Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

Nevada’s Big Bet

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By Brian Grow

What happens in Nevada, stays in Nevada. Literally. Especially when it comes to Nevada shell companies.

That’s the gist of our latest special report in the SHELL GAMES series, “Nevada’s big bet on secrecy.”

The story takes a close look at how changes to Nevada’s incorporation laws a decade ago have made it a haven for U.S. shell companies, as well as a hub for current executives of mass-incorporators who previously went to prison, in large part for using Nevada shell companies for illegal activities.

The state’s liberal incorporation laws – which allow for nominee officers and directors and a higher degree of liability protection than any other state – are a magnet for questionable corporate behavior, it appears.

Diplomacy Inc

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By Ben Berkovitz

Diplomacy is a complex thing, and it gets even more complicated when diplomats are trying to act as salesmen.

A series of State Department cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and provided to Reuters by a third party, demonstrates just how intertwined American political and commercial interests really are. (See special report “Weapons, frozen chicken, and the art of diplomacy“)

A peek inside our layer

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We stepped into the new new Media Universe for our report on Augmented Reality, creating our own app which will alert anyone using it (iPhone or Android-phones only so far) when they are near one of the new movers and shakers of the business. It wasn’t so hard — you can see how we did it here.

But for anyone who jtarmo betterust wants an overview, here’s the contents of the layer we made and published through Hoppala (on a Firefox browser) and AR browser firm Layar. It’s our take on the movers and shakers in the AR industry, mainly linking to Twitter feeds, and Tarmo Virki is happy to learn of any updates. These entries are unadorned:

How to make friends and influence people

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White House correspondent Caren Bohan’s special report out today examines President Barack Obama’s testy relationship with the business community.

OBAMA/After Tuesday’s election, Obama was faced with the prospect of legislative gridlock. Republicans pushed Democrats decisively from power in the House of Representatives and strengthened their ranks in the Senate as voters vented frustration over the economy.

Inside the Pirates’ Web

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CHINA-PIRACY/Reuters trade correspondent in Washington Doug Palmer had an unusual assignment: buy a fake Louis Vuitton handbag on the Internet, and take it to a LVMH store for a comparison test, before handing it over to U.S. authorities.

    What was startling was how easy it was to find websites selling a dazzling array of stuff online. This is the new face of
piracy and its costing businesses billions.   No need to skulk around back alleys or some pirate’s rental van to browse through footwear, watches, DVDs and whatnot. Just pick out your LV shoulder tote from a virtual catalog on a website based in China. It looks and feels like the real thing at a fraction of the price.

Mongolia’s El Dorado stirs shareholder battle

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friedlandIn Mongolia’s South Gobi desert lies Oyu Tolgoi, touted as having the world’s largest untapped copper and gold deposits. Little wonder then that this “El Dorado” has become a boardroom battleground between the relatively unknown Ivanhoe Mines and its biggest shareholder, the giant Australian mining company, Rio Tinto.  

Our attempts to get near this mine or elicit any comment from Ivanhoe were about as fruitless as the Spanish conquistadors attempts to find the legendary “El Dorado”, or “Lost City of Gold” in the 16th century. Twice Ivanhoe stopped our reporters from visiting the mine with delegations from the investment community, saying reporters were not  allowed to mingle with bankers on visits to the mine. We don’t know why that would be. We mingle with them pretty often in other contexts and usually find each other’s company amusing and mutually informative.

This is going to hurt

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In Britain, the coalition government is readying its “comprehensiveAUSTERITY-BRITAIN spending review” later this month. Rather than get caught up in chasing which government departments or bodies will be cut, two of our reporters focused on a single council – in this case, the City of Birmingham, which happens to be the biggest local authority in Europe – and explored what it’s doing to prepare for the change ahead.

For a lot of people, the most visible sign of cuts in Britain will be at a local level, as services are pulled back and jobs are lost. In the leadup to the spending review details,  lobbyists in London have been doing great business. Check out their tactics for survival – although if you’re worried about your government contract but haven’t done anything about it, you’re probably already too late.

Morbid money-spinners

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If the life settlements market seems ghoulish, here’s a British scandal which isn’t doing the image of the business any favours. It’s one of the worst the country’s seen.

Around 30,000 mainly elderly investors in the UK put their money into a company called Keydata, hoping to make a little extra cash to fund their own retirement with the promise of a healthy return.