information was deemed accurate when written but the you the reader is always advised to do your own homework. Life situations change very quickly. If you have specific questions- Write EW. Hard as we try at EW to keep you up to date with current and correct information, things can change very rapidly in the Post 911 world we live in.
(1) OPENLY ANONYMOUS ACCOUNTS: Those bank accounts which are openly permitted to be anonymous by certain banks in certain countries are usually not current accounts because of the facility with which such an account can be used to defraud - not least to defraud the bank which issues you with checks! Normally these accounts are call fixed term deposit accounts which you control by letter and for which you receive a certificate of deposit or a monthly statement or an instant access deposit account with a passbook which is controlled in person using a code word. Each year there are fewer countries offering these services. No doubt there are many sloppy practices in many third world countries but do you really want to convert your hard earned money into banana leaves to be deposited in the Bank of the Republic of Banana land. For this reason let us restrict ourselves to four examples of which experience shows we can be sure of: the Austrian Sparbuch, the Croatian deposit book, the Lithuanian certificate of deposit and the Zimbabwean call currency account.
EW readers have known about the Austrian Sparbuch accounts for some time but for the neophytes getting on board this month EW will briefly give the basics.
The AUSTRIAN SPARBUCH is an account where any Austrian (or Austrian talking person) could walk into a bank in Austria and open (without ID or references) a savings account complete with passbook and secret password (for withdrawals) in any name he wished or in no name - a bearer account. These books are completely transferable: the deposit belongs to whoever has the book and knows the code word! You can even on occasion (getting more difficult but still can be done) make withdrawals by mail or telephone in the form of a wire or a check.
The Austrian Sparbuchs have been abused and the Austrians have tightened up, although only slightly. In some banks if you are not a resident of Austria you MAY be asked to show a passport to open or use the account in person. One can usually get around this by using a camouflage passport or banking passport. BUT, the best solution is to get an Austrian to open the account for you and give it to you. EW provides these to you for a mere US $300. You can then change the password if you feel uncomfortable with knowing that some- one else opened the account and saw the password.
Using the Sparbuch at different branches from the one where the account was opened is preferred for the staff there will assume that you are a resident in Austria. These accounts are only denominated in Austrian Schillings (a stable currency pegged to the Deutchmark). The Austrian banks are getting more wary of crediting more than the equivalent US $12,000 in cash or by electronic transfer in one go without an explanation. You can wire money using the SWIFT system into your account. The bottom line is that the Austrian Sparbuch account still provides a way of getting, quite legally, in any name you like or in no name an anonymous account. And as long as you exercise proper caution in its use you should have no problems.
Personally, we have several such accounts and with one of them we have deposited checks in several different names at the same time regularly without problems. But this is not economical for small checks because of the processing fee of 3% with a minimum of about $7.50 plus a currency conversion fee. However, the currency is stable and the account pays 2.5% per annum.
You can do better if you do not want instant access. Despite the drawbacks it is our view that every serious businessman should have at least one Sparbuch. We have a stock of these which we are willing to sell for US $285 each. We also have a contact in Austria who can show you the ropes when you visit Austria and help out with any difficulties you may experience with banking there. Discounts are available on multiple purchases (3 Sparbuchs for US $600).
2) THE CROATIAN DEPOSIT ACCOUNT functions basically like the Austrian Sparbuch. You get a passbook and password and instant access. But you also now have to go in person to withdraw money. Money can be deposited in cash, check (preferably payable to the bank) or by wire transfer (SWIFT). The fee for processing foreign checks is only 1.5% and there is no minimum so it is feasible to deposit small checks. Anyone: even foreigners can open such accounts without ID or references as long as the account is a bearer account.
Naturally bearer accounts are fully transferable to third parties without notifying the bank who after all does not know the identity of the account holder. If you want a name on the account , however, they will want to see ID. The main advantage of this type of account over the Austrian one is that you can deposit in any convertible currency without a currency change.
In effect you have a multi-currency deposit account and are free to deposit and withdraw in any currency without charges or currency conversions! And the interest rates are higher than in Austria. We also have a stock of these which we are willing to dispose of for $400 each also. Discounts are negotiable on multiple purchases (3 for $1000).
3) THE LITHUANIAN CERTIFICATE OF DEPOSIT is also of interest. Lithuania is the most dynamic and capitalistic of the Baltic States. There are a lot of entrepreneurs making a killing importing consumer goods into the country which they sell for several times what they paid for them. New noncommunist banks have sprung up to help them by lending them the hard currency to do this. They lend out hard currency at nearly 70% and pay depositors up to 35%. To take advantage of this you have to sign a contract, which the bank will send you for a minimum period of 3 months and a minimum amount of $100.
The bank does not ask for a copy of your passport and the account is opened through the post. You may be asked for a notarization of your signature but this is easily 'dealt with'. If you want EW can have this done for you should you not want your real signature notarized: a real notary will want to see your passport and driving license! However, you have to bear in mind that when the period is up the bank will return your deposit plus interest by check in your name or by wire to a nominated bank account.
You may be able to get them to make the arrangement in favor of a different name but we would not count on it. So if you do not already have an account in a suitable name we would not invest too much money in this type of account under a fictitious name. On the other hand, once this account has been opened with a smallish amount of money and without ID or references you can then in turn use it as a reference to open another account with a bank which does require references! Like Lloyds Bank in Jersey - you would have to tell them an appropriate story of course and probably provide another banking reference: possibly Austrian or Croatian.
Anyway we are sure you get the picture! The main point is that you can open an account by post in GBP, US or DMK without ID or references for a comparatively small amount of money and receive a high rate of interest in return paid in hard currency. We know this because we have done it! The down side is that this is an inflexible fixed term deposit and checks must be made payable to the bank. But if someone owed you a lot of money you could have them wire it to the account of your business associate in Lithuania or deposit it at the correspondent bank anywhere in the world.
If you would like us to help you open one of these accounts we can send you all necessary information, including all contract forms, a list of correspondent banks in the UK for the banks in Lithuania and instructions on how to produce what appears to be a "notarization" of signature all for a mere US $400.
4) ZIMBABWEAN CURRENCY CALL ACCOUNTS are much more useful than you would at first have thought. These are deposit accounts with no fixed term and also no card or passbook. A statement is sent out every month by the bank in Harare. The bank will open an account in most convertible currencies. They usually want a minimum deposit of £500, $500 or 500 DMK but you can open it with less if you wish.
The account is controlled by post/signature. Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) was a British colony and is one of the most stable and wealthy countries of subequatorial Africa and English is spoken. What is most interesting about this account is that it is opened by post without any of the following: ID references, notarization of signature or passport photocopy. Yes you can open the account in any( name! But we cannot guarantee that when you make a withdrawal you can have the check/wire made payable to another name or account holder.
It is always possible that what is currently possible may change at a later date. So contingency plans are always useful: you should always have more than one account per identity/name. But then we have just shown you how to obtain four such accounts.
If you want a Zimbabwean account just let us know the name and address you want to use and send us a check for US $400 to cover our fees and the account will be yours within the month: as post takes about two weeks from Zimbabwe.