The Corporate Chutzpah Award

Illustration: Mark Matcho

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When Houston-based Nabors Industries, the nation’s largest oil-rig com- pany, reincorporated in the island tax haven of Bermuda in 2001 and secured a $10 million tax break, it had no intention of forsaking the benefits of being a corporate U.S. citizen, just the costs.

Nabors owns a 33-ship fleet to service its rigs, which it has tried to register as all-American. Although the Jones Act of 1916 prohibits foreign-owned ships from doing business solely in U.S. waters, Nabors claims its ships don’t belong to the mail-drop parent company, but rather to its “American subsidiary.”

The company’s domestic competitors are crying foul — adding that they may soon have no choice but to follow Nabors offshore. A lobbyist for the Bermudan company dismissed its critics as “whiners.”

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FACT:

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Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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