Friday, April 22, 2016


In their rush to ascertain whether any of their accounts are being held in the name of bearer share Panama corporations or foundations, formed by Mossack and Fonseca, do not lose sight of the fact that the law firm regularly formed bearer share companies in other Caribbean tax haven jurisdiction. We have already seen that MF was fond of giving its clients companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, notorious for their opacity, and even now, only offering a small crumb to UK regulators, with enough loopholes to drive a large truck through.

The use of a BVI company, when the accounts are located in another offshore financial center, additionally complicates identification of the Beneficial Owner, especially when a Power of Attorney (Poder), naming a third party, especially when a cooperating attorney, with his privilege, is employed.

Attention will certainly shift to the BVI, when the full extend of MF use of its jurisdiction, is disclosed, as complete copies of documents are made public. Do not lose sight of the widespread use of the BVI-Cayman Islands "Sandwich," where a British Virgin Islands corporation holds a Cayman Islands bank account. We have not yet seen MF documents evidencing this use of the Cayman Islands, to shield clients' identities, but you can expect to see it mentioned.

The extent to which the BVI and the Cayman islands receive a "black eye" from the Panama Papers scandal cannot be ascertained at this point, but there will, assuredly, be damage.  One only needs to read the details, about the new demands, from the New York Department of Financial Services,  made upon thirteen foreign banks with offices in the state, to understand that there will be consequences, across the full spectrum of Caribbean tax havens, and that it will get ugly.  

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