J.A.F. Wadham and the Chelsea Man brand based in Hong Kong

In this post I look at a couple of expatriate Englishmen who are now based in Hong Kong. The interest here is partly with the link to New Zealand, with James Anthony Frank Wadham, and what appears to be his link with Christopher Kenneth Mayber George. It isn’t immediately obvious that they are associates, but they both appear to operate in the offshore space as well as in the conventional commercial world. And both are linked to a company called Intetrust Ltd. Intetrust is a Samoan-registered company that appears in the ICIJ database linked with Portcullis Trustnet, as a shareholder of 44 mostly Samoan companies, and as an intermediary for 8 entities which have been ‘transferred out’. But there was also a company called Intetrust New Zealand Ltd, for which Wadham was an ongoing director.

Intetrust New Zealand Ltd was registered in in 1996, and was removed from the New Zealand register in October 2007. The 1000 shares in the company were originally split between the Integroup Holdings Ltd of Western Samoa, and the Anchor Trust Group of Auckland. Intetrust NZ also owned two other trust companies, Ilton & Oxford Holdings Ltd, and Lovering Ltd, both now removed but which were administered by the Anchor Trustees in Auckland. I have looked at the Anchor Trust operation before, but have overlooked the link with James A.F. Wadham. He certainly appears to have had a key role in a number of their own companies, including eight with Anchor in the title, and has had 20 New Zealand company directorships overall. Only two of these appointments remain: International Finance (NZ) Ltd that was formed in 2004; and Ilton & Oxford Ltd, that was first registered in 2014. Wadham has added a Phillipino director, Armina Almonte la Torre, to both companies. Torre replaced Stuart Kinnear Robertson, an Australian based in Switzerland, in International Finance, in July this year. International Finance is now owned by EPI (NZ) Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong company, having recently taken over from East Pacific Investments Ltd, another company registered in Hong Kong. The shareholding company up to September 2015 was International Recoveries (NZ) Ltd, which was also registered with Anchor Trustees. In 2010, June Jackson of Anchor Trustees asked the Companies Office to provide a ‘Certificate of Good Standing’ for both International Finance and International Recoveries (NZ) Ltd, but one of them appears to have been declined.

Another interesting aspect in the documentation for International Recoveries is a form filled out for James Wadham, a declaration of ‘non-activity’, in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2011. Wadham certainly seems to get around a bit in the offshore world, and the details can be found on the internet. But his own company, the Fiduciary and Consulting Group, only operates from Hong Kong, Samoa, and the Phillipines, according to its website. The Uruguay connection appears to be through the Winterbotham Trust’s operation there, which is linked with 7 entities in the Panama Papers. Wadham also appears to be part of the Hewanorra Fiduciary Services Group in St Lucia, with one Nicholas John & Co., which only appears once in the database. Nonetheless, Wadham is an interesting fellow who has published widely, but especially on offshoreinvestment.com, including an article on sham trusts and companies, based on a seminar at Oxford University in 2002. He was also a key guest at a conference in the Bahamas, in 2010, organised by the Southpac Trust Group for the Offshore Planning Institute, which seems to focus on the asset protection trust laws.

Now back to that other interesting fellow, C.K.M. George, who is also apparently based in Hong Kong. George’s name is mis-spelt in the ICIJ database, appearing as “Christopher Kenneth Mayber Goerge as trustee for the Legend Trust” in the Panama Papers, but with an address in Coventry, England. George is linked to a Samoan company set up in 2008 and called Genesis Global Ltd. And Genesis Global appears to have six shareholders: C.K.M. Goerge [sic]; Anthony Samuel George as trustee for the Bank Thai Trust; James Leigh Whittemore, who appears to be a retired American financier; Marc Haywood of Denmark (who is listed twice); and Intetrust Ltd, located in the Central Bank Building in Apia, Samoa.This is the address that also appears on the Fiduciary and Consulting Group’s website for Samoa, because it is actually the branch operation of Wadham’s company. Wadham himself appears in three separate listings in the ‘Offshore Leaks’ part of the ICIJ database, due to his links with Portcullis Trustnet; and one of these listings involves a link with 20 entities, but mostly involving companies in the Cook Islands and a few in Liberia. Samoa only comes up with a link to Magic Holdings Ltd, part of a group of companies set up for Ryan and Pina Hendricks, who appear to be based in Atlanta, Georgia (USA).

But just a footnote on C.K.M. George, who seems to have been a legitimate businessman in the rag trade, and who has had longstanding trademarks registered for brands like ‘Pilot’ and ‘Chelsea Man’. The latter brand was sold in a chain of menswear stores in the U.K., that appear to have dwindled over the years. Anyway, he has still tried to defend his trademark for the Chelsea Man brand, and twice taken on the mighty Chelsea F.C. over the use of their own name. The first test under the Trade Marks Act came in 2011, when Chelsea tried to register the trademark, and objection was taken by A.C.K. George, the son of C.K.M. George, on behalf of his company, called Retrofit Global Ltd. The elder George had listed all the different companies he had formed to sell the brand clothing in the chain of Nickleby’s menswear stores, mostly being variants on Morgan Samuel. Amazingly, the football club lost the case, and costs were awarded to Messrs George. Chelsea’s F.C.’s lawyer appeared to rely on the fact that Retrofit Global was operated from Hong Kong, and was registered in a tax haven, the British Virgin Islands. But the whole thing was repeated in 2015, when Chelsea again made a trademark application, and the Georges’ opposed it again, but this time for a company called Benetton Holdings, which was registered in St Lucia. It seems that the companies that had previously been operating the Chelsea Man brand had been liquidated, and as sales had by now collapsed to a few thousand pounds it could not really be argued that anybody would confuse the two brands, so football won.

















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