Laughing at Putin's Foreign Asset Freeze by Market Authority
There's nothing more enjoyable than a good laugh. And so today I present you with my LOL Putin moment of the day.
As I've been arguing from the start of the Ukraine conflict, the Obamanator and the rest of the West merely need to clamp down on Russian oligarch visas and assets. Separating Russia's uber-wealthy from their English countryside manors and New York City duplex penthouses would cause enough strife among the political elite to halt Putin's military exercises.
When the West warned Putin of asset freezes, the bare-chested bear hunter responded in a tit-for-tat fashion by warning of Western asset freezes in Russia.
And this provided us with our LOL Putin moment of the day. Hat tip to Morgan Stanley, here's the chart of foreign direct investment in Russia…
You should immediately notice that 79% of Russian foreign direct investments come from countries where rich Russians hide their money. In a nutshell, the Russian oligarchs move their money to Cyprus, Bahamas, Bermuda, etc (anywhere that it's not subject to Russian government taxes), and then invest in businesses inside Russia. And that's why their investments show up as foreign direct investment.
So when Putin threatens to freeze foreign assets in Russia, he's merely freezing the tax-sheltered investments of his own uber-wealthy.
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