The exchange was a role reversal: An Obama campaign ad in July 2012 claimed Romney had millions in the Cayman Islands, among other “tax havens.” We rated that True, noting that nothing illegal or improper about the investments through his blind trust.
We also reviewed an Obama claim from an ad in September 2012 that said, “Even today part of Romney’s fortune is invested in China.”
We rated that Mostly True, noting that Romney had money invested in funds that owned shares in two Chinese firms, but that Obama’s claim suggested Romney had more to do with the investment decision than is the case. (We further noted that the New York Times reported that one of the funds had invested in a Chinese video surveillance company that supplies cameras to police for watching public spaces.)
Okay, so what about Romney’s debate description of Obama’s pension investments?
The Romney campaign told us it was referring to investments made by the Illinois State Board of Investment on behalf of the state employees’ retirement system there.
The Romney campaign pointed us to that pension fund’s holding in an entity that is part of Advent International. Advent has described itself as “one of the world’s most global private equity firms” and has buyout offices in 16 countries.
Atwood confirmed that the pension fund has invested $30 million in one of Advent’s limited partnerships, Advent International GPE VI-A. That partnership was organized in the Cayman Islands, Atwood said. Public filings back that up.
What about Romney’s broader claims, about Obama’s foreign investments?
The Illinois pension fund also has numerous foreign investments, including in Chinese companies, as part of its diversified portfolio, Atwood said.
So, now that it’s been shown that Obama also has Caymans-based investments in his trust, what happens to Caymans-based investments being evidence of tax fraud and/or avoidance? If Romney is a tax cheat because of such investments, how is Obama not also a tax cheat?