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Romney says he gained no tax benefit from overseas funds

By Matea Gold, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney said Sunday that he gained no tax benefits by investing in funds based in the Cayman Islands and other overseas jurisdictions, or by using a Swiss bank account, and that President Barack Obama’s campaign was unfairly accusing him of “some kind of unsavory action.”

“There was no reduction — not one dollar reduction in taxes — by virtue of having an account in Switzerland or a Cayman Islands investment,” the Republican presidential candidate told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “The dollars of taxes remained exactly the same. There was no tax savings at all.”

Many of Romney’s foreign investments are highly successful hedge funds and other financial instruments that he helped set up or invested in while he was at Bain Capital, the Boston-based private equity firm that he founded in 1984.

Obama’s campaign has pounced on the complex overseas investments, suggesting that Romney used them to reduce his tax burden.

Wallace pressed Romney on why he didn’t ask the trustee to close his overseas investments before he ran for president in 2008, to avoid such questions.

“I could have said, ‘Don’t make any investments in any foreign companies, in any foreign bonds, in any foreign currency, only U.S. entities. And by the way, don’t buy any foreign products, don’t have any Japanese TVs, or foreign cars,’ ” Romney said

“I expect that by virtue of disclosing all of these things, people can take a look at it and see whether that’s something they’re comfortable with or not. I’m not going to try to hide who I am … to try and avoid the truth.”

Romney indicated that the Swiss bank account was part of an investment strategy that allowed him to hold foreign currencies.

“They’re trying to make that seem like it is some kind of unsavory action and, frankly, all of the taxes are paid exactly as owed and there were no tax savings by virtue of having that vehicle,” he said.

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