained, “he wanted to pay as little taxes as possible to the U.S.”
But court records suggest that Oesterlund had begun exploring how to structure his business to insulate himself not just from taxes but also from future civil litigation. “I want to have in writing a statement,” he wrote to his lawyers in 2011, “that I can no longer be subject to Florida or U.S. law.” Take every step necessary, he added, to “remove myself from the country of Evil.”
Uh, that’s us–the country of Evil.
It was in early 2013, when she learned that her husband had sought to sell off Xacti [one of their companies], Pursglove told me, that she started to think about hiring lawyers of her own. “You want to throw me away like I was a piece of [expletive] and then take everything too,” she emailed him one night.
“Women get 10 percent in Russia by law,” Oesterlund wrote back. “In Dubai they get 0 percent.”
Isn’t he lovely? And you were waiting for this:
When she asked for copies of documents related to the potential sale, her husband was livid. “I am closing out all checking accounts on you now,” he texted her. “You aren’t going to use my funds to pay some Jewish lawyer.”