Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Tuesday, March 12, 2019


 When attorneys for victims of Sierra Leone gold mine owners' misconduct sought to bring a civil action, they were stopped by a common international corporate tactic: use a law firm  such as Mossack and Fonseca to form corporate or other entities to hold title to an asset, while still other entities operate it. Since creditors cannot link the corporate owners with the bad actors's corporations, liability is effectively prevented.

What happened next was textbook investigatory trade craft; the lawyers, using internal corporate documents exposed by the ICIJ in the "Panama Papers,"  proved that there was common ownership and control of the corporate entities, which were related. Apparently, a deliberately confusing trail of BVI, Channel Islands and Liechtenstein companies, ending up in a family foundation was unscrambled by investigators, using the internal corporate documents.

The types of documents that were used to prove up common ownership and control:
1. Corporate resolutions.
2. Shareholders and directors register.
3. Emails regarding payment requests.
4. Corporate meeting minutes.
5. Correspondence, which included an organizational chart and company registration.
6. Letters documenting internal corporate loans between affiliated corporations.

Thus, documents kept by Mossack and Fonseca, and obtained and later published by the ICIJ, enabled the victims to maintain their civil action. 

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