Anchor and some Swiss Virtues: Fiduciaries or Frauds?

In this post I will be looking once again at Anchor Trustees, and some of their longstanding commercial relations with Swiss trust or fiduciary firms. We will see that they have connections with Panama, and also an Asian presence in Singapore and Malaysia. John Hart and Michael Reynolds were involved in setting up a company called Firecrest Hambro Trust Corporation Ltd in 2003. The 5000 shares in this company were held by Firecrest Capital Ltd of London, which was the firm of Charles Hambro, whose surname is well known for a larger financial institution (there was an SG Hambros Trust Company on the New Zealand register until it was removed in July 2016). Charles Hambro and his London associates appear to have retired, and Firecrest Capital went with them, and so the company named was changed in 2008. But, after a slew of directorial changes, the trust company remains registered with Anchor’s Auckland office, and the shareholding is with Anchor Investments Holdings Ltd; two original directors remain, Mr Reynolds, and a Swiss resident, Rolf Schlegel. Schlegel was joined in 2001 by another Swiss resident, Matthias Seiler, who is also associated with the Invico Group, and their website mentions the Firecrest Trust Corporation, which is described as a ‘leading’ New Zealand trust firm. Invico AG are mentioned once in the Panama Papers part of the ICIJ database, where they are linked to a Tilawa Holdings Ltd, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 1998. Rolf Schlegel and Matthias Seiler are also directors in a number of other companies administered by Anchor Trustees in Auckland, including 3 recently registered: Stanwell Ltd; Aeolina Investments Ltd; and Journey (NZ) Ltd, which has now been removed.

Anchor Investment Holdings has many companies in its stable, and a number of Swiss resident directors, but Juerg Roland Greter pops up quite regularly. Greter is the principal in his own law firm, Greter & Partners of Zurich, and he has included his colleagues Marina Peter and Piero Palermo as directors in his New Zealand companies, such as Yashar Holdings Ltd. But Yashar Holdings was set up in 2007 when, according to his new firm’s website, he was a partner in a MGM Meier Greter in Zurich. It so happens that the firm’s name appears once in the Panama Papers, linked to a BVI company called Dronset Ltd, set up in 2002. Greter’s own name does not appear in the database, though there are a number of people named Meier from Switzerland. Then there is Erich Meier who works with Walter Wehrli in Konwave AG, a Swiss fund manager. Walter Wehrli appears once in the ICIJ database linked to the Alexander Gold Group, a BVI company set up in 2003.There was also a Wehrli Corp Ltd set up by Anchor in 2007, with Juerg Greter as a director.

But when we come to Virtue Trustees (New Zealand) Ltd we find a number of connections to the Offshore Leaks database. Virtue Trustees was set up as Molson Management Services Ltd in 2010, and the original directors included Reynolds, and Nicholas Shepherd of Auckland, and Stephane Masson of Switzerland. Both Shepherd and Reynolds, and Masson, appear in the database linked to Portcullis Trustnet in Singapore, and Roger Hermann Frick of Switzerland. As an intermediary Roger Frick is linked to four Singapore companies, three of which were incorporated in 1996 are still active: Gaite Investment Pte Ltd; Goran Investment Pte Ltd; and Basham Investment Pte Ltd. Masson was an early director of Basham (Louis McElwee was a shareholder, along with Gordon Ralph Stewart); Reynolds, Shepherd and McElwee were shareholders in Goran Investment Pte Ltd. Masson was also a director of Gaite Investment Pte Ltd for about a year in 2003-4. There was also a Gaite Investment Ltd that was briefly set up by Anchor in 2014, with Roger Frick as a director, and apparently never traded. But Frick and Masson have also been directors of Cosgrove NZ Ltd, and Kaleso Trustee (New Zealand) Ltd – Kaleso is the name of the company that Frick has set up in Geneva, and there is also Malaysian one.

Going back to Virtue Trustees (New Zealand) Ltd, the shareholding was transferred to Kendris Ltd of Zurich in November 2015, with Ilona Gabor and Gabriella Patane as the Swiss directors. Patane is a partner in Kendris AG, and head of the trust services. It seems that Kendris has had some extensive links with Mossack Fonseca, judging by the six entries as an intermediary in the Panama Papers part of the database. One of the entities created was called Ventura Frontier Investments Ltd, registered in the British Virgin Islands, and with a beneficiary in Mohammed el Husseiny of Abu Dhabi. There is a Ventura Group Holding Ltd that is registered in Dubai, with el Husseiny and Joan Henry as directors, according to the Panama Papers.

Addendum 22 May 2017: Due to the comment below I have removed the offending part of the text that was originally posted.

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One Response to Anchor and some Swiss Virtues: Fiduciaries or Frauds?

  1. Daniel Jeon says:

    Dear Sir:

    With reference to your post made on August 4, 2016, entitled “Anchor and some Swiss Virtues: Fiduciaries or Frauds?”, please be advised that a statement made in that post was incorrect, and if not retracted or corrected, potentially defamatory and libelous. Please be advised that the Mr. Mohammed El Husseiny, principal and director of Ventura Group in Dubai, is absolutely not the same Mr. Mohammed Al Husseiny, former CEO of Aabar Investments (UAE) and former Chairman of Falcon Bank (Switzerland), that has been reported to be involved with the 1MDB investigations. A cursory internet search would reveal this. Accordingly, we respectfully ask that you make a retraction or correction of your post confirming the same at the soonest, and no later than 5 days from the date hereof. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.
    Daniel Jeon, General Counsel of Ventura Group (daniel.jeon@ventura.ae)

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