Bad Company: New Zealand links Irish directors with dodgy Swiss firm

This post follows on from the previous one about the use of Seychellois directors by an Irish trust firm, as initiated by the Melvilles in New Zealand. But this time it is the Pearse Trust that have assumed control of a number of existing companies, and established a branch operation in Wellington. Their man in New Zealand is Colm Anthony Hanley, who was already a director of New Zealand companies while still resident in County Mayo, Ireland. Some of these companies have been removed, but others are being added by Hanley, from an office that is opposite the Wellington public library. The website of the Pearse Trust is open about its operation in New Zealand, and suggests the benefits of combining a trust with a locally registered company, though its publications on these subjects can no longer be found on the website, presumably after the release of the Panama Papers they thought better of it. There is a New Zealand company, Pearse Trust (New Zealand) Ltd, that is owned by the parent company out of Ballsbridge, Dublin.

But to get the whole picture first we need to go back to the creation of the companies by the Melvilles from their earlier Wellington operation, using Trustee Executors International Limited and Global Trustees (NZ) Ltd. There are about 8 companies that were set up by Carolyn Melville with a Benjamin Prea, of Bel Ombre (Mahe, Seychelles), as the original director. One of these companies, Sandywalk Ltd, was owned by another Melville vehicle, P T Trustees (NZ) Ltd. P T Trustees was one of the earlier companies set up by Carolyn Melville with Antoine Chow as the original director, soon to be replaced by Stephanie Gee. Eventually, Ineeze Anette Anacoura was appointed director in April 2012. Anacoura is listed as a resident of Le Niol, Mahe, but also seems to be a director for British based companies. Her directorship had ended by December 2012, as did her other one for Hibernian Ltd, which had only been registered in April 2012 by Colm Hanley for Global Trustees. Hibernian’s shares were assumed by a company called Elm Park Management Ltd in March 2015. This was the only older company being run by Hanley for Elm Park Management, it has been assuming more newly created ones; whereas, many of the older Melville companies are now owned by Vicorp Investments Ltd, and still administered by Hanley.

The companies being administered by Colm Hanley for the Pearse Trust have had a regular crew of nominee directors, some aging English residents, but most Irish. One is Robert Brady of Maidstone, in Kent, who was the original director for the wonderfully named Mildred Association Ltd, now owned by Vicorp Investments. Brady appears to be linked to a UK company called Bridgefield Nominees, based in Pinner, Middlesex. According to one of the UK company listing websites, Bridgefield also have other directors on their books including Benjamin Prea and Ineeze Anette Anacoura. They operate out of Elm Park House in Pinner, so one can assume that is why Elm Park Management Ltd is also being operated by Hanley in Wellington, New Zealand. The other English directors for the Pearse Trust, include Frances Ann Gordon, from West Sussex, who is the director of Kalena Holdings and Sprucefield Ltd with Colm Hanley. Now to the Irishmen: Niall Hughes of Firmount (county Kildare) was the director of 3 New Zealand companies, but only RJA Marketing is still active; and David Gordon Desmond Bowles, a clergyman from Blackrock (county Cork), is the director of Belior Management and Clock Tower Ltd. The latter also has a current director, Michael Joseph Dunne of Dublin, who, with William Christopher Murphy of Dublin, have a growing list of New Zealand companies which they apparently run.

Michael Dunne and Colm Hanley also have directorships with a number of Swiss residents. They are the directors of Collier Ltd, along with Michael Gordon of West Sussex, and a Giuliana Castano Bizzio of Switzerland; Castano Bizzio is also the only shareholder in the company. Maple View Ltd is another company originally set up by Carolyn Melville with Benjamin Prea as the original director; but Prea was replaced by Colm Hanley in 2012, with Javier Martin Vanella, a resident of Lugano, Switzerland. Vanella was the sole director until joined by Dunne and Hanley in 2015. Hanley also set up Swisser AG Trustee NZ Ltd in 2012, with Vanella as original director, and with Marcelo Nestor Ramos of Caslano (Ticino canton). Now, Ramos and Vanellas run a Swiss firm, Helvetic Service Group, that has a website that makes it appear to be legitimate. They also control a firm called Swisser AG, and have acquired the SGI financial group. But, according to La Nacion, they are also big players in the Offshore world, have many directorships in London, and are linked to the Jaguar Capital LLC firm in Uruguay. Jaguar appears many times in the Panama Papers, and a 23 April article in La Nacion examines the accusations of money laundering against Nestor Marcelo Ramos, through his connection to a Lazaro Baez. Another article, from 8 May, adds another name, Daniel Perez Gadin, and that of Dermaine Ltd in London which is associated with Javier Martin Vanella.

So there we are, a long chain of companies begun in Wellington, taken over by the Pearse Trust from Ireland, with an English company of nominee directors, and some dodgy Italians based in Switzerland, with money laundering charges against them in Uruguay. Whether or not Mr Colm Hanley has New Zealand residency, and can actually be the local director with all of this cast of characters, Helvetic is not the only Swiss firm of financiers that Hanley works with.

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