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Namibia: Panama Papers Show Receptionist is Millionaire – Report

Panama Papers.

A RECEPTIONIST and clerk in Namibia is a multimillionaire who owns offshore businesses all over the world, apart from that she just does now not realize it.

Letitia Diergaardt’s identify shows up time and again in a shadowy net of secretive offshore CORPORATIONS, A Few Of which have questionable links to hands dealers, and her companies’ dealings embody alleged trade transactions with an eu billionaire oil mogul.

Diergaardt, a Windhoek receptionist, is a part of a couple of low-key folks linked to a chain of offshore COMPANIES which over the past two weeks have hit news headlines global in what is now often called the Panama Papers, an exposé of complicated tax- dodging schemes.

The 30-one thing Diergaardt technically owns firms as she used to be and in some cases continues to be a director of 9 offshore CORPORATIONS Within The British Virgin Islands, even supposing she mentioned thru her lawyer that she used to be unaware of any of this.

Her connection to offshore FIRMS is in keeping with internal knowledge from the Panama-based totally offshore provider Mossack Fonseca, received By Means Of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

The World Consortium of Investigative Journalists has shared the recordsdata with more than A Hundred information media houses world wide, together with The Namibian’s investigative unit.

The Namibian traced Diergaardt to Powerbat Namibia, a battery provide Company in Windhoek’s southern industrial area, where she is employed as a receptionist and debtors’ officer.

Her Facebook account displays that before becoming a member of Powerbat in January 2016, she worked as a sales coordinator at Castle Brewing Namibia and SABMiller Namibia from April 2008.

The secretive offshore industry depends on a network of individuals whose names are used on legit information as administrators, Firm secretaries and shareholders. Continuously, the true house owners who call the photographs stay invisible, hiding in the back of dummy administrators, who’re best house owners of those CORPORATIONS on paper.

Diergaardt denied knowledge of the offshore CORPORATIONS when interviewed for this investigation, however the Documents and earlier leaks Exhibit her name as being entrenched deeply Within The murky offshore world.

Paperwork reveal that in 2007, Diergaardt become the proprietor of a British Virgin Islands’ Firm named Komet Workforce SA.

This and all of the COMPANIES connected to Diergaardt are held With The Aid Of Lotus Holdings, a Seychelles-based totally Firm which has hyperlinks to OTHER offshore COMPANIES.

Lotus Holdings is a infamous offshore registry agent, enjoying a an identical role to that of Mossack Fonseca, with links to trade people keen on questionable deals, equivalent to palms buying and selling.

Diergaardt’s 9 FIRMS were all registered between Thirteen April 2007 and 25 April 2007, when she used to be handiest in her mid-twenties.

In some cases, her identify used to be registered for two to a few CORPORATIONS in at some point. Documents Express that she resigned from some CORPORATIONS, whereas her standing in others is still a mystery.

In Step With the offshore Firm Paperwork, Diergaardt used to be registered as a shareholder for Meta Staff S.A., and as proprietor and director of Gotica Mellow SA on 13 April 2007.

ICIJ’s information does no longer Express whether or not she resigned from those two COMPANIES.

4 COMPANIES, corresponding to Komet Team SA, Mitta Staff SA,Weandex SA and Messer Staff SA listed her as an owner or director as of 19 April 2007. Six days later (25 April 2007), she got Belvedere Make Investments SA and Barnard Commercial.

Diergaardt become a director of Weston Commerce Inc. from 28 September 2007. She resigned from Weston Commerce on 3 March 2009, In Step With the leaked knowledge.

On face price, the use of her title in these COMPANIES is to signify hidden homeowners. The leaked information does not Exhibit what money went throughout the bills of those FIRMS, what offers they had been focused on or whether or not they had been totally dormant.

Any Person, however, took the difficulty to create these shell FIRMS, which is a component of the larger picture Within The offshore universe where multinationals, rich folks and others use offshore FIRMS to carry out doubtful offers via official financial transactions.

There were calls to clamp down on tax havens to ensure that these entities or people pay their taxes, which in turn can be utilized to reduce inequalities in their respective international locations.

One such service provider is Oxfam, a non-revenue agency, which has referred to as for a move against tax havens.

In Fact, Oxfam estimates that as a lot as 30% of all African financial wealth is kept in low-tax offshore areas, costing an estimated US$14 billion in misplaced tax revenues every year.

This cash could pay for folks’s healthcare products and services and save the lives of as much as Four million children a year, and may hire sufficient academics to get every African kid into school, Oxfam stated.

Oxfam’s tax professional Francis Weyzig told The Namibian that typically, offshore COMPANIES can be utilized to cover illegitimate practices corresponding to false invoicing, draining public funds and untaxed business income out of growing countries.

Such capital flight is costing developing nations billions of bucks every year, he said.

Weyzig mentioned that many shell CORPORATIONS are situated in jurisdictions where the homeowners or beneficiaries cannot be recognized Through outsiders, together with authorities.

He stated although shell CORPORATIONS can also be created for completely prison purposes, offshore firms may facilitate a lot of unlawful practices that can be used to cover the possession of personal belongings, akin to monetary investments, or the possession of a firm, or conceal certain transactions as commonplace business transactions while they don’t seem to be.

This enables money laundering, corruption, bribery, evasion of tax on non-public wealth (or on income from that wealth), false invoicing, transfer mis-pricing (trading between related entities at costs which might be artificially low or high), hiding circumstances of warfare of hobby, and so on, he stated.

THE MOLDOVA CONNECTION

Within The leaked Documents, Diergaardt’s Komet Staff SA advised the now disgraced Mossack Fonseca law firm that it was once involved Within The extraction of oil and gas, Business processing, the construction of gas and oil-processing vegetation and the availability of materials and equipment for oil extraction.

It was once included on 17 April 2007 In The British Virgin Islands, and Diergaardt allegedly bought it two days later.

She was once issued 50 000 shares price US$50 000, making her the sole shareholder and director. Her dwelling tackle is said Within The Firm Documents as Khomasdal, a suburb in Windhoek.

Diergaardt advised this investigation that this tackle belongs to her sister.

According To the leak, a couple of year after buying Komet Crew, Diergaardt sold all her shares In The Firm to Moldovan oil oligarch Anatol Stati for US$50 000 (N$400 000), though the leaked File spell his first identify as Anatolie.

Stati’s oil business empire has made him One Of Moldova’s richest folks. It Can Be no longer clear whether Diergaardt for my part received anything for promoting her shares to Stati.

The sale was made at a meeting on 17 March 2008, which Diergaardt allegedly chaired, while Stati used to be the secretary. A movement was once made By Using Letitia Diergardt to sell A Hundred% shares of the corporate, leaked minutes of the assembly mentioned.

Later Within The assembly, a movement used to be made to accept her resignation as director of Komet Team.

It was thereby resolved that the resignation of Letitia Diergaardt from the place of director of the corporate shall hereby be customary with immediate effect, the minutes stated.

Stati fully took cost of the company from Diergaardt as the sole director and owner.

If Diergaardt’s version that she does no longer recognize the rest concerning the offshore CORPORATIONS is correct, then this also puts into query the legality of this assembly, if ever there used to be this type of meeting. Weyzig stated even if the Paperwork Exhibit that the meeting over the possession of that Company happened, the minutes do not point out Diergaardt’s date of beginning or passport quantity, whereas they do mention these of Stati.

That’s bizarre, Weyzig stated. If Someone made false minutes and cast her signature, that would possibly have been an illegal act. It Isn’t clear whether fee was once made in reference to the transfer of shares from Diergaardt to Stati, Oxfam’s tax professional mentioned.

Stati stated in a letter dated 27 March 2009 and addressed to offshore fixer Mossack Fonseca that Komet is probably not used for doubtful transactions.

Being the only real director and one of the crucial really helpful owners of the above Company, I hereby vouch that the above Company will never be used for illegal purposes, nor will it deal with or deal by any means with monies derived from narcotics or any other medication, unlawful buying and selling of hands or munitions, fraudulent transactions or some other unlawful actions, Stati stressed out.

KOMET ADJUSTMENTS HANDS

On 7 July 2008, a number of months after taking up Komet Workforce, Stati bought your entire Firm, partly to One Among his subsidiary oil FIRMS and the remainder to an exterior Company with links to trade pursuits in Iraq.

Stati first offered 24 500 shares (Fifty One% valued at U$25 500) of Komet Staff SA to Ascom Oil Company. Ascom is his Moldova-based oil Company with extraction rights in Central Asia, Iraq and Sudan.

Subsequent, Stati offered his remaining Forty Nine% stake for US$24 500 to Natural Instruments Company, a British Virgin Islands’ offshore Company owned Through Hadi Nezir, an Iraq-primarily based businessman with interests in petroleum.

In 2011, Nezir bought Pure Resources Firm’s Forty Nine% stake in Komet Team SA, a company as soon as owned, at least on paper, With The Aid Of Diergaardt, to Ascom Oil Company, Stati’s DIFFERENT offshore Firm, for US$2 million.

Merely put, Stati paid US$2 million to Nezir to purchase back the identical shares he offered in 2008 for US$24 500.

In e-mail correspondence, Mossack Fonseca, the registry agent, puzzled Nezir’s involvement when the firm was requested to update Komet Workforce’s possession Documents after Stati offered back the Forty Nine% shares.

Mossack Fonseca at the start maintained that it may possibly now not change the ownership records with out the direct authorisation of all administrators of Komet Group — which on the time, the firm believed to incorporate Nezir.

Wayne Uffleman, a lawyer representing Stati, spoke back that any records indicating that Hadi Nezir was a director have been, Actually, inaccurate. Uffleman maintained that Anatol Stati was the only director of Komet Staff SA, a declare later verified Through Mossack Fonseca.

It Is Not clear why Stati selected to buy a British Virgin Islands Company from a Namibian, as an alternative of making an offshore Firm himself.

Weyzig, Oxfam’s Netherlands-based tax professional, said on the basis of the Panama Papers’ Paperwork, one cannot conclude that america$2 million payment was made to Nezir, but it surely obviously shows that the Forty Nine% of shares in Komet have been held By Using NRC, a company represented Via Nezir as director.

He stated the information about this transaction is not clear on why there used to be a surprising upward push in price of Komet, or any dealings that the usa$2 million payment could also be related to.

Komet Group went on to be focused on multi-million greenback offers similar to oil in international locations like Sudan.

DIERGAARDT’S DIFFERENT FIRMS

Diergaardt’s reference to the Moldovan businessman seems to have ended when she allegedly offered Komet Crew to him.

Leaked records Show her maintaining an reliable role in several offshore CORPORATIONS, as she was once nonetheless listed as a director or shareholder in eight OTHER companies. A Few Of these corporations are still active, and they might be used for just right and unhealthy deeds.

Diergaardt was a director of Weston Commerce, Inc from 28 September 2007 to 3 March 2009. Certainly One Of her co-directors was Stella Port-Louis, a serial offshore fixer, who works for Lotus Retaining Firm.

Port-Louis was once reportedly a director of 338 firms registered to the same place of work in New Zealand.

An Editorial With The Aid Of ICIJ stated in 2007 that Port-Louis was singled out With The Aid Of US president Barack Obama — then a senator — for guiding at the least A Hundred CORPORATIONS in the us state of Wyoming when he warned of “critical problems confronting regulation- enforcement on account of minimal Firm possession knowledge necessities.

New Zealand’s information web site stuff.co.nz reported in 2010 that Port-Louis is an instance of how trade folks from in a foreign country with unknown credentials may also be registered as directors of latest Zealand FIRMS, and not using a questions asked.

Port-Louis is linked to Geoffrey Taylor, a businessman from New Zealand who based shell FIRMS which have due to the fact that been linked to fingers deals, Mexican drug lords and Russia’s biggest tax fraud.

Taylor seems to have performed it with out breaching the law. Geoffrey’s son, Ian Taylor, can be a director of Some Other offshore Firm linked to Diergaardt, Barnard Industrial SA, the place Diergaardt was once named as a shareholder.

Another co-owner of Weston Commerce, Inc. was a company named Commonwealth Belief Limited, a company In The British Virgin Islands which sets up out of the country CORPORATIONS and trusts for shoppers world wide.

The agency served as a director of Weston for at some point: 9 November 2004.

Receptionist tied to tax haven

The secretive offshore trade depends on a community of individuals whose names are used on authentic data as directors, Company secretaries and shareholders. Steadily, the true homeowners who call the pictures remain invisible, hiding in the back of dummy directors, who’re only house owners of these CORPORATIONS on paper.

Diergaardt denied knowledge of the offshore FIRMS when interviewed for this investigation, however the Paperwork and earlier leaks Convey her identify as being entrenched deeply Within The murky offshore world.

Documents divulge that in 2007, Diergaardt was the proprietor of a British Virgin Islands’ Company named Komet Workforce SA.

This and all the FIRMS linked to Diergaardt are held By Way Of Lotus Holdings, a Seychelles-based totally Company which has links to OTHER offshore CORPORATIONS.

Lotus Holdings is a infamous offshore registry agent, taking part in a an identical role to that of Mossack Fonseca, with hyperlinks to business individuals enthusiastic about questionable deals, equivalent to fingers trading.

Diergaardt’s 9 CORPORATIONS had been all registered between Thirteen April 2007 and 25 April 2007, when she used to be handiest in her mid-twenties.

In some circumstances, her name was registered for two to a few CORPORATIONS in in the future. Documents Exhibit that she resigned from some FIRMS, whereas her standing in others is still a mystery.

According To the offshore Company Paperwork, Diergaardt was registered as a shareholder for Meta Crew S.A., and as proprietor and director of Gotica Mellow SA on Thirteen April 2007.

ICIJ’s data does now not Exhibit whether she resigned from those two COMPANIES.

Four COMPANIES, corresponding to Komet Crew SA, Mitta Crew SA,Weandex SA and Messer Team SA listed her as an proprietor or director as of 19 April 2007. Six days later (25 April 2007), she got Belvedere Make Investments SA and Barnard Industrial.

Diergaardt became a director of Weston Commerce Inc. from 28 September 2007. She resigned from Weston Commerce on 3 March 2009, In Line With the leaked knowledge.

On face value, the usage of her title in these CORPORATIONS is to characterize hidden house owners. The leaked information does not Convey what money went during the money owed of these FIRMS, what offers they were serious about or whether or not they had been utterly dormant.

Any Person, on the other hand, took the trouble to create these shell FIRMS, which is part of the bigger picture In The offshore universe the place multinationals, rich individuals and others use offshore COMPANIES to hold out dubious offers via reputable financial transactions.

There had been calls to clamp down on tax havens to ensure that those entities or people pay their taxes, which in turn can be used to reduce inequalities in their respective nations.

One such employer is Oxfam, a non-profit employer, which has called for a move in opposition to tax havens.

If Truth Be Told, Oxfam estimates that as a lot as 30% of all African financial wealth is saved in low-tax offshore areas, costing an estimated US$14 billion in misplaced tax revenues every year.

This cash could pay for people’s healthcare services and shop the lives of as much as 4 million children a year, and may rent sufficient teachers to get every African child into college, Oxfam said.

Oxfam’s tax professional Francis Weyzig advised The Namibian that in general, offshore FIRMS can be utilized to cover illegitimate practices such as false invoicing, draining public funds and untaxed industry profits out of growing nations.

Such capital flight is costing creating nations billions of bucks every year, he mentioned.

Weyzig stated that many shell FIRMS are positioned in jurisdictions where the owners or beneficiaries cannot be identified By Using outsiders, together with authorities.

He mentioned despite the fact that shell CORPORATIONS can also be created for completely criminal functions, offshore corporations may additionally facilitate a lot of illegal practices that can be utilized to hide the ownership of private belongings, comparable to financial investments, or the possession of an organization, or disguise sure transactions as standard industry transactions while they are not.

This helps cash laundering, corruption, bribery, evasion of tax on non-public wealth (or on profits from that wealth), false invoicing, transfer mis-pricing (buying and selling between associated entities at prices which can be artificially low or high), hiding instances of struggle of passion, and so forth, he mentioned.

THE MOLDOVA CONNECTION

In The leaked Paperwork, Diergaardt’s Komet Staff SA advised the now disgraced Mossack Fonseca regulation agency that it was concerned Within The extraction of oil and gas, Business processing, the development of gasoline and oil-processing crops and the availability of supplies and tools for oil extraction.

It was once integrated on 17 April 2007 Within The British Virgin Islands, and Diergaardt allegedly bought it two days later.

She used to be issued 50 000 shares value US$50 000, making her the only shareholder and director. Her dwelling deal with is stated Within The Company Documents as Khomasdal, a suburb in Windhoek.

Diergaardt informed this investigation that this deal with belongs to her sister.

According To the leak, a couple of year after acquiring Komet Group, Diergaardt bought all her shares In The Company to Moldovan oil oligarch Anatol Stati for US$50 000 (N$400 000), although the leaked Document spell his first name as Anatolie.

Stati’s oil industry empire has made him One In Every Of Moldova’s richest people. It Can Be now not clear whether or not Diergaardt personally bought the rest for selling her shares to Stati.

The sale was made at a meeting on 17 March 2008, which Diergaardt allegedly chaired, whereas Stati used to be the secretary. A movement was once made Via Letitia Diergardt to sell A Hundred% shares of the corporate, leaked minutes of the assembly mentioned.

Later In The meeting, a movement was made to accept her resignation as director of Komet Group.

It was thereby resolved that the resignation of Letitia Diergaardt from the place of director of the corporate shall hereby be time-honored with rapid effect, the minutes stated.

Stati fully took cost of the corporate from Diergaardt as the sole director and owner.

If Diergaardt’s version that she does no longer understand anything about the offshore COMPANIES is correct, then this also puts into question the legality of this assembly, if ever there was one of these assembly. Weyzig said even though the Paperwork Convey that the meeting over the possession of that Company happened, the minutes don’t mention Diergaardt’s date of birth or passport quantity, whereas they do mention those of Stati.

That’s peculiar, Weyzig stated. If Any Individual made false minutes and solid her signature, that might were an unlawful act. It Isn’t clear whether or not cost was made in connection with the transfer of shares from Diergaardt to Stati, Oxfam’s tax knowledgeable mentioned.

Stati stated in a letter dated 27 March 2009 and addressed to offshore fixer Mossack Fonseca that Komet may not be used for dubious transactions.

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