Geoffrey Cone and the Costa Ricans

Geoffrey Cone no doubt considers himself the doyen of the trust industry in New Zealand, and its major international player. He has worked at the Russell McVeagh practice in Auckland, where tax-dodging schemes became an art form in the 1980s. He was the chairman of Lane Neave Ronaldson in Christchurch for two years, according to his CV. He worked in the Caribbean in the 1990s, before returning home to join the Simpson Grierson law firm, then in 1990 he set up Cone Marshall with Karen Marshall. Since 1999 he has done everything in the trust industry: “established and managed New Zealand trust companies for twelve international trustee companies.” Cone has apparently been a consultant to law firms in the U.S., Switzerland, England, Hong Kong, and all around Central and South America; as well as negotiating the NZ trust disclosure rules.

So Geoff Cone is the ‘guvnor’, and he is the only player to talk to the media about his firm’s involvement with Mossack Fonseca. But his CV doesn’t mention Panama, or, for that matter, his links with Costa Rica. Now, there is a large law firm in Costa Rica called Pacheco Coto, and its website states that it has an office in Auckland, and the contact is Karen Marshall. So, apparently, “in 2006 the firm added an office in Auckland that replaced those in Vaduz [Liechtenstein] and Georgetown.” In June 2006 the chairman of Pacheco Coto, Humberto Pacheco, met Geoffrey Cone in Davos. They formed a joint venture, called Pacheco Cone, and built a modest website. It has not been updated since by the look of it, but does feature their photo, and one of Pacheco with Vaclav Havel.

Anyway, it does not look like the Pancheco Cone venture took off, but it still has a few companies and a presence in New Zealand. Torrelaguna Ltd has received some attention, because it doesn’t actually have a New Zealand-based director, such as Karen Marshall or Claire Cooke. At least one of the directors seems to have had ‘New Zealand’ added to the end of the Costa Rican address. The original shareholder of the company was a Miguel Angel Campos Hernandez, but now the 100 shares are split evenly between 5 Costa Rican shareholders who appear to be mostly Pacheco Coto associates and staffers. Torrelaguna also owns Havelock Ltd, which does have Claire Cooke as a nominee director, and two Costa Rican women, Hilda Maria Oreamuno Castro and Patricia Nunez Montero. Oreamuno Castro has one directorship in England, but Nunez Montero has a bigger role in Auckland.

Patricia Nunez Montero was the director in Innesport Ltd, a company briefly on the New Zealand register in 2010 as an experiment it would seem, along with a couple of others. But in August 2010 Cone Marshall set up Innesport Corporation Ltd, with Nunez Montero owning the 100 shares. Innesport Corporation Ltd, in turn, took over the shareholding in Euro-Energy Holding Corporation, from Innesport Corporation in Costa Rica. Also, Cone Marshall appear to have changed the name of two shelf companies in 2010, to create Ennerdale Holdings Ltd and Beacon Holdings Ltd. Ennerdale was owned by one of its own trust vehicles, New Zealand Escrow and Trust Co, with Nunez Montero as one of the two Costa Rican directors. Ennerdale in turn owned Beacon Holdings Ltd, and this had an odd registered address, which appears to be a seaside bach on the highway near Kaikohe, in the far north of the North Island. One can only wonder if it’s one of Cone’s many houses.

It seems that Ennerdale and Beacon Holdings, as well as other Costa Rican/Cone Marshall companies, such as Crot Ltd, are being removed from the register. The fact that Karen Marshall hasn’t bothered to make Claire Cooke or herself the nominee directors suggests that the joint venture has fizzled. Or that Geoffrey Cone prefers the quiet life in Uruguay.

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