In this post I will be looking into an example of a Swiss firm that has a global outreach, and an Asian presence. I intend to be looking at a few of the trust companies that Asiaciti have on their books, and perhaps John Hart again in the next post. Croce & Associes Trust Ltd is nominally a New Zealand company, but is obviously run by the parent company in Geneva, or perhaps the branch in Singapore. The website for Croce & Associes NZ states that Auckland is the headquarters for its group trust services, as well as offering to set up private foundations and hybrid companies. Here is their diagram for a trust structure:
And this comment on the website in the trusts category is particularly pertinent:
“In certain jurisdictions however, it is possible for settlors to designate themselves (or a trusted third party such as a personal advisor) trustee of their own private trust company. This solution enables the settlor to retain control of the way the trust is managed.”
Besides having an impressive website specific to New Zealand, and with a touch of Latin, one of the interesting thing about Croce & Associes are the role of the associates and their companies. Franco Noel Croce has a nice brochure on-line in which he introduces himself, his son and daughter-in-law, and refers to his ‘correspondents’ who can offer assistance around the world, from Dubai to Panama. The actual shareholder for Croce & Associes Trust is Monaco Enterprises Ltd S.A., which is based in Panama rather than Monaco. Mr Croce is also the President of the Panamanian firm Aprea Finance S.A., which was set up by Morgan & Morgan, and also features nominee director Jose Silva Ritter. Not surprisingly, Croce appears in the ICIJ Offshore leaks database, a total of nine times as an ‘officer’, as does Monaco Enterprises Ltd. Monaco Enterprises is an ‘officer’ for Soltex Ltd, a BVI registered company set up in 1998 and finally struck off in 2015. As an intermediary (under Croce, Lic. Franco) his name comes up with 42 entities, but none directly linked to New Zealand.
So I will take a quick look at the associates, firstly Leonardo Bordon, a resident of London who is also a director of Croce & Associes Trust. Bordon works for Lextray (UK) Ltd, as part of a larger global tax law firm, and at the same address for which the London branch of Croce & Associes operates. Bordon was also a director of a company set up by Asiaciti in 2010 called Auckland Sourcing Trust Ltd, and a shareholder until 2014. The other original shareholders were: Claudio Maria Luigi Maimone of Switzerland; and Gianluca Foglia and Elide Foglia Frangi-Bricchi of Singapore. The Swiss link to Singapore is quite direct, in the form of the Eastern Oriental Finance company, with EOF Services (Asia) Pte Ltd being the home of the Croce & Associes Singapore branch. Gianluca Foglia is the former managing director of EOF; has been a partner in Lextray (Asia) Pte Ltd since 2011; has been a partner in the Swiss firm C & M Group S.A. since 2011; and he is also the managing partner in a company called A2S Pte Ltd, which has a modest website linked to its partners in the Croce & Associes branches, and which mentions having a trust business in New Zealand. Foglia also has the shareholding in NZ Sourcing Ltd, a company administered by Steven Green.
Gianluca Foglia is not mentioned in the ICIJ database, but C & M Comprehensive Consulting S.A. is, and we can see the link because Claudio M.L. Maimone is mentioned with a Mario Frangi. They are both shareholders of a Samoan company Kirby Investments Ltd, which was set up in 2007 and is still listed as active. The other shareholder is Portcullis Trustnet (Samoa) Ltd; the intermediaries include C & M Comprehensive Consulting of Switzerland, along with two other Samoan companies – Sectra Ltd and Dectra Ltd – that are linked to hundreds of other entities in the first offshore leak. Marco Frangi is also listed as the intermediary of EOF Services (Asia) Pte Ltd, where we see that Elide Foglia Frangi-Bricchi is the shareholder. There’s nothing like keeping offshore connections within the family.