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"An accommodating jurisdiction" (BVI website in 2002)

British Virgin Islands Registration - re. Jefferson House, 11 Basil St, London SW3 1AX

 

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(1)- The Andrew David Ladsky's off-the-shelf, paper companies that are / were 'domiciled' in the British Virgin Islands...when the licence fee is / was paid.

The following 5 paper companies are / were 'reportedly' domiciled in the British Virgin Islands:

(NB: The 'advisors' Cawdery Kaye Fireman & Taylor (CKFT) and Eversheds are also registered in the BVI e.g. CKFT ; Eversheds)

(NB: Others are / were claimed to be domiciled in other offshore jurisdictions e.g.

  • Panama, for 'Rootstock Overseas Corp' (Headlessors # 3 and # 5) (I wonder whether it was set-up through Mossack Fonseca);

'Reportedly' - as the situation is 'very fluid', as:

  • they are struck-off if the registration fee is not renewed.

For example, in the case of Steel Services, following my request...

..in its 08.08.02 response, the BVI stated that Steel Services had been:

"STRUCK-OFF THE REGISTER FOR NON-PAYMENT OF LICENCE FEE"

In spite of Steel Services being a non-existent company (Owners identity: # 1 , # 2) - as summarised under Owners identity # 2, Andrew David Ladsky, the individual hiding behind it, had his gang of racketeers:

...while getting them to claim that "the company exists" (Owners identity: # 1 , # 2)

In Oct 02, Ladsky and his gang, Joan Hathaway, then MRICS, of the then MRJ, and CKFT, were alerted of my discovery - as I reported it in my 22.10.02 letter to the Tribunal, stating:

"In the light of the above, I cannot see how 'Steel Services Limited' can pursue an application to the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal".

Evidently, it led to the then c.US$300 fee being paid as, in his e-mail dated 05.11.02, the Tenancy Relation Officer told me, he had:

"received from CKFT a ' Certificate of Good Standing for Steel Services issued by the BVI, dated 28 October 2002"

How can this gang of racketeers, who operate through extortion, get a 'Certificate of Good Standing'?

= Not worth the piece of paper it is written on. (See below)

 

As can be seen below, all that is required (at least at the time) to set-up a company in the British Virgin Islands - in the space of 24 hours - is a telephone and a credit card. It may have thus been the approach used to reinstate 'Steel Services' on the BVI register.

Subsequent to my above request, in 2004, I again inquired about about this entity, as well as the other paper companies.

The 23.04.04 reply I received from the BVI's Financial Services Commission is detailed below. It also states:

:"Under the International Business Companies Act, Cap. 291 companies are not required to file information on Directors, Shareholders or Owner(s) of a company" (NB: see, below, how it provides an opportunity for "sham directors")

 

Company (1)

IBC No. (2)

Land Registry No & Titles

Status

Agent (4)

Steel Services

199568

199 568 is/was (Rosebrae District); Registered: 22.11.96. NGL373333 tile on:

01.06.01 ; 10.10.01 ; 06.03.03 ; 26.04.04 ; 22.02.06 ; 31.05.06 ; 02.08.06

24.05.06 transfer to Rootstock, Republic of Panama

"Good standing" (3)

Insinger Corp Services

(See FMC, below, for a previously different address)

Nominee for the 24.05.06 transfer: Enrique Sibauste.

Jefferson House Limited

227649

Registered: 21 Apr 97. Titles in:

2004: 69051; 69437; 101949

2006: 69051; 69437; 101949

"Good standing " (3)

Set-up by Mossack Fonseca & Co.

(Was also previous agent for 'Steel Services', cited in the above 08.08.02 BVI reply) (5)

F.M.C. Ltd

Local co No. 4344

Not registered

"Good standing" (3)

None (The address is the same as that given for 'Steel Services' on the 26.02.02 court claim against the Elderly Resident).

(1)- See, above, for others

(2)- International Business Corporation number

(3)- SAME comments as per above

(4)- See below, Guardian articles on 'Offshore secrets', and "sham directors"

(5)- Mossack Fonseca: The Legal 500 firm (at 15 Apr 16), exposed in Apr 16, "as a result of an anonymous source leaking some 11million documents from its database to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung,...

it shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). In turn, the ICIJ shared them with a large network of international media partners, including, in the UK, the Guardian and he BBC." (As reported by The Guardian).

The Panama Papers

"What are the Panama Papers? A guide to history's biggest data leak", The Guardian, 5 Apr 16

"The Panama Papers: how the world's rich and famous hide their money offshore", The Guardian, 3 Apr 16

"Fund run by David Cameron's father avoiding paying tax in Britain", The Guardian, 4 Apr 16

"David Cameron left dangerously exposed by Panama Papers fallout", The Guardian, 5 Apr 16

For me the findings:

  • (1)- added flesh to the (relative) skeleton reported on by The Guardian 4 years earlier (# 2, below);
  • Now we know why!

Of course, he used the Panama Papers to add to the rhetoric:

Private Eye, # 1417, 29Apr-12May 16, pg 37 - "Tax Evasion - It's all fine by them..."

"David Cameron's immediate response to the Panama Papers was to announce that overseas territories like the British Virgin Islands would henceforth provide information on the beneficial ownership of companies incorporated there." [He had said the same thing...3 years ago: below, # 3]

"It will be down to the authorities in the tax havens...to obtain the information...At this point it becomes clear that the whole response to the tax haven scandal is a charade."

The Eye goes on to highlight the example of the BVI - that, "out of 150 people, the BVI regulator only has 10 people working in "compliance and enforcement", covering misconduct in banking, insurance and other financial services, as well as the shell company creation business."

"Since company incorporations average more 60,000 a year...to call the coverage patchy would be generous"

Under its Legal 500 entry, Mossack Fonseca states (at Apr 16):

That it is "the only law firm in Panama with ISO 9001:2008 certification.

The certification is granted by SGS Panama, an approved evaluator of quality management systems in legal services, under endorsement by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)

and the American National Accreditation Board (ANAB).

As part of the evaluation, SGS monitored and assessed all the processes involved in Mossack Fonseca & Co.’s quality management system, as well as carrying out regular internal audits"

As the Guardian reported that "Mossack Fonseca is the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm", I wondered who the bigger ones are - and did a quick search.

Under its entry, 'Offshore magic circle', (at 15 Apr 16) Wikipedia reported:

"Although there is some disagreement over exactly who should constitute the offshore magic circle, an article in 2008 in Legal Business suggested that an offshore magic circle might constitute the following firms:

 

# Lawyers (2016)

Home jurisdiction

Notes

(1) Appleby

210

Bermuda

 

(2) Bedell Cristin

67

Jersey

 

(3) Carey Olsen

188

Channel Islands

"Carey Olsen was formed by the merger of two roughly equivalent sized firms from Jersey and Guernsey"

(7) Mourant Ozannes

186

Channel Islands

"Formed by a merger of firms from Jersey, Guernsey and the Cayman Islands"

(8) Ogier

154

Jersey

 

Aside from the first one, I picked on those that are within a c. 200km radius from the Houses of Parliament.

It does not mention Mossack Fonseca.

What will be done by the British government after these latest revelations?

Under its cover name of 'neoliberalism' (*) policy - which, in reality, amounts to unlimited assistance to a certain type of crooks: nothing...as usual.

(*) Article by George Monbiot, The Guardian, 15 Apr 16.

Back to sections

 

(2)- The benefits of offshore registration

 

Pages downloaded from the British Virgin Islands Financial Services website, on 6 Feb and 24 Oct 02, highlighted numerous advantages from registering a company in the BVI. These include, among others:

•  Formation of a company within 24 hours "with a minimum of formality", at a cost of US$300

•  "No accounting requirements"

•  Guarantee of "maximum confidentiality and anonymity"

•  "Protection of assets from expropriation or confiscation orders from foreign governments"  

•  Post-incorporation services which include the provision of "Certificates of good standing"

Etc.

In a series of articles, run on 25 and 26 Nov 12, the Guardian newspaper reported the findings of an investigation of offshore jurisdictions, it conducted jointly with BBC's Panorama and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).

The articles - under the umbrella header of 'Offshore secrets' are:

(See also above, # 1, Comment # 5, the April 2016 revelations from 'The Panama Papers' - Mossack Fonseca; other section in The Guardian, on Tax havens)

EXTRACTS FROM THE 2012 ARTICLES

Jurisdictions

While the investigation revealed the use of “Jersey, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, St Vincent, Nevis, Belize, Cook Islands, and Liberia(1), a high proportion of the transactions involved the BVI.

"In 2011 alone, more than £7bn of offshore money flooded into potentially tax-exempt purchases of UK houses, flats and office blocks."

"The majority of the offshore transactions used entities registered in the BVI, which accounted for £3.8bn of the total: a continuing steep rise from £2.7bn in 2010 and £1.5bn in 2009, according to Land Registry data."

"The British Virgin Islands are a particularly successful hideaway, thanks to the exceptional secrecy on offer." (2)

"This Caribbean territory, which is ultimately controlled by the UK," (3) "has sold more than a million anonymously-owned offshore entities since launching itself in 1984 as a tax haven."

"Reckless bank loans to offshore entities have fuelled much of the historic property boom, handed over by lenders who subsequently had to be bailed out. British banks had £14.1bn outstanding in loans to BVI and associated offshore entities at the end of 2009, according to UK Treasury figures.(3)

 

Benefits of offshore jurisdictions

The key benefits are "tax loopholes" (4) (detailed in the article), and "secrecy" (2)

"The UK government allows property buyers to hide their identities on the official Land Registry, which is becoming meaningless as a result." (5)

 

How the offshore paper companies are set-up

"Existence of an extraordinary global network of sham company directors, most of them British"

"The nominees play a key role in keeping secret hundreds of thousands of commercial transactions.

They do so by selling their names for use on official company documents" (6) "...not illegal under UK law...But our evidence suggests this particular group of directors only pretend to control the companies they put their names to."

"More than a score of UK agencies sell offshore companies, several of which also help supply sham directors." (6)

"In 1999, the government claimed Britain's sham director industry has been "effectively outlawed"...But our findings show this has failed to be policed"

(1) - Jurisdictions - To these can be added domicile in similar types of jurisdiction e.g. Panama, 'apparently' the domicile for 'Rootstock Overseas Corp' (Headlessors # 3 and # 5) ;

Gibraltar, 'apparently' domicile for Basil Street Properties (Owners identity # 4);

and 'perhaps' Bahamas (or it might just be the location where Andrew David Ladsky is enjoying the fruit of his criminal activities?)

 

(2) - "Secrecy"

(I draw your attention to the (above) 23.04.04 reply I received from the BVI, that stated:

"Under the International Business Companies Act, Cap. 291 companies are not required to file information on Directors, Shareholders or Owner(s) of a company")

In the case of the residential leasehold sector, it allows the many crooks to hide their identity (see above) - opting instead to be fronted in the UK by so-called 'professionals' (*), who know that they have carte blanche to do exactly as they please, e.g. the Andrew David Ladsky gang of racketeers...

- in the totally unregulated environment - knowing that ANY complaint of misconduct, breach of legislation, etc., will be treated with a standard ' Get lost!'.

(*) Who, 'for convenience', can also be domiciled in the BVI e.g. Ladsky's 'advisors' (see above)

Examples of other freeholders reported to also be using the BVI:

CROWN ESTATES - Channel 4 Dispatches, 23 Feb 09 - "The problem princes"

Revealed some BVI ownership

 

CROWN ESTATES - Evening Standard, 7 Jul 11 - "West End boom bags the Queen £230m surplus"

It discussed the Queen's "£7bn portfolio"

 

DUKE OF WESTMINSTER - BVI ownership of property reported in the media in e.g. the context of one of his central London properties being occupied by squatters (in 2008), as well as other examples subsequently.

Evening Standard, 28 Apr 12 - "Wealthiest share £414bn fortune", reported "his central London property empire worth an estimated £7.35bn"

Estimated value of portfolio at his death, in 2016: "New Duke of Westminster inherits £9bn fortune aged 25", The Guardian, 10 Aug 16.

Oh! and "Inheritance tax: why the new Duke of Westminster will not pay billions", The Guardian, 11 Aug 16.

 

Private Eye, # 1388 – 20 Mar–2 Apr 15, pg 31 - "A report from campaign group Transparency International this month finds more than 40,000 London properties are owned by foreign companies, 36,000 of them in “secrecy jurisdictions i.e. tax havens.

Many are purchased in order to wash vast sums of dirty money, turning the upper end of the capital’s property market into a laundrette.

The most popular haven is the UK’s overseas territory of the British Virgin Islands, home to around 13,5000 companies."

Private Eye, # 1394– 12-25 Jun 15, pg 39 - "Offshore ownership – Estate planning

"…the Eye has established that since 1999 titles to 97,500 properties covering 490,000 acres have been acquired by companies in tax havens from the Caribbean to the Channel Islands.

With much land also acquired by offshore companies before then, the total area could well be twice that."

[Examples] "Saudi arms deal fixer Prince Bandar (instrumental in BAE’s notorious Al Yamamah deal) owns the 2,000-acre Glympton Park through a Jersey company."

"His next-door neighbour is arms dealer and Tory supporter Wafic Said, whose Tusmore Park is owned by a Panamanian company, as is the company that farms it and in the process had received Euros 2.6m in EU subsidies."

"But it’s far from just foreign arrivistes buying up tracts of England through tax haven companies.

Some of the country’s most historic families use the trick too." [Examples cited]: "Gascoyne-Cecils (use Jersey)"; "Lord Bathurst (uses Bermuda)"; "Lord Rotherwick (uses Jersey)".

 

(3) "Controlled by the UK"; "British banks had £14.1bn outstanding in loans to BVI and associated offshore entities" ; "UK agencies sell offshore companies"

In fact, the UK is at the centre of a web of offshore jurisdictions: Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, BVI, Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Anguilla, etc.

Often, the main British banks have a subsidiary in these locations - which provide a gigantic amount of funds to, and associated work for the City of London:

"George Osborne vows to stamp out corporate tax avoidance", Guardian, 16 Feb 13:

"Using IMF data, the OECD report states: "In 2010 Barbados, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands combined received more foreign direct investment than Germany or Japan."

"The British Virgin Islands was the second largest investor into China, behind Hong Kong and before the United States. For the same year Bermuda seems to be the third largest investor in Chile."

(NB: Of course, the claim of "vowing to stamp out corporate tax avoidance" has turned out to be a sham (see # 4, below)

 

Private Eye, issue 1370 – 11-24 July 14, pg 41 - "In the City - Virgin berth":

"The latest annual report on global investment by the UN Conference on Trade & Development (Unictad) demonstrates the unique role of the British Virgin Islands as a recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI)"

"A staggering $92.3bn flowed into (and then out of) the tiny tax haven in 2013, up from the previous record of $72.3bn in 2012…Back in 2006, the FDI total was a mere $7.5bn.

In comparison, the FDI figure for the UK in 2013 was down from $45.8bn to $37.1bn!"

 

"Britain rules the world of tax havens, Queen is warned", The Guardian, 7 Nov 13:

"Tax Justice Network says 2 billion Commonwealth citizens are among victims of 'web of secrecy jurisdictions'" [above]

"The monarch, who acts as head of state for UK-linked jurisdictions as far away as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Jersey and the Isle of Man, will receive a copy of the Tax Justice Network's (TJN) two-yearly index of financial secrecy, which paints an unflattering picture of Britain and its close ties to many leading tax havens."

"Other studies have estimated that up to $32tr has gravitated in secrecy into offshore jurisdictions, much of it linked to tax evasion and avoidance activities."

"In a letter to the Queen John Christensen, director of TJN, calls on her to "exert all possible influence" to tackle "harmful faultlines in the global economy" created by UK-linked tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions."

"None of the overseas territories or crown dependencies operate a properly transparent public register of offshore companies, trusts and foundations," writes Christensen"

"Moreover, over $330bn in deposits is held by UK banks via extensive branch networks in the crown dependencies, making these deposits a vital contributor to the capital strength of Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, HSBC and other large financial firms in the City of London."

"...TJN insisted that the UK "supports and partly controls" a web of secrecy jurisdictions, marking it out as a leading offender. They say: "The UK is the most important player in the financial secrecy world."

 

Her Majesty The Queen is not going to do anything about it... - because she benefits from her tax havens e.g.

Private Eye, issue 1384– 23 Jan-5 Feb 15, pg 37 - "Offshore ownership - Palace coo!":

Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the richest...English roads in the world, owned by Her Majesty the Queen...

But through a series of leases it has gradually been sold offshore - often to companies in her own tax havens.

The lease for number 16 was, three years ago, sold for an unknown price to one of Roman Abramovich' Cyprus companies, Acmonius Ltd. Land Registry details show the purchase was funded with a loan from a British Virgin Islands company called Lindeza Worldwide Ltd in what could have been a move allowing Abramovich, almost certainly a non-dom, to get some offshore money into the UK tax-free.

Fellow oligarch, Leonard Blavatnik, almost certainly a "non-dom" for tax purposes, has been reported to have paid £200m for the lease of palatial number 15, through KPG LLC in the United States' own secretive tax haven of Delaware.

Data obtained by the Eye for properties registered since 2005 show that nine other Kensington Palace Gardens houses have been acquired by tax havens companies, six in the British Virgin Islands, two in St Vincent and the Grenadines and one in the Bahamas.

All are held under leases with Her Maj and the Crown Estate Commissioners"

Private Eye, issue 1390– 17-30 Apr 15, pg 31 - "Offshore property - Crown Jewels":

"...the Crown Estate, the Queen's property company is now worth £10bn and owns vast tracks of "super prime" London..."

"Private Eye has identified 120 former Crown Estate Properties that, via sale of leaseholds, have ended up in 14 tax havens - most in the British Virgin Islands but also in Panama, Liechtenstein, Seychelles and other funny-money centres.

Although Crown Estates can't control what happens to a property once it is sold, it does sell a high value of properties directly to offshore companies itself...

It points out that its governing statute requires it to get the “best consideration which…can reasonably be obtained”: any question over where buyers have got their money from is for buyers’ solicitors and estate agents to worry about."

Her Majesty says: "Up to solicitors and estate agents to worry about the provenance of the money" = no worries because I know that (like everything else) they are unregulated: e.g.

Private Eye, issue 1394– 12-25 Jun 15, pg 8:

"Since 2012 the Queen has received a grant equal to 15 percent of the “operating profit” of the Crown Estate, the property company she legally owns that itself owns vast amounts of prime London property."

"Since this arrangement came in her income has risen by nearly 30 percent to £40m."

"One of the reasons for the boom is the flood of foreign money coming into London, much of which enters via tax haven companies."

"As Eye 1390 revealed [previous article] , in just two years up to 2014 the Crown Estates sold £135m-worth of London property to offshore companies fronting the global super-rich."

"It also sold some of England’s most picturesque countryside offshore."(see above)

The British state evidently "does not care from where [the above] comes from" (see also, below, a comment from the Chief minister of Anguilla) - as "Trade Minister, Lord Jones, formerly Sir Digby Jones" once said - reported in:

"I’m half bulimic ... I eat a lot but don’t throw up, Minister tells his baffled guests", Mail on Sunday, 23 Mar 08:

"We don't care what colour you are;

we don't care if we can't pronounce your names,

and we don't care where your money comes from.

We just want you to invest in our country."

...facts confirmed in e.g. 2014

Private Eye, # 1361 – 7-20 Mar 14, pg 29:

"As if the government weren’t tarting out Britannia enough by offering accelerated settlement to wealthy foreigners who bring more than £5m of whatever provenance into the country...,

...the migration advisory panel has now recommended auctions to allow them to settle in the UK on even cushier terms.

The idea is that a certain number of such fast-track visas would be granted to the highest bidder, with a “reserve price” of £2.5m..."

As reported in the above articles, a significant proportion of the funds ends up in the British property market - greatly inflating prices - to the benefit of the landowners, including HM The Queen.

Hence, part of the reasons for the retention of these jurisdictions (see also # 3, below) - in their current state - in spite of the dangers that they represent (added to the total disregard of the impact on 'the little people' - next Comment).

In addition to the lack of control of the financial sector (e.g. the 2011-12(?) rigging of LIBOR, by a dozen London banks), the exposure of some of these jurisdictions is massive.

e.g. (from the French magazine, Marianne, 5 Apr 13 - "Ces autres Chypre qui menacent l'Europe"): "Guernsey's bank deposits amount to 40 times its GDP"; "Jersey" is close behind, with "37 times".

Who will pick up the tab if there is a problem? Same question about "the £14bn of outstanding loans to BVI and associated offshore entities". (The articles report some significant defaults).

The same magazine had an article ("Banques: ne laissez pas les lobbies faire la loi!"), by Pierre Larrouturou, economist, "one of the founding members of Roosevelt 2012".

Emphasising the need for 'real', rather 'cosmetic' reforms of the European financial sector, he stated that "the debt of the UK financial sector amounts to 600% of GDP".

(If this is correct, the consequences of major defaults would surely be catastrophic?...as per usual, on 'the little people' - who will end-up covering the debts of individuals and companies spread across the world.

Can't pay? No problem! The British Mugs are there to pick-up the tab! We'll squeeze their income, benefits, cut down facilities, etc., even more) e.g.

Private Eye, # 1362 - 21 Mar-3 Apr 14, pg 31 - "Disability Living Fund - A wigging for Penning

...disability minister Mike Penning has quietly announced that...they are shutting the fund, even though most of the 18,000 severely disabled people will face substantial cut in benefit."

"Penning dropped his bombshell just a month after a new report…showed how “austerity” measures were falling disproportionately on the 4.5m people who suffer significant disability.

Disable people living in poverty bear four times the average burden of the government cuts - £4,660 compared to the average £1,126."

 

(4) - "Tax loopholes" - See # 4, below

 

(5) "The UK government allows property buyers to hide their identities on the official Land Registry, which is becoming meaningless as a result"

In the case of the residential leasehold sector, it makes a - deliberate - and complete mockery of Landlord-Tenant legislation, that 'gives' leaseholders 'the statutory right' to be provided with "the name of directors and secretaries" who own the building in which they have their leasehold property.

'DELIBERATE': Note e.g. under header 7, the standard text on the British Land Registry's 'Transfer of whole of registered title(s)' form - re. the 'Steel Services-Rootstock' (Headlessor # 3), and 'Airspace' (Headlessor # 5) transactions:

"Transferee's intended address(es) for service (including postcode) for entry on the registry.

You may give up to three addresses for service one of which must be a postal address but does not have to be within the UK.

The other addresses can be any combination of a postal address, a box number at a UK document exchange or an electronic address"...

 

..and, add to that, "the sham directors".

The mockery of this so-called 'statutory right' is demonstrated by my experience in 2001-02, which, 10 months later, left me in the same position of not knowing who controls my home (Owners identity # 1 , # 2). (Of course, in 2013, this is still the case: Freehold)..

= Another so-called 'right' that is very clearly "NOT a freestanding right".

As I wrote, for header 5 of my 03.06.08 Witness Statement (Overview # 11):

"Ownership of Jefferson House by ‘paper’, offshore companies that are traded in monopoly board game style mean that, in breach of my statutory rights, at any one point in time, I do not know who controls my home".

And, under para.57:

"What the events also demonstrate is that the offshore domiciles of the paper companies allow the owners to hide behind them – making a mockery of Landlord & Tenant legislation, by placing me in the situation of not knowing who controls my home.

(This is to be added to not knowing whether the individuals who control my home – including service charge monies - have a criminal record / major incapacity, as there is no vetting system on the suitability of an individual to be a landlord).

"Under the L&T 1985 Act I have the right to know who controls my home. It is clear that, with no mechanism in place to control the residential leasehold sector, no matter how hard I try to get an answer to my question - at any one point in time - I will never know"

This situation is very clearly intentional - and the driver is GREED - by the powerful landowners (see # 3, above). And, as I conclude under # 2, above, the secrecy protects the many crooks who operate in the residential leasehold sector.

 

(6) "Sham directors" - see # 1, above, in the case of the Ladsky's paper companies

Back to sections

 

(3)- Of course, David Cameron's promise of "an end to the area of "secretive companies in secretive locations" - excludes residential leasehold sector landlords, and...(# 4, below)

 

"Tax secrecy to be swept away, says David Cameron", Guardian, 15 Jun 13; "Link to video: Cameron: tax and transparency vital to make poverty history"

"Cameron said he wanted to set an example to fellow G8 leaders by cracking down on British accountants, lawyers and business figures who use shell companies – often located in offshore tax havens – to hide the identity of ultimate beneficiaries" (1)

"We need to know more about who owns which company – beneficial ownership – because that is how a lot of people and a lot of companies avoid tax, using secretive companies in secretive locations."

"The way to sweep away the secrecy and get to the bottom of tax avoidance and tax evasion and cracking down on corruption is to have a register of beneficial ownerships so the tax authorities can see who owns beneficially every company" (2)

"Under the changes, companies registered in Britain [3] would come under a legal obligation to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on the ultimate owner who benefits from the company – and be required to place the information on a central register that would be maintained by Companies House"

(1)- Like, e.g. CKFT and Eversheds (above)?

(2)- Too good to be true for leaseholders? YES! as,

(3)- Landlords who are fronted by "sham directors", in offshore, off-the-shelf, companies (e.g. Ladsky's) - are not required to be registered in the UK:

Section 47 of the Landlord & Tenant Act 1987, states:

(1) "Where any written demand is given to a tenant of premises to which this Part applies, the demand must contain the following information, namely

(a) the name and address of the landlord, and

(b) if that address is not in England and Wales, an address in England and Wales at which notices (including notices in proceedings) may be served on the landlord by the tenant."

(See also, above, my comments under # 4)

ALSO: David Cameron decided to exclude trusts, "because they are private arrangements"...

and, 3 years later, we discovered the reason: # 1, above, Comment # 5.

So: business as usual boys and girls!...

...e.g. the Tchenguiz Brothers and their Tchenguiz Family Trust described by a tribunal as "quasi-biblical."

Predictably, in the light of the above, (and which David Cameron obviously knew about at the time of making his claims), there has been some strong opposition to 'the plan'.

In the same 15 Jun 13 Guardian article, Hubert Hughes, Chief minister of Anguilla was reported as saying that:

"he resented being lectured by Britain on tax transparency in light of the City of London's role".

"The City of London is one of the biggest tax havens in the world – it is the biggest money laundering centre in the world."

2 years later:

"Let’s not fool ourselves. We may not bribe [*], but corruption is rife in Britain", George Monbiot, The Guardian, 18 Mar 15 (in the context of the launch of a book: 'How corrupt is Britain?')

(see also Media page - Corrupt British institutions)

"Would there still be a commercial banking sector in this country if it weren’t for corruption?"

"The City of London, operating with the help of British overseas territories and crown dependencies, is the world’s leading tax haven, controlling 24% of all offshore financial services.

It offers global capital an elaborate secrecy regime, assisting not just tax evaders but also smugglers, sanctions- busters and money-launderers."

(*) Actually, YES: add bribes as well e.g. Private Eye, # 1377 – 17-30 Oct 14, pg 30:

"GPT cover-up – State secrets Burying state-endorsed corruption on multi-billion pound contracts signed in the UK taxpayer’s name is a price that must be paid to keep Saudi Arabia happy, the Information Commissioner has concluded.

Last month Eye 1375’s special report on kickbacks on a £2bn contract between the British and Saudi governments [the Saudi Arabian National Guard, the private army of the Royal family] for military communications equipment, Shady Arabia and the Desert Fix, presented prima facie evidence that the UK government itself approved the bribes through a dedicated Ministry of Defence team in Riyadh."

"Ian Foxley...was the whistleblower who exposed dubious payments"

From other Private Eye's issues (1386, 1387 and 1398):

The contract referred to above is the "SANGCOM military communications deal that entailed payments representing 15 percent of legitimate costs for no discernible services, made by the British contractor performing the work, GPT Special Project Management Ltd (part of EADS, now renamed Airbus)." (1)

"The payments were funnelled to high ranking Saudi officials through HSBC in London and New York, to companies registered in the Cayman Islands – all ring mastered by a British fixer."

"The leaked data of Swiss HSBC accounts... revealed some names connected with the deal."

The Eye also reports that "tens of millions of dollars were held by prominent figures associated with the Al-Yamamah scandal [2], and that, "as the funds were flowing through HSBC, “just as with tax evasion, few if any eyebrows were raised by the bank or the regulators.

Undeterred by the decision of Deputy Information Commissioner Graham Smith, the Eye pursued the matter with the information tribunal – with the same outcome:

"The MoD argued that, even though the request merely concerned its actions (as opposed to those of its Saudi partners), any disclosure would so damage UK-Saudi relations, and thus intelligence cooperation, that the public interest in exposing the mechanics was trumped by that in not upsetting the Saudi sheikhs."

"The tribunal, chaired by judge Christopher Hughes, took the government’s side, accepting that the Saudis would view any disclosure as a “serious breach of trust” by the British government."

The Eye’s conclusion: "Information tribunals in which one side gets to present evidence behind closed doors and beyond challenge clearly aren’t up to the job either."

(1)- Malcolm Rifkind was Defence Secretary at the time (Private Eye 1419)

(2) Private Eye, 1379- 14-27 Nov 14, pg 10 - "Number crunching":

  • 43 Billion-pound value of Al-Yamamah contract with Saudi Arabia into which PM Tony Blair ditched Serious Office investigation in 2006, despite evidence of corrupt commissions.
  • 41 Thousand-pound monthly value of secret deal ex-PM Tony Blair signed with Saudi Arabia in 2010, plus 2% commission on any deals he brokered

Des Browne was Defence Secretary at the time of the Al-Yamamah contract (Eye 1419)

(NB: The Guardian, 14 July 06, reported: "100m fund to combat corruption among developing world leaders". "Britain will create a pounds 100m fund to fight corruption and improve political accountability in the developing world, Hilary Benn announced yesterday.")

As the state feels free to bribe, so do companies - with its active support = taxpayer money e.g.

Private Eye, 1431, 11-24 Nov 16:

"UK Export Finance (formerly the Export Credit Guarantees Department), the arm of government that guarantees and funds overseas trade, is almost certainly allowing UK taxpayers’ money to be used to bankroll bribery and corruption, Private Eye has discovered."

"In eight years from 2007, a total of 260 of the 1,272 companies applying to the organisation disclosed that they had paid commissions to agents on the contracts they wanted funded or guaranteed."

"Such commissions are often cover for bribes to win business – as a long line of cases including Rolls-Royce and Airbus has shown…"

"UK Export Finance should therefore refer suspicious-looking arrangements to law enforcers from the Serious Fraud Office or National Crime Agency."

"However, records since 2007 show it did not do that in any of the 260 cases."

Private Eye, 1432, 25Nov- 8Dec 16 - reports that

"Lawrence Weiss has been appointed by Liam Fox as director of UK Finance..."

"For six years until 2014 he was chief executive of the Israeli Bank Leumi’s UK operations and chairman of its Jersey-based Leumi Trust Overseas Corporation."

"...the Eye has established that this operation is behind hundreds of offshore companies."

"Most of them revealed in the Panama Papers...are registered in the British Virgin Islands and were set up via...Mossack Fonseca. [above]

Among the clients are Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi [see Leasehold]..."

Bank Leumi itself, of which Weiss was not a director, was fined $400m in the US last year after admitting helping 1,500 Americans evade tax."

 

BUT, bribing must not, 'of course', be talked about e.g.

Private Eye, # 1394– 12-25 Jun 15, pg 7 - "Burying mud"

(In the context of Fifa's alleged briberies) "Promising to tackle a worldwide “cancer of corruption”, DAVID CAMERON last week lamented “something of an international taboo over pointing the finger and stirring up concern…we just don’t talk enough about corruption”. (1)

"How odd, then, that his Ministry of Defence [2] should refuse to talk about its complicity in a corrupt defence telecommunications deal with Saudi Arabia.

For over a year now, the MoD has argued that details of how it approved multi-million-pound bribes on the contract as recently as late 2010 should not be disclosed under freedom of information laws for fear of damaging relations with the sheiks." [See above]

"And it was no great surprise that the US justice department’s indictment of senior Fifa officials should feature (just as in the Saudi bribery case) British overseas territories as home to shell companies handling alleged bribes."

(1)- Also reported by e.g. The Guardian, 6 June 15: "Cameron puts corruption on G7 agenda after Fifa bribery scandal".

One year later, David Cameron repeated this - and more, in effect, appointing Britain as the lead-cruzader.

(2)- Figure of speech, as these are Crown-controlled.

Then, in addition, there is also e.g.

  • (1)- some of the Lords accepting bribes for changing legislation (Ref # 1 ; Ref # 2);
  • (4)- silencing whistleblowers through bribes and gagging orders e.g. in the NHS;

In 2006, when I was developing my website, the press was also reporting on numerous cases of corruption in the British state.

My response to David Cameron's "we just don’t talk enough about corruption":

because it is part of the British Establishment's "values" - and it will persecute ruthlessly anybody who 'dares' to stand-up to it, as well as expose it: my case (Case summary) ; other examples.

Back to sections

 

(4) ...surprise, surprise: the claim (above) of wanting "to crack down on British accountants, lawyers and business figures who use shell companies - often located in offshore tax havens - to avoid paying tax" - has proved to be, yet, another sham.

The tax havens are here to stay - because:

(1)- The property-and-land- owning Establishment benefits from them - starting with Her Majesty The Queen (who controls government);

(2)- Her Majesty Revenue & Customs, supports "The great British money laundrette" through e.g. multi-million £s "sweetheart" tax deals with big corporations and wealthy individuals, in relation to which, it will use anti-terrorism legislation to hunt down individuals who 'dare' expose them;

(3)- What the secrecy company directors are entitled to under UK law is "making this country an attractive destination for organised crime".

 

(1 of 3 ) - The property-and-land- owning 'Establishment' benefits from it - starting with Her Majesty The Queen (who controls government)

See above, # 2: (1)- Comments # 2, 'Secrecy'; Comments # 3, 'Controlled by the UK...'

 

(2 of 3 ) - Her Majesty Revenue & Custom's "laundry facility" and "sweetheart" tax deals

 

Private Eye, # 1339 – 3-16 May 13, pg 29 – "Money laundering – Amnesty amnesia"

"Under several so-called “disclosure facilities”, individuals could come forward [to HMRC] with their hidden stashes, pay a bit of tax plus a mere 10 percent penalty and walk away without a stain on their character."

"...evidence suggests that the necessary checks on the origin of the offshore money simply don’t happen in the UK."

"HMRC doesn’t even monitor the use of tax amnesties for laundering dirty money, never mind stop it."

"Now it seems the price for even a limited haul has been to turn the tax authority into another machine in the British money laundry."

 

Private Eye, # 1349, 20 Sep-3 Oct 13 (from pg 19) – “Tax, Lies and videotape – Britain’s shadow tax system revealed” – Special report by Richard Brooks ("former tax inspector, who posed as an independent tax consultant”)

An undercover investigation by Private Eye and the BBC’s Panorama reveals that the coalition’s frequent claim to be clamping down on corporate tax avoidance is a sham.”

The Treasury, HM Revenue & Customs and Britain’s biggest accountancy firms all connive to allow the biggest companies and richest individuals to deny UK exchequer billions, while undermining the global fight against tax dodging too.”

Our investigation reveals that Britain operates a shadow tax system thanks to a clique of ministers, officials, select multinationals and accountancy firms - the largest of whom, PwC, appeared to misrepresent its own activities to parliament. Only two groups are not supposed to know about this – the public and their MPs. But now they can…”

The coalition government has in fact created the opportunity for the biggest companies to slash billions of pounds from their UK tax bills. It knew it was doing so…”

"If tax avoidance is defined as scheming to defeat the intention of the law, the biggest companies rarely need to indulge in it now because their fixers in Britain’s main accountancy firms can shape the law to suit their tax reduction demands." (1)

"Income from taxpayers via UK government contracts – 2012/13 - PwC: £162m ; KPMG: £95m."

"The shadow tax system makes a mockery of government claims to be tackling tax avoidance(2)

“…as the Eye’s investigation has proved, George Osborne’s new offshore corporate laws deliberately enable multinational companies to “shift their profits away from where the profit is made” to avoid tax.”

Even the crooked wealthy get a far better tax deal than do the little people – Despite a mountain of evidence of tax evasion using the offshore accounts favoured by the richest tax evaders and well known to HMRC (especially since it acquired details of 6,000 Swiss HSBC accounts in 2007 from a whistleblower), only one offshore dodger has been prosecuted.

By contrast, more than 600 less wealthy tax evaders, including builders, plumbers and doctors, were nailed last year for cooking their books.” (3)

(1) - Greatly aided also by the revolving door system e.g.

Private Eye, # 1373, 22 Aug-4 Sep 14 (pg 7) - Revolving flaws

"The revolving door between tax authorities and big accountancy firms took another controversial turn recently when the man in charge of HM Revenue & Customs’ drive against tax avoidance [Chris Davidson] left to join…tax avoidance advisers KPMG."

"PS: The movement isn’t all one way, of course. The Chairman of HMRC’s board is Ian Barlow, who ran KPMG’s tax avoidance work when it was at its most rampant in the early 2000s."

And from concurrently finding accommodating MPs and Lords?

(2) YEP! Such as the above claim by George Osborne, reported in The Guardian of 16 Feb 13, that "[he] vow[ed] to stamp out corporate tax avoidance".

As reported by Private Eye, # 1363, 4-17 Apr 14, pg 8:

"George Osborne...took credit for having “driven the international efforts to develop tough rules that stop…companies shifting their profits offshore”

even though he has in fact done the precise opposite through UK laws reducing tax on profits diverted into tax havens to “a net sort of minus 15 percent” as a KPMG tax adviser put it bizarrely to an undercover Eye hack last year." (above report).

 

In its previous edition, # 1362, 21 Mar-3 Apr 14, pg 31 - Private Eye reported on the example of Alder Hey PFI - "Government wealth cheque".

" Despite George Osborne's platitudes to last month’s G20 meeting in Australia- “it is not fair if big companies avoid their taxes by shifting their profits around artificially”...

...– the Eye has discovered that the government has signed its most significant PFI deal to date (a new £190m children’s hospital at Alder Hey in Liverpool) with tax haven-based companies, thus conniving in precisely the sort of tax avoidance the chancellor was talking about".

Like Hubert Hughes, Chief minister of Anguilla, said (# 3, above): "The City of London is one of the biggest tax havens in the world".

(3) In all likelihood, they will not have been extended the same facility as that given to e.g. Vodafone by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC):

Private Eye, # 1359, 7-20 Feb 14, pg 5 - reporting that while Vodafone (the one I concluded hacked into my computer) prepares to pay £22bn in dividends to shareholders,

"British taxpayers are still waiting to be paid a heavily discounted tax bill on a tax avoidance scheme going back 13 years."

"Under an interest-free time-to-pay deal (supposedly reserved for taxpayers in hardship) agreed in 2010 by former HM Revenue & Customs boss Dave Harnett, the paltry £1.2bn back tax bill won’t be paid off until later this year."

In its # 1362 edition of 21 Mar-3 Apr 14, pg 31, Private Eye reported: "Number crunching":

"£6bn – Amount Vodafone plans to pay for Spanish company Ono to expand its interests in Europe."

"£6bn Amount of tax Vodafone planned to not pay British taxman following takeover of Germany company Mannesmann 14 years ago."

= "Sweetheart " tax deals - an HMRC's speciality for 'the big boys' e.g.

(1)- Goldman Sachs - in relation to which HMRC used anti-terrorism legislation to hunt down the individual, Mr Osita Mba, who 'dared' to expose the secret deal:

"HMRC criticised for using terror laws against tax whistleblower", The Guardian, 24 Mar 14

(2)- Bernie Ecclestone

"Bernie Ecclestone: Lies, Bribes and Formula One", BBC Panorama report - on 28 Apr 14

"Bernie Ecclestone accused of biggest ever personal tax dodge", Telegraph, 28 Apr 14

"The Inland Revenue made a secret deal with Bernie Ecclestone allowing him to settle a £2 billion tax bill for just £10 million, it has been alleged."

"The 83-year-old is currently on trial in Munich, accused of paying a £26 million bribe to a German banker to help safeguard his supremacy in F1 when the sport was sold in 2006." [Outcome?]

 

BY CONTRAST:

"Concern at plan to let HMRC recover unpaid tax directly from bank accounts", The Guardian, 9 May 14 ;

"Taxman has power to raid your bank accounts", Telegraph, 9 May 14

"Around 17,000 people a year could be affected by the new tax collection powers, which are expected to raise around £100m a year"

"Pursuit of tax credit overpayments turns nasty as debt collectors hound the poorest", Independent, 29 May 14

"Hundreds of thousands of Britain’s poorest people are being targeted by private debt collectors hired by [HMRC] after their tax credits were overpaid because of errors made by HMRC.... In at least 80 tax credit cases, assets have been seized directly."

Private Eye, # 1386, 20 Feb-6 Mar 15, pg 8:

"Plumb tidings – Plumbers who failed to come forward [within the amnesty period] were duly nailed, with five dawn raids as soon as the amnesty expired and many prosecutions.

Imprisonment followed for dodgers of around £50,000. Offshore evaders on a far larger scale, by contrast, have been left peacefully in their beds and offered further amnesties.

Under the current and previous governments, those at the bottom of the pyramid of tax crime face the toughest punishment."

= Target 'the little people' for £100m - and let the big boys get away with billions of £s - including through stashing away trillions of £s offshore! No worries for them of having their "assets seized directly".

 

One month after HM The Queen was "warned" by the Tax Justice Network about "Britain's close ties to many leading tax havens" (Com # 2(3), above),...

... Private Eye, # 1355, 13-20Dec 13, pg 29 - reported: "Laundry bill - The inter-governmental “summit” with Britain’s overseas territories at Church House in Westminster two weeks ago raised hot air emissions to dangerously high levels."

"Foreign Office minister Mark Simmonds agreed that the tax havens, including the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands “include some of the world’s leading financial centres and play a significant role in the global economy and driving global economic growth.”

"This merely proved that, whatever the government rhetoric, financial services that, in fact, undermine the world economy by enabling tax dodging, money laundering and toxic financial products are to remain the future for Britain’s offshore centres."

"Since permitting Britain’s tax heavens to allow secret offshore company ownership undermines the purpose of transparency for onshore company ownership that David Cameron recently announced, this amounts to a green light for facilitating economic crime for years to come."

 

(3 of 3 ) - The secrecy company directors are entitled to under UK law is "making this country an attractive destination for organised crime"

 

"The great British money launderette: At least 19 UK firms under investigation for an alleged conspiracy to make $20bn of dirty money seem legitimate", Independent, 15 Oct 14

"Front companies in the UK are at the heart of an investigation into one of Europe’s biggest money-laundering operations, allegedly forming part of a conspiracy to make $20bn (£12.5bn) of dirty money look legitimate."

"The scandal highlights how lax corporate rules have made this country an attractive destination for global organised crime."

"Under UK laws, companies can obscure the identity of their owners by using “nominee” directors – people who lend their names to a company without actually having anything to do with them. They can also lend their names to shareholdings in companies to mask who owns them." (1)

"An industry of company formation agents and their accompanying solicitors and accountants exist to create companies for all-comers, with few questions asked." (2)

"An investigation by The Independent and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, an NGO, has identified dozens of firms in a global web spreading from Birmingham to Belize."

"...an investigating officer in Moldova, told The Independent: “This money was routed from Russia, but the companies incorporated in Britain were instrumental to transit the funds..."

"...the launderers created front companies in the UK which carried out massive phoney business deals between themselves. These front companies then sued each other in courts in Moldova, demanding the repayment of hundreds of millions of pounds of loans.”

"Although the British companies were registered at ordinary-looking office buildings in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Glasgow and Birmingham, their real ownership is hidden by a web of brass-plate entities and nominee directors in secretive havens like the Seychelles, the Bahamas and the Marshall Islands...

..one of the companies based in Edinburgh lists its shareholders as two untraceable companies in Panama and Belize." (3)

"The investigator said the suspect companies had made payments to legitimate British firms from accounts at the Moldovan bank used in the laundry process.

The UK bank accounts involved include ones at UBS in London, HSBC, RBS, NatWest and Citibank." (4)

(1) - "obscure the identity of their owners by using “nominee” directors" - Same set-up as for the offshore companies (above: Comment (2), re. # 2 , 'Benefits of offshore jurisdictions').

Note that, in relation to property, "the UK government also allows the buyers to hide their identities on the official Land Registry" (above: Comment (5), re # 2, 'Benefits of offshore jurisdictions')

NB: Note also that, in this island-kingdom, demanding monies, threatening forfeiture (copy of definition) and prosecution - on behalf of a company that does not exist - is not perceived as 'material' by the authorities e.g. my experience with the Andrew David Ladsky gang of racketeers that claimed to be doing this "on behalf of Steel Services" - which, in fact, had been "struck-off the BVI register" (# 1, above).

This was ignored by, among (many) others:

  • (2)- several courts when I captured it in numerous documents to the courts e.g.
  • (3)- the so-called 'regulators' e.g. the Law Society re. my 20.12.04 complaint against CKFT (paras 8 and 45), that had been threatening me with "forfeiture" (CKFT # 1)...

(2) - "An industry of company formation agents... , with few questions asked " - Ditto - Same set-up for offshore companies (above: Comment (6), re # 2, 'How the offshore paper companies are set-up')

(3) - 'The benefits of offshore jurisdictions' - # 2, above - and how e.g. Andrew David Ladsky is making extensive use of these jurisdictions: # 1, above.

(4) - = MORE MONEY coming in! (above: Comment (3), re # 2, 'Jurisdictions')

 

  C O M M E N T S

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