New Zealand: The Shell Company Incorporation Franchises: Round-Up

In a series of recent posts on shell company incorporation scams, we reanalysed the New Zealand entities incorporated by GT Group (Ian Taylor), New Zealand Company Incorporators (Michael Taylor) and The Company Net (Glenn Smith).

Three years after the Taylor network’s purported shutdown, we found evidence of current and continuing incorporation activity by the Taylor family, here, with 60+ companies still live in New Zealand.

We also established that from 2005 onwards, at least, Smith and the Taylor brothers acted as fronts for various offshore agents, many of which incorporated companies that are still live in New Zealand:

Unitrust, no live companies left in New Zealand.

International Offshore Services (Philip Burwell), here and here, with 96 live companies.

Tropic Alliance/Swiss Registry Consulting/Meridian Companies House with 16 live companies.

Panasuisse, with 10 live companies.

In short, we found more than 180 live companies still operating in New Zealand that seem to have exactly the same dubious profile as the many thousands of companies struck off by the New Zealand Registrar of Companies between 2007 and 2012.

There is no guarantee that this count is exhaustive. By way of illustration, consider a set of Panamanian resident directors whose names occur again and again in the New Zealand Register:

Ulpiano Calderon MORENO, director of four live NZ companies and 106 companies struck off in the NZ registrar’s Great Deregistration Frenzy.

Mario Antonio Alvarado CASTILLO, former director of one still-live NZ company, now directed by a Ukrainian, Larysa BOYKO, and of 101 companies struck off in the NZ registrar’s Great Deregistration Frenzy.

Diego Jacinto BATISTA VALDES, former director of one still-live NZ company, now directed by the very same Ukrainian, Larysa BOYKO, and of 118 more companies struck off in the NZ registrar’s Great Deregistration Frenzy.

It is hard to think of a reason why, having struck off 325 very similar companies, the New Zealand Registrar thinks that these six, which have an equally unappealing pedigree, should survive.

Relying heavily on the work of the OCCRP and Graham Stack, we reminded readers of the extensive use of New Zealand shell companies formed by offshore agents in money laundering, fraud, and arms smuggling.

Meanwhile, amendments to the NZ Companies Act that would require NZ Companies to have at least one NZ resident director have been in the pipeline for three years.  The reforms would certainly have some beneficial effect, though there would still be ways to circumvent them, for a while, for instance if an unscrupulous agent was prepared to treat a suitably gullible local director as  expendable. There is little controversy about the desirability of the reforms: they have cross-party support. One wonders why the New Zealand Government is twiddling its thumbs.

Pending the legislative changes, the last line of defence against abusive company registrations is Companies Office’s Corporate Risk Profiling Team. Unfortunately the continued existence of 180+ very easily traceable companies of very dubious pedigree suggests that the Companies Office Corporate Risk Profiling Team aren’t doing a great deal of Corporate Risk Profiling,  right now. One wonders why.



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  1. Peter Pan

    So why don’t other countries with laws against money laundering, fraud, and arms smuggling subject NZ to economic sanctions for allowing this to continue?

    Could it be that the CIA, MI6 & SVR use these shell companies for their own nefarious activities?

  2. ChrisPacific

    I was able to find the transcripts of the first and second readings of the bill online. It doesn’t sound like the third has happened yet. There seemed to be broad support across all parties, with lots of jabs from opposition members about why it’s been so slow to go through the process (which they are positioning as the government dragging its feet). There is an election coming up which is shaping up to be pretty close, so it will be interesting to see if said opposition does a better job of fast tracking it if they end up in power.

  3. downunderer

    Reading with interest, but actually afraid to comment beyond that, for reasons that may be called paranoia or prudence, depending on one’s view of the state of the world.

  4. ambrit

    Mr. Smith;
    Kudos yet again. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. That is, if one can tell them apart today. Thanks for not ignoring the man behind the curtain.

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