From Ireland to the Seychelles via Kakahi, New Zealand

Having mentioned the Seychelles briefly in the previous post, I will explore the links in more depth this time. The intention has been to begin to examine the many companies that have been created, and usually removed or passed on, by the Melvilles. Carolyn and Garth Melville have had some nominee directors from the Seychelles up until recently. But it wasn’t until I went right back into the documentation that I saw the Irish connection. This comes in the form of the Pegasus Trust, a trust firm based in Drumconda, Ireland. As the Irish Times has reported following the Panama Papers release, the Pegasus Trust is owned by Laburnum Finance, and in turn by Pegasus Nominees, which is apparently based in the Seychelles. The Pegasus Trust website claims that it can provide services in New Zealand.

It appears that the services have in fact been provided by the Melvilles, in their various guises, and a Stephanie Gee, who appears to be Carolyn Melville’s sister. Gee lives in a tiny settlement called Kakahi, a place most New Zealanders would not have heard of, and would also have difficulty finding, being in close proximity to the Tongariro Forest Park in the central North Island. It is a strange combination at first sight, for Ms Gee and another nominee director from the sunny Seychelles to run companies, but that is the epitome of the Offshore world.

Anyway, Robert Becker is the managing director of the Pegasus Trust, and in 2004 he was involved in setting up Pegasus Trust (NZ) Ltd, with the help of Carol Gee (Melville). In September 2004 he appears to have relinquished his directorship and Bernard Camille of Mahe, Seychelles, became a new director of the New Zealand company. Other Irish men, such as Brian Hanifin and Brian Buckley, were involved in Paxton Medical Ltd, before Camille became a director in August 2004. Camille was also director in another medical sounding company, Weltpharma Ltd, and also Jolton Ltd as the sole director. Only two of the companies that Camille has been a director have carried on without him: Fiduciary Management Co and Global Trustees (NZ) Ltd. Global Trustees dates back to 2001, and was begun by an Antoine Chow of Mahe, Seychelles; although he is named as a director on 3rd December, the same day as he is replaced by a John Manunui of Kakahi, New Zealand. Global Trustees is also Camille’s most recent directorship, going up to 2012, when he appears to have retired.

Bernard Camille is interesting because he seems to be, according to a Google search, a top flight football referee, based in the Seychelles. Since FIFA appears to be ‘fantastically corrupt’, perhaps being a nominee director was good training for him. Some of the other Seychelles directors are not as traceable as him. Camille was an early director in Tradelor Ltd, which was owned by Global Trustees, along with Francis Mondon, and then Reinhard Kurz. Mondon appears to have actually run New Zealand companies, albeit unsuccessfully, such as Assion Aircraft & Yachting Chartering Services Ltd. This was first set up by a Daniel Chow of the Seychelles, but was later owned by Airvaggi San Raffaele SRL of Italy. Mondon appears once in the Offshore Leaks database, in the leak that preceded the Panama Papers.

The other two Seychelles directors that have often worked with the Melvilles are Reinhard Kurz and Dorothy Benoiton. Kurz and Benoiton owned South Bound Management, and have over 30 directorships between them, but most of the companies have been removed. One of the curious things about Kurz’s companies is that some had rather odd name changes along the way. This was firstly because the original names had a variation on ‘Bancorp’ such as: New Alliance Bancorp (owned in Hong Kong); Pacific Bancorporation (first owned by a Panamanian company then Finatek Holdings in Cyprus); and Pacific Trust & Bancorp (owned in Panama and then in Belize). First Intercontinental Bancorp (owned by Spyroa Kyprianou in Cyprus) was later renamed 209028 Ltd, and Atlantis Bancorp (Fabio Rossi director) was renamed 1985770 Ltd. There are other Bancorp-related names that then become 7 digit companies, but these are not administered by the Melvilles and Kurz.

The other thing about the Melvilles and the Seychelles nominee directors is how sloppy the paper work was. There has often been no presenter of the documents and the date next to the signature is also missing in many certificates. Kurz was a director of Pacific Concepts Ltd, but he also apparently signed the Consent of Shareholder form, on behalf of Fernside Concepts, which was one of Stephanie Gee’s companies. Likewise, Dorothy Benoiton became a director of API Investments in January 2010, but then had her role backdated for the previous 3 years by Carolyn Melville. API is the only one of Benoiton’s companies that is still active, but neither she nor the Melvilles are now involved, having moved on smartly.

 

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