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Mitt Romney’s tax returns reveal controversial foreign investments

We already knew Mitt Romney maintained foreign accounts and stashed millions of dollars in offshore tax havens.

We now know that he had substantial holdings in Chinese companies that use unfair trade practices, invested in a Russian oil giant that does business with Iran, and made repeated bets against the American dollar by investing in Norwegian, Australian, Swedish, and Canadian currency.

  1. While Romney has said he’ll “take China to the mat” and crack down on its unfair trade practices, he’s maintained several investments in questionable Chinese holdings. His 2011 tax returns reveal that Romney was invested in a state-owned Chinese oil company, as well as a Chinese video giant that became a “haven for downloading illegal American content.”

    Romney continues to hold a stake in Bain Capital funds that are invested in a Chinese surveillance company that plans to “blanket the country with surveillance cameras,” and GOME, a Chinese electronics company that is being sued by Microsoft for piracy. Although he frequently criticizes China for intellectual property theft, he stands to profit from these types of practices.

    This comes in addition to reports that as head of Bain Capital, Romney invested in Chinese manufacturing companies that use the same unfair practices he promises he would combat as President—including a manufacturing company he described as surrounded by barbed wire and packed with 12 women per dormitory room. This same company promoted itself as a “low-wage, low-tax firm,” telling investors that it “would not be subject to taxes in the United States,” just days before Bain invested.

  2. While Romney called Russia our “number one geopolitical foe,” that didn’t stop him from holding investments in Gazprom, a state-owned Russian oil giant that does business with Iran.

    Gazprom is part of a group of international companies operating in the giant South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, the largest gas complex in the world. Tehran, meanwhile, notes Gazprom could emerge as a partner in its long-awaited gas pipeline to Pakistan, which faces mounting scrutiny from Washington. Gazprom established a working relationship with the National Iranian Oil Co. in 2008.

  3. We already knew that Romney failed to report a Swiss bank account that held $3 million until it was closed in 2010, and Romney’s 2011 tax returns reveal that he repeatedly bet against the U.S. dollar by investing in Norwegian, Australian, Swedish, and Canadian currency.

    Just as we found out with the first release, many of Romney’s investments are still tied up in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands. And “tax experts said some of the offshore holdings are likely intended to help Mr. Romney avoid paying” a U.S. business tax on his IRA holdings.

    While his campaign insists that Romney has paid all the taxes required by law, investments in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda raise many questions about whether Romney dodged paying his fair share because they are in “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance.” Tax analysts also say that Romney’s Bermuda shell corporation, which he failed to include on several financial declarations required of candidates running for office, could have been used to defer U.S. taxes.

All of these investments were revealed in the two years of tax returns that Mitt Romney filed after he knew he was running for President. Despite the precedent set by his own father, Gov. George Romney, who released 12 years of tax returns, Romney refuses to release any financial information from the years prior to 2010. His continued refusal to come clean with the American people begs a simple question: What is Mitt Romney hiding?