Category Archives: Lawyers

Geoff Cone’s Contribution on Improving New Zealand’s Foreign Trusts

Geoffrey Cone, a renowned tax lawyer in Auckland, New Zealand has responded to a feature on the recent news on the media concerning New Zealand’s foreign trusts. He maintains that the truth just like anything that touches on tax is mundane. He notes that his country is not a tax sanctuary; the essential characteristics of tax haven are that they impose only nominal taxes. With such, there is no transparency and the laws and procedures inhibit the exchange of information with other states. New Zealand does not qualify any of these grounds nor has a highly secretive private banking sector.


In fact, New Zealand was among the first states o feature on OECD’s white list for its efforts in implementing globally agreed tax standards. One way that the country demonstrates tax transparency and accountability leadership is in how it manages foreign trusts as well as the necessities they place on the trustee.


All of these go towards helping other nations that request relevant information. Under the new rules introduced by Michael Cullen in 2006, New Zealand is expected to submit a Foreign Trust Disclosure form by IRD and keep all other financial records for its tax purposes. The information includes trust deed, settlement details, distributions, contact information, and money that the trustee gets and spends.


About Geoff Cone


Geoff Cone is a principle in the Marshall Cone law firm. He is one of New Zealand’s longest serving foreign tax experts. Geoff is a graduate of University of Otago, New Zealand and hold and LLB honors and a post graduate diploma in tax and trust law. He started out his career in 1980 in Auckland, New Zealand before moving to Christchurch. At Christchurch, he was a partner and the Chairman of Partners in a leading law firm. Geoff practiced commercial litigation and tax and trust advisory work. He appeared in the court at every level as a lead counsel.


The Birth of Cone Marshall Limited


Cone returned home in 1997 after working for the British West Indies and established his firm, Cone Marshall Limited in 1999. Cone Marshall is the only legal firm that specializes exclusively in foreign trust and tax planning in New Zealand. It provides trustee management and trust services through affiliate companies.


Operating Pacheso Coto Cone, an asset planning vehicle, Geoff remains a principle in the Cone Marshal although there is little information about the company on its website. Cone has extensive knowledge in tax law and has worked for tax havens and New Zealand for many decades now. He has been vocal in defending the country’s reputation with foreign trusts. The defense is best seen in an article Cone wrote in the Herald back in 2012 about New Zealand’s position which was a model. He clarified that transparency with foreign trusts was used for asset protection and succession planning instead of tax planning.


The SEC Whistleblower Program

Labaton Sucharow is now for being the first U.S. legal firm to exclusively concentrate on representing SEC whistleblowers. They recently had a client who was awarded over $17 million for reporting on significant corruption in the financial industry. This is the second largest award given out by SEC, which gives 10 to 30 percent of the sanctions acquired as the result of a whistleblowing. Although the SEC rules give the whistleblower complete protection from any kind of reprisal, the Labaton Sucharow client elected to remain anonymous.

And this is no unusual. Pretty much all of the whistleblowers have thus far elected to remain unnamed. And SEC itself respects their wishes completely. They usually do not even reveal when a case was participated in by one of these anonymous whistleblowers. Jordan Thomas chair’s the SEC affiliated Labaton Sucharow. He expects the SEC whistleblowers to increase and the work at his firm to pick up big time in the near future. Thomas definitely knows what he is doing. He was for years Assistant Chief Litigation Counsel in the Division of Enforcement. Then he joined the SEC team as its Assistant Director. Thomas has worked closely with SEC on these cases since the beginning and in fact worked on the first case to do battle with an employee who was attempting to retaliate against his whistleblower employee.

With his vast experience on SEC whistleblower cases, it was natural that he become the chair of Labaton Sucharow after it decided on a full concentration on SEC whistleblowers. But the firm was established about 50 years before that. Shortly before the hire of Thomas, Labaton decided to concentrate completely on representing SEC whistleblowers. Its platform is officially titled, the Whistleblower Representation Practice. This practice is girded with some of the best investigators, financial analysts, and forensic accountants in the world, which, needless to say, has also made Labaton one of the best Whistleblower firms in the world.

Labaton has also often found a ranking in lists of the best plaintiff litigation firms in the world. And its scope is the entire world as well, representing whistleblowers wherever they may be found. You can read further details of Labaton Sucharow at And you can find more information about the whistleblower program at To make sure that there are always enough funds to make substantial awards, Congress has set up the Investor Protection Fund which currently has more than $400 million.