Are South Dakota Trusts hiding Russian oligarchs money?

While Republicans in our state and DC want to whine about the Biden administration not doing enough to prevent war in Ukraine they say little about the possibility that some bad actors that could be hiding Russian oligarch money in SD;

Chuck Collins, the author of The Wealth Hoarders: How Billionaires Pay Millions to Hide Trillions and the director of the programme on inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, said the situation with regard to South Dakota was “an embarrassment” for the US.

“We are the weak link. And South Dakota is in a race to the bottom to be the weakest link on trusts,” said Collins. “We have seen the hidden wealth apparatus but it is always considered offshore. The more we understand that it’s onshore, the US is a weak link and we are now the magnet for kleptocratic capital the better for national understanding and the greater the potential for national legislation.”

Our super majority Republican legislature with the help of the governor could dig deep and enact legislation that prevents ANY ties to ANY oligarch from ANY country from hiding money in South Dakota. But while Ukrainians are dying all we get is silence and inaction.

It goes back to what I have often accused Republican lawmakers of (especially in our state), when it comes to THEIR personal wealth and livelihoods they could care less where the money is coming from as long as they can control it, this is why they refuse to take sales tax off of food even though 47 other states have done it successfully.

War, drought, poor healthcare, poverty, gambling, you name it, GREED is the only thing that controls them.


#1 James Trust 009 on 02.27.22 at 6:15 pm

For the US the Department of Treasury has the responsibility to place the names on the sanctions list. The obligation of the financial institution is to check the sanctions list. The financial institution is not required to maintain a CIA like staff which travels the world trying to track dirty money. Whether the account is in South Dakota or anywhere else if the name is not on the list it is not the fault of the financial institution.

#2 anominous on 02.28.22 at 10:25 am


So, what you’re saying is all that is required for this to happen is a little corruption in the Department of the Treasury?

#3 D@ily Spin on 02.28.22 at 12:09 pm

Allegations that need proof. SD has become a primary banking state subject to federal oversight. There have been a few Soviet links lately. Trump Republicans are suspected aligned. It would seem there should be investigation. For the moment, the US can freeze assets here. Any entity who doesn’t comply is a traitor.

What is worrisome is Putin has formally threatened use of nuclear weapons. Initially, he wanted to stop Ukraine from joining NATO. Perhaps he would back off at some point. However, his ego became insanity. He’s affected the Russian Mafia. They control the country. They’ll not accept the economic pain. Neither will the Russian generals and public. Likely, he’ll be assassinated. Let’s just hope Putin submarines don’t obey orders to fire missiles in a NATO country.

#4 James Trust 009 on 02.28.22 at 2:19 pm

In my personal dealings with Treasury employees they would be pretty far down on the list of persons I would suspect of corruption. One occasionally slips through I suspect but they have a lot of internal audit controls to find bad apples unlike most divisions of government.

I am unaware that Treasury develops the list. I believe the Treasury gets the names from US and foreign intelligence sources, state department, UN, National Security Council, etc.

Most banks do a periodic check of all their accounts against the list.

If you would like to see which of your acquaintances are on the list you can download it.

#5 Mike Lee Zitterich on 02.28.22 at 3:26 pm

I have to agree with James Trust 009. You cant blame South Dakota for allowing people to establish their Trusts in the State, then passing laws to protect those trusts. Its all about property rights, and keeping the Federal Govt from over taxxing the people is in fact, a direct benefit to the State itself . It is the #1 job given to the U.S Treasury to manage our Monetary System, and if they cannot do the job, how do you expect the State’s to do their job. IF the Treasury is not providing a list of criminal-masterminds, helping the States to individually control and protect their own economies, monetary systems, why blame South Dakota, that is like blaming all of us citizens for not doing our due diligence, cause end of day, “WE THE PEOPLE” are the Republic, and we the people have conveyed by consent to allow our Representatives, Officers, Officials to manage the “government” of our Republic.

By means of our own state constitution, the State is sworn to protect our real and tangible property in order to help protect our life, liberty, prosperity, and property rights.

Prosperity being key to this discussion – without American Citizens prospering, there would be no jobs, without jobs, the common citizens have no income, without income, you become dependent on government subsidies.

The more ‘income’ we tend to protect in South Dakota, the better we are for it. It keeps the income in South Dakota for as long as we can, while enables us to restrict it from Federal Income Taxes that strip Americans of their Wealth, Prosperity, and Property Rights.

And lastly, Vladimir Putin has never threatend to go to war with America, but yet America wishes to go to war with Russia if they do not comply with NATO or the U.N or the American Policy. Last I checked, Russia is a sovereign country, that has to protect its own interests. I find it ironic, that during Trump’s 4 years as President, we experienced no threats, no actions, no wars, and it seemed that Russia, North Korea, Syria, and Iran all cooperated better with us under Trump, who also believed that sanctions were a bad imposition placed on countries. Those Sanctions are in fact what leads to conflicts around the globe.

#6 anominous on 02.28.22 at 5:01 pm

James 009,

In these last 2 paragraphs of this FT article- Why would a local SD guy in Pierre say something derogatory about Trident moving here? Do you have any thoughts you could share with us? This article was published 5 years before the Pandora Papers were released.

[…In South Dakota, there is a mixed reaction to the trust industry’s appeal to foreigners. “In a world where it’s very hard to hide ownership or hide assets sometimes the easiest place [is one] no one would normally think of, which is the US,” says Christopher Holtby, co-founder of the Wealth Advisors Trust Company, in Pierre, the state capital.

Since establishing an office in South Dakota in 2009, he has seen signs of change. In 2014 Trident, a Swiss trust company, opened an office in Sioux Falls, he notes. “Why is an international firm setting up in South Dakota?,” says Mr Holtby. “I don’t like that international lawyers want to come to South Dakota. Generally international lawyers never bring anything that’s simple.

“And we like simple.” …]

#7 l3wis on 02.28.22 at 7:04 pm

I am simply asking the question. There are many ways nefarious wealthy folks all over the world find ways to hide their money without attaching their names and with SD being one of the largest Trust holders in the World, you can’t tell me that the money sitting in those trusts are accounts of only angelic folks. People get rich 2 ways, they screw people over or they inherit it (from people who screw people over).

#8 Mike Lee Zitterich on 03.01.22 at 10:43 am


The main aspect to establishing a “Trust” is to shield your income, which is your property by the way, from taxes. Whether people agree or disagree on how we manage trust, the question one should ask, if TRUSTS are seen as a “financial took” to hold capital, keeping money from taxation, from the tax savings, how are they being used to create jobs in South Dakota, let alone other investment opportunities?

Those property holders who invest in land, real property, tangible properties, etc, do so in order to accumulate wealth in order to develop land, properties, and to invest within the community. Has anyone ever thought, the very people/entities who hold capital in these trusts wonder if they are the very same persons working in relation with local governments to provide affordable housing, employment opportunities, helping to redevelop properties, roads, and infrastructure necessary to support such local communities? Many of these trust holders are people who buy those “municipal bonds” sold by local governments to provide back to the residents of such political sub-divisions. The whole point to stashing money in trusts is not only for the tax benefit, but also to provide future revenues to help make our communities better, stronger, wiser.

#9 James Trust 009 on 03.01.22 at 7:36 pm

Some of the money is likely dirty and has likely been through several wash and rinse cycles.

The problem in general is that white collar crime is quite safe. It is even safer if you have friends in high places. Think of all the bankers that pocketed dirty money in 2008. Some of those profits are probably in SD.

Case in point just recently Devon Archer (a fellow board member with Hunter Biden on some foreign boards) and Devon’s buddies were convicted in NY federal court of stealing approximately $60 million from one of the Sioux tribes in SD and $40 million more from the Omaha Public School pension fund. Hunter was not involved in the deal but many of his friends were. After the jury convicted Devon the judge threw out the conviction claiming the facts did not support the conviction. The appeals court reinstated the conviction so she sentenced him to one year and a day.

Before there is dirty money there has to be a conviction. Before there is a conviction there has to be a politician interesting in obtaining a conviction.

#10 Very Stable Genius on 03.03.22 at 8:16 am

First the Chinese and now the Russians, this could be better than EB5. #TheRussiansAreComing

#11 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 03.03.22 at 1:35 pm

Although, the war effort and sanctions are putting a dent into their efforts, Russian producers and a director are currently working on a spy movie entitled: ‘From South Dakota with Love’. In one of the scenes, which takes place at the Bunker Ramp, a Cary Grant looking actor scales down the side of it in hopes of finding its relevance and meaning. Only to then be met at the bottom by some “KGB” looking agents and Trust Enforcement Agents (TEA), who arrest him for inquiry without cause, and then speed him away in an old Cold War looking tan Soviet vehicle with Parisian police sirens blaring like a scene from a Peter Sellers spy movie. And I almost forgot, Noem, too, makes a cameo in this film as well, where she rides a horse through an arena in front of a bunch of Russian officials who yell out cat calls to her like she is more of a checkered Eva (Lady Godiva?) than a small town wholesome Kristi. Plus, there’s also a ‘Fargo’ twist to this movie as well, when some criminal investigators from North Dakota are sent down here to check out our trusts, our steaks, our baked potatoes, our Cokes (Poison?), and our wood chippers ….

#12 anominous 007 on 03.06.22 at 12:03 pm

James Trust, you never answered my question, #6 above.