Freeports around the world — notably in Geneva, Lichtenstein and Singapore — are known to hold billions of dollars worth of art, jewels and other trophies of the rich. Their promise of secrecy and tax advantages make them popular among the rich, but also a target government regulators.
A 2013 study by the Swiss Finance Audit Office found that freeports may be offering shelter for tax dodgers, as well as storage for cultural goods and war materials. Originally designed to hold commodities and other goods in transit, freeports have become giant black boxes of wealth stored for years by unknown owners.
Freeports have also come under scrutiny in wake of the scandal surrounding Yves Bouvier, a freeport magnate who was arrested in Monaco earlier this year over accusations of fraud. Bouvier has denied the charges, and the case is moving forward in the Monaco courts.