Warehouses that (sort of) aren’t in any country

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/26/warehouses-that-sort-of-aren.html




Not surprised that it’s being used as a loophole though it being used for buying, selling & trading art is interesting. The state i grew up in back in Venezuela was a freeport state, so imported cheese & alcohol was significantly cheaper than anywhere else in the country (i’m sure other goods were too). We used to buy cases of whiskey for family members and wheels of cheese on the cheap, then bring it to them whenever we visited them. I think we could get busted for it at the checkpoint at the state line but we never got searched :stuck_out_tongue:


NPR’s Planet Money team covered this just recently. https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/02/09/584555705/episode-823-planet-monet . (Bonus points for the excellent episode name.)


This is timely. I just redecorated my pied-à-terre on Mauritius, and Joseph Merrick’s bones just don’t go with the new color scheme. All my other houses are simply crammed.

I assume this means that I needn’t pay minimum wage to the maids who polish my collection of reliquaries.


You don’t get and stay rich by doing things according to the spirit of the law.


The world More and more resembles the dystopian features of a William Gibson novel.


privilege (n.)

from privus ‘private’ + lex, leg- ‘law.’


Sniff… sniff… I smell a Nick Cage Michael Bay block buster in the works…

“Technically Not Part of a Nation Treasure”


I believe that a private law was how Jack Kent Cooke (former owner of the Washington DC football team) became a United States citizen. Because it just wouldn’t do for rich people to wait for citizenship like regular people. Privileged indeed.


From Wikipedia

National banknotes are generally legal tender, meaning that medium of payment is allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation.

One can make the argument that If you’re rich enough the government is obliged to bend over backwards for you. Influence isn’t free, and politicians sure do love money.


My brain is right now trying to work through whether I remember a real life heist happening in one of these or a bad movie .

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There was this:

but it wasn’t so much a heist as a place to stash the loot after a heist.


Most true. And certainly.

The super-rich do not game the rules.
They have the rules made to order.

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I learned about this years ago when an item I shipped cross-country to myself apparently shared a shipping container bound for one of these bonded warehouses in Switzerland. My item was stuck at customs and when I bailed it out I was mistakenly given a copy of the full manifest, which listed a lot of very expensive pieces of art and antique furniture and carpets under the name of a famous TV producer.

At first, I was puzzled as to why someone would be shipping items worth more than a very expensive house all the way to Europe, but a little research introduced me to this weird world.


You don’t have to pay them minimum wage, but that just makes it cheaper for someone else to come along and bribe them for access…

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How dare you impugn the loyalty of my lackeys, sir (edit: or madam)! They would walk through fire for me!

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