PANAMA PAPERS: 34 Notts names linked to offshore tax havens

Dozens of company officers, executives and firms registered in Nottinghamshire have been embroiled in the Mossack Fonseca tax avoidance scandal.

Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 3:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 4:46 pm
The Panama Papers have revealed numerous names and addresses in Nottinghamshire

The names, including shareholders in offshore companies, are linked to the thousands of businesses exposed in the massive leak of documents from Panama Law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released the full database of company officers, businesses and intermediaries involved in offshore entities on Monday, May 9, and among them 34 officers and 21 local addresses have been revealed among the millions of documents leaked by an anonymous ex-employee of the firm earlier this year.

The connections labelled in the report include officers and shareholders with addresses in Newark, Hyson Green, Nottingham, the Park, West Bridgeford, Newton, Hucknall Whitwell, Newthorpe, Gedling, Chilwell, Castle Grove and Woodborough. Some addressed are also of companies registered in the county who have enlisted the services of the controversial law firm.

The data was published by the ICIJ after a whistleblower – a former employee of the firm still only known as John Doe, appealed to a German Newspaper. They leak is the biggest of it’s kind in history, including 11.5 million documents and 2.6 terrabytes of information on more than 200,000 shell companies and financial entities incorporated in more than 20 tax havens around the world.

Setting up an offshore company is not by itself illegal or evidence of illegal conduct, and Mossack Fonseca said it observed rules requiring it to identify its clients.

ICIJ website said setting up offshore companies is not by itself illegal, but the leaks have revealed other crimes linked to the companies.

They said in a disclaimer on their website: "There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly." It adds that: "Many people and entities have the same or similar names."

Whistleblower John Doe broke his apparent media silence with a statement last week, stating: “Shell companies are often associated with the crime of tax evasion. But the Panama Papers show beyond a shadow of a doubt that although shell companies are not illegal, by definition they are used to carry out a wide array of serious crimes.

“The prevailing media narrative thus far has focused on the scandal of what is allowed and legal in this system. What is allowed is indeed scandalous and must be changed.”

The law firm’s response to the ICIJ said: “The parties in many of the circumstances you (the ICIJ) cite are not and have never been clients of Mossack Fonseca.

“It is legal and common for companies to establish commercial entities in different jurisdictions for a variety of legitimate reasons, including conducting cross-border mergers and acquisitions... restructuring and pooling of investment capital from different jurisdictions in neutral legal and tax regimes that does not benefit or disadvantage any one investor.

“In addition, we have always complied with international protocols … to assure as is reasonably possible, that the companies we incorporate are not being used for tax evasion, money laundering, terrorist finance or other illicit purposes.

“Our firm has never been accused or charged in connection with criminal wrongdoing.

“We regret any misuse of our services and actively take steps to prevent it.

“We strongly disagree with any statement implying that the primary function of the services we provide is to facilitate tax avoidance and/or evasion.”

Public relations director Carlos Sousa added that the proprietary documents were taken illegally and Mossack Fonseca will pursue legal remedies.

Search the list at offshoreleaks.icij.org.