Sunday, April 3, 2016

Leak reveals tax havens of global elites; Tesla Model 3 car attracts big orders; Five tips for work-life balance

1 Leak reveals tax havens of elites (Richard Bilton on BBC) A huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth. Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world's most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

They show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax. The company says it has operated beyond reproach for 40 years and has never been charged with criminal wrong-doing. The documents show links to 72 current or former heads of state in the data, including dictators accused of looting their own countries.

Gerard Ryle, director of the ICIJ, said the documents covered the day-to-day business at Mossack Fonseca over the past 40 years. Eleven million documents held by the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca have been passed to German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, which then shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The data contains secret offshore companies linked to the families and associates of Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak, Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi and Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. It also reveals a suspected billion-dollar money laundering ring that was run by a Russian bank and involved close associates of President Putin.

Mossack Fonseca data also shows how Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson had an undeclared interest in his country's bailed-out banks. Mr Gunnlaugsson has been accused of hiding millions of dollars of investments in his country's banks behind a secretive offshore company. Mossack Fonseca says offshore companies are available worldwide and are used for a variety of legitimate purposes.

2 Tesla Model 3 car attracts big orders (Straits Times) Tesla Motors said orders for its new Model 3 electric sedan topped 253,000 in the first 36 hours - a fast start for the company's first mass-market vehicle, which may not begin to reach customers for another 18 months or more.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk tweeted that the Model 3, which is slated to go into production in late 2017, will sell at an average price of $42,000 including the price of options and additional features, which would give the initial flurry of orders an estimated retail value of $10.6 billion.

That intense interest, fanned in part by a steady stream of tweets by Mr Musk, could help boost Tesla's stock price. The car's average selling price projected by Musk is well above the $35,000 base price. Tesla has undertaken a costly expansion of the Fremont plant, aiming to boost annual capacity to 500,000 by 2020, with production of the Model 3, the company's first mass-market car, ramping up slowly through 2019.

Some analysts said the company could have trouble filling all the initial Model 3 orders, which are accompanied by a refundable $1,000 deposit, until 2020. Mr Musk has unveiled a prototype of the Model 3, a smaller companion to the Model S sedan and Model X utility vehicle.

3 Five tips for work-life balance (Matt Villano in San Francisco Chronicle) Entrepreneurs of all stripes report that one of the biggest challenges to starting a company is determining how to harmoniously integrate their professional and personal lives. Work too hard, and your relationships and health could suffer; focus too much on private time, and you stand to lose your competitive edge. But there is a middle ground. We spoke to entrepreneurs and C-level executives for their take on the issue and how they manage it. Here are five tips:

A Forget the balancing act: The notion of work-life balance implies that the two can and should be equivalent. Rather, consider the integration as a moving target that's a natural extension of your lifestyle.

“Work should be an extension of your life. We have a saying: ‘BYOS.’ It stands for ‘Bring Your Own Self.’ And it means that there should never be a separation between who our employees are outside these offices and who they are inside. Every one of us has the opportunity to lead a passion-driven life; we just need to put the time in to understand what we expect from ourselves.” —Neil Grimmer, co-founder and CEO, Plum Organics

B Leverage technology: Used efficiently, technology can make all aspects of your personal and professional strategy -- scheduling, collaborating, project management -- easier. C. Get selfish. One of the best ways to ensure that work doesn’t overwhelm you is to fiercely protect the time you devote to personal activities. That means planning and prioritizing vacations, regular exercise and some form of mental recharging.

D Get outside help: When you’re overtired and overworked, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the dramas of your own world. To combat this, outsource tasks that aren’t fulfilling to you, and turn to friends and people in your professional network for guidance and support. E Prioritize: Not all tasks, be they professional or personal, are created equal. The sooner you bring yourself to focus on the most important ones, the better off you’ll be.

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