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May 21, 2011 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
Ai Weiwei, the dissident artist whose arrest has prompted an international outcry, is being charged with evading "huge amounts" of taxes, Chinese state media reported late Friday. The brief dispatch on the New China News Agency was the first official disclosure of the charges being leveled against the 54-year-old artist, who was arrested without warning at Beijing's international airport April 3. The report also said that his company, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., had "intentionally destroyed accounting records" and committed other criminal acts.
May 6, 2011 | By Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times
The Kabbalah Centre, the Los Angeles-based spiritual organization that mingles ancient Jewish mysticism with the glamour of its celebrity devotees, is the focus of a federal tax evasion investigation probing, among other things, the finances of two charities connected to Madonna, the center's most famous adherent. Sources familiar with the investigation said the criminal division of the IRS is looking into whether nonprofit funds were used for the personal enrichment of the Berg family, which has controlled the Kabbalah Centre for more than four decades, a period in which it expanded from one school of a little-known strain of Judaism to a global brand with A-list followers like Ashton Kutcher and Gwyneth Paltrow and assets that may top $260 million.
April 26, 2011 | By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Times
Jet fuel was pouring from the bullet hole when the Los Angeles Police Department helicopter struck by sniper fire Sunday in Van Nuys made an emergency landing, authorities said Monday. The pilot "heard a loud thump outside the aircraft and took evasive action," said Robert Price, chief pilot for the police Air Support Division. "He knew the fuel tank had been hit — he could smell the fuel and some of it got on the windshield. " The names of the pilot and observer aboard the A-Star American-Eurocopter AS350 B2 were not released.
January 8, 2011 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
Builders of the Expo light-rail line in Los Angeles on Thursday sought to reevaluate two bidders on the project after an initial review uncovered a trail of federal investigations, allegations of fraud, past construction problems and payouts of millions of dollars in damages. The Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority ordered a more in-depth performance analysis of the Skanska/Rados and the URS/Shimmick joint ventures ? two prospective finalists competing for a contract to build the $1.5-billion second phase of the light-rail system from Culver City to Santa Monica.
December 28, 2010 | By Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
A physician who rocked a UC Irvine fertility clinic 15 years ago, when he and a partner switched the frozen embryos of dozens of unsuspecting women, is being held in Mexico City as U.S. officials race a deadline to extradite him to face criminal charges. Ricardo Asch, one of two fertility doctors who fled prosecution as the scandal in Orange County unfolded, was arrested in Mexico City on Nov. 3, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. He remains in custody as U.S. prosecutors seek to extradite him to Southern California to face federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges.
October 23, 2010 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
Russian prosecutors said Friday they would seek a 14-year prison sentence for onetime oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is on trial for embezzlement and money laundering while already in his seventh year of incarceration on a tax evasion conviction, all charges he has vehemently denied. Khodorkovsky, once the head of Yukos Oil and the richest man in Russia, is widely seen as the nation's leading political prisoner and a personal foe of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The current trial is seen by some observers as a referendum on whether Russia has changed since Putin was succeeded as president by Dmitry Medvedev, a lawyer who has complained about judicial corruption and manipulation, which he described as "legal nihilism.
October 10, 2010 | Stuart Pfeifer
Swiss banker Bradley Birkenfeld would do just about anything for the wealthy Americans who entrusted him with millions of dollars they wanted to hide from the Internal Revenue Service. He'd help them set up phony companies to conceal their deposits. He'd give them credit cards to access their hidden cash. On one occasion, he converted an American client's money into diamonds, then smuggled the gems across the Atlantic Ocean in a toothpaste tube. Those actions, detailed by Birkenfeld in court documents, were part of a coordinated -- and illegal -- effort by his employer at the time, Swiss banking giant UBS, to help wealthy U.S. clients evade taxes.
July 3, 2010
Ideally, Senate confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court nominee serve two purposes: to test the potential justice's grasp of the law and to elicit her views about the Constitution and the role of the court. This week's hearings for Solicitor General Elena Kagan accomplished the first objective but not the second. Kagan faithfully followed the playbook used to advantage by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. at his hearings five years ago: Demonstrate an encyclopedic knowledge of Supreme Court decisions, commit yourself to judicial modesty and a respect for precedent, and elegantly evade questions that might reveal your own views about constitutional issues.
May 29, 2010 | By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times
Wesley Snipes is hoping that the arrest of his former financial advisor could help reverse the actor's tax-charge conviction on which he has been sentenced to three years in prison. Kenneth I. Starr, who was arrested Thursday and charged with fraud and money laundering in federal court in New York, was Snipes' financial advisor in the 1990s. Starr, a prosecution witness in Snipes' 2008 tax-evasion trial, testified then that he told the movie star he needed to file tax returns, despite contrary advice the actor obtained from an anti-tax outfit.
May 16, 2010 | Doyle McManus
I came to Europe for a vacation and an economic crisis broke out. It hasn't cramped the vacation. Quite the contrary: The price of the euro has dropped to $1.26 from $1.50 last year. Gas for the rental car is still $7 a gallon and Zegna neckties are still out of range, but food and wine are much more affordable. And it has made for interesting conversations with European friends about taxes and pensions and the way Europe's different nationalities are still, well, very different from each other.
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