Saturday, March 19, 2016

New Zealand Foreign Trusts: Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Back in 2012, Antipodean Fairfax journalist Tim Hunter (“Chalkie”) caught a whiff of something unsavoury about New Zealand Foreign Trusts ...
Undermining this message, just a little, the next STEP Latam conference will be taking place in tax haven and perennial opacity bad boy Panama, in September 2016. A representative of Cone Marshall is on the attendee list.
Undermining the message a little more, here are the 181 Panamanian bearer sharecompanies for which Cone and Marshall have been acting as nominee directors.
Undermining the message even more, here’s a diagram from Transparency International (Slovakia) in which New Zealand companies created by Cone show up, concealing the involvement of one Juraj Široký (meaning wide man) in a tottering Slovakian company called Váhostav.
Here’s more from The Slovak Spectator on Juraj Široký. He has an interesting past:
WHEN Juraj Široký left the Czechoslovak embassy in Washington two decades ago, following his posting as secret agent and second secretary, he didn’t forget about his colleagues in the communist intelligence service.
After the 1989 revolution he continued to do business with them, first within an infamous asset-stripping operation known as the Harvard funds, and later within Slovak chemicals groups Chemolak and Plastika.
Today, Široký’s “spy circle” has contacts with people at the top of the Economy Ministry under the Fico government, including minister Ľubomír Jahnátek from the ruling Smer party. Companies under Široký’s wing last year won two tenders from the ministry together worth Sk120 million (€4 million).
Under the Fico government, Široký’s firms have won several multi-million-euro contracts to build highways and renovate Bratislava Castle. He got his start in business in the Czech Republic as the partner of Viktor Kožený, dubbed the ‘Pirate of Prague’, who is currently on trial in the Czech Republic for looting billions of Czech crowns from the Harvard investment funds in the mid-1990s…Kožený is currently in the Bahamas, beyond the reach of the Czech courts.
Široký did not respond to questions about his past from The Slovak Spectator. Economy Ministry officials denied that the businessman, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures behind the Smer party, had any influence over public contracts.
One can’t help noticing a couple of other things in passing.
First, one of the NZ companies,Torrelaguna Limited, which has a trio of Costa Rican stooge directors, still hasn’t got around to appointing the mandatory NZ resident director, a legal requirement that came into force in May 2015. The additional 180 day grace period that gave companies ample time to appoint an NZ resident expired months ago. This company should be struck off. It might be worth a look at the other 1,000 companies in Cone Marshall’s NZ portfolio to see how many more there are like that.
Naked Capitalism on Wide NZ, Australian and Slovak Communist Connections ...

*Top multinationals pay almost no tax in New Zealand