The Bilderberg Group, long criticized for a lack of transparency, has revealed details of its upcoming meeting. This year 138 politicians, bank bosses, billionaires, chief executives and European royalty have confirmed their attendance to the invitation-only event, set to take place in Watford, England. The list notably includes only 14 women. During the world’s most secretive gathering the Bilderberg Group is set to discuss topics including cyber warfare, US foreign policy, “developments in the Middle East” and “Africa’s challenges” despite the glaring absence of regional representatives.
The group is comprised largely of individuals from financial and business backgrounds - there will be nearly three dozen CEOs and more than two dozen Chairmen of banks and petroleum giants. Twenty-three financial institutions will be represented at the five-star Grove Hotel near Watford, Hertfordshire, including Goldman Sachs.
As the list was released, critics could not help but point fingers at problems some of the attendees are currently facing in their respective fields.
Special attention has been placed on Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and Google’s Eric Schmidt, as the two are currently facing unprecedented political pressure over their tax avoidance strategies. Google, for its part, has faced scrutiny amid reports that it paid just £10 million in corporation tax in Britain between 2006 and 2011, despite revenues of £11.9 billion.
Chancellor George Osborne and his Labour shadow Ed Balls, who have been making headlines with their spending and tax offers for the UK, will also rub shoulders with other participants of the Bilderberg Conference.
One of the guests is group chairman of HSBC Holdings plc, which faced a stringent investigation in 2012 for allegedly assisting in the laundering of money from Mexico, Iran and Syria for terrorist networks and drugs cartels.
Among guests there are also the 75th and 70th US Treasury Secretaries, Tim Geithner and Robert Rubin, respectively........................