The round trip of Brian Balleine: Butterfield Trust & Cone Marshall

In the last instalment I looked at Cone Marshall’s extensive links with the Rothschild Trust, and the mix of Swiss entities and Caribbean influence. I briefly mentioned a New Zealand company, Forte Dei Marmi Ltd, that was owned by one of Rothschild’s nominee companies registered in the British Virgin Islands. One of the directors of that company was a Brian Balleine of the Cayman Islands, who has also been the director of two other New Zealand companies, Odillard Ltd and the Saltlands Private Trust Company ltd, both now removed. Rothschilds actually closed their Cayman Islands operation, and Balleine briefly moved to their Singapore office, but is now back in the Cayman Islands again. He now runs the Cayman office for the Butterfield Trust, specialising in wealth management.

Balleine comes up many times in a Google search, so that we can track his career in the offshore world, but he does not appear in the Panama Papers. But Butterfield Trust does, with its various companies appearing in the ICIJ database 12 times as an ‘officer’, and 6 times as an ‘intermediary’. The key point about Balleine is that he provides the link to Cone Marshall, and possibly with the Rothschild Trust via New Zealand. This is because Cone Marshall also administer a number of companies for the Butterfield Trust, both for its Swiss trust operation, and the local version, the Butterfield Trust (New Zealand) Ltd. The company was set up in 2005 by the Melville family franchise, who installed Stephanie Gee as a director, along with Trevor Sunderland and Robert Lotmore of Nassau, Bahamas. Sunderland appears once in the Panama Papers as a shareholder in Kroton Ltd (BVI); Lotmore appears once as a shareholder of Winnett Investments Ltd (BVI); and the intermediary in both instances was Butterfield Bank (Bahamas). But it is Butterfield Holdings (Switzerland) that took over the shareholder of Butterfield Trust (New Zealand) Ltd. The original Butterfield directors were Philippe Lenz, James Parker, who still head the Butterfield Trust in Geneva; and Robert Moore of Guernsey, with Paul Hodgson as his alternate. Later directors include Benjamin Lumsdon and Veronica Marx of Switzerland.

The Butterfield Trust Group obviously believe in giving their staff experience as directors in New Zealand. Karen Bell of Switzerland and Annick Ducraux of France (as an alternate) have been added as directors this year for a number of companies set up by Cone Marshall, and nominally owned by Butterfield Trust (New Zealand) Ltd. These include companies set up from 2005 to 2008, including: Abingdon Ltd, Everbright International Trust Ltd, Fortrees Ltd, and Rovoning Ltd. There are also four set up recently: DLT 2014 Ltd, GT 2014 Ltd, KT 2014 Ltd, and Pace Holdings Ltd. These companies have also had new alternate directors for Messrs Lenz and Peabody, such as Ceri Turton and Audrey Sautelle-Smith. More interesting perhaps, are the four New Zealand companies with the shares held by the Butterfield Trust (Switzerland) Ltd. Two of them – Mckinley PTC (PTC stands for private trust company) Ltd and Saint Elias PTC Ltd – have been set up by Cone Marshall in November 2014, and then had the shares transferred to Butterfields in December of that year. But the other two – Zirbes Ltd and Komarek Ltd – are companies that were registered in the British Virgin Islands on 3 November 2009, and then transferred to the New Zealand register on 10 August 2015. Once again the directors are Lenz, Parker, Lumsdon and Marx, with Bell and Ducraux added in early 2016.

One has to wonder why Butterfield Trust would want companies transferred from the British Virgin Islands to New Zealand, when it has links to companies there, such as Vespertina Holdings Ltd. That company is in the Panama Papers, and comes up with the address for Butterfield House in the Cayman Islands, presumably where Mr Balleine is based. It is also the home of Field Nominees (Cayman) Ltd, the shareholder of Vespertina Holdings, which is linked to Cone Marshall as an intermediary. In the database there are four other companies linked to Cone Marshall: Capewood Investments Ltd, Dove Holding Group Inc., Wastom Holdings Ltd, and Rosen Enterprises SA. The latter two are then linked to a New Zeland [sic] Trustees Ltd, which is perhaps the Cone Marshall vehicle operating from Auckland, as shareholder. Wastom Holdings has two other shareholding companies: Joyner Overseas Inc. of Panama, and JMJ Holdings Ltd (BVI). JMJ Holdings is also a shareholder in Rosen Enterprises, along with two Russian women, Liudmila Petrenko and Galina Evteeva. But meanwhile, Capewood Investments has four shareholding companies, two of which are from Guernsey, and the third being called Kirkella Investments Ltd, and based in Georgetown (Grand Cayman). The fourth is Arrow Master Holdings Ltd, the New Zealand company administered by Cone Marshall on behalf of the Rothschild Trust. So we seem to have gone full circle, with the help of Mr Balleine.

Addendum: Since writing this the ICIJ have announced the release of more documents, this time from a source in the Bahamas. A quick look at the new ‘Bahamas Leaks’ for the Butterfield Trust comes up with some new entries, in fact, the Butterfield Trust (Bahamas) Ltd has 1156 entities linked to it. It will be interesting to see if there are more New Zealand connections for future posts.

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