Picture a paradise where you can be lawsuit-proof. A place to hide your hard-earned assets far from the grasp of former or soon-to-be-former spouses, angry business partners or, if you happen to be a doctor, patients who might sue you.
“There’s been a lot of pressure on the Caymans and other places to clean up,” said Heather Lowe, director of government affairs at Global Financial Integrity, a Washington research and advocacy group. “There are many areas where pressure is not exerted, and the Cooks is one of them. Using a Cook trust to hide assets from your spouse may not make the headlines.”In August 2012, Hillary Clinton became the first secretary of state to visit the islands. Her public remarks on the main island, Rarotonga, did not contain a word about the trusts. A Congressional Research Service study on tax havens released in January cited offshore trusts, in the Cooks and elsewhere, as possible conduits for evading taxes, with little follow-up.