Intrust: London, Cyprus, Dubai & New Zealand

For a change I will look at a trust firm based in London, Intrust, with global reach in the offshore world, but not so much presence in the Panama Papers database. OK, so the Isle of Man branch does come up, but it does not appear to be linked with the New Zealand based shell companies. So we can get a look at an apparently legitimate business that happens to link New Zealand with Intrust directors based in Cyprus, Dubai, Israel, and Ireland. There is an administrative difference in how they operate their New Zealand registered companies for a start. A staffer from London, Lucy Neifeld is the ‘presenter’ of the documents, not a person from Cone Marshall, or another New Zealand based trust firm. Intrust are linked with the Bentleys accountancy firm in Auckland, and their Roger Thompson is the token local director, as has been required in law of recent times.

In fact, some of Intrust’s companies were set up by Global Trustees, then operating out of Auckland by Trustees Executors International Ltd, but now run from central Wellington as Vicorp Investments. Intrust Trustees (New Zealand) Ltd was set up by Staples & Rodway Accountants in 2001, and from 2007 its shareholders have been companies known as L. Holdings and G. Holdings. These two holding companies appear a lot in the shareholding transfers in the New Zealand based companies. The Intrust Trustees directors include: Roberto Bianchi, who appears to be the head of the actuarial department at Allianz Suisse; Martin Landman, the principal of Intrust in London; and Michael Shore, a former Intrust accountant. Both Landman and Shore are directors of Kingdom Wealth Funds, which appears to focus on the Middle East, and Shore is the main shareholder of some of the New Zealand registered companies. Intrust Trustees is owned by Western Intrust, a company based in Cyprus. Intrust’s Sean Hogan and Jason Hughes, based in Cyprus, also appear as directors and shareholders of the New Zealand companies. Other regular directors include: Nira Amar in Israel; Magdelena Zalozinska in Dubai; and Robyn Shapiro, who lives in Monaco. A typical Intrust company, like Truequest Ltd, lists Hughes, Zalozinska, and Marc A.M. Burini (Monaco) as directors; this company is owned by Inwealth Trustees Nevis Ltd. So there is still a tax haven element to Intrust, this time in favour of St Kitts & Nevis.

Truequest Ltd is interesting for another reason, as is the New Zealand company where Marc Burini is also a director, Tarklec Ltd. This company has actually been transferred to the New Zealand register from Texas, of all places. Upon incorporation, the two shareholders were Jane Stapleton and Jamie Thompson, who appear to have been Intrust staffers in Cyprus. In March 2013, Marc Alexandre Marin Burini took over the 1000 shares in the company, and subsequently Jason Hughes and Nira Amar became directors.

But the interesting thing here is that Burini is the Vice-President of the National Council of Monaco. One wonders why he needs to own a New Zealand company, Tarklec, and be a director of another one, Truequest. Intrust helps other public figures with interests in New Zealand companies, such as Nadia Minkoff, who is a high profile handbag designer in London. She is a director of two active New Zealand companies, Berkeley Partners and Webley Trading Ltd, and two that have been removed from the register. Berkeley Partners shareholding went from L. Holdings to Universal Holdings Ltd in 2012. Universal Holdings is based in Dubai, though Zalozinska is not actually a director; while Webley Trading Ltd has 1000 shares, evenly divided between Jason Hughes and Sean Hogan in Cyprus.

Finally, a comparison to another London financial firm, Bulldog Global Financial Services Group, which has a worldwide reach. It appears to have been linked to Bulldog NZ Trustees Ltd, which was established by a Christchurch based accountancy firm in 2013. By 2014 the 100 shares in the company were taken over by one Daniel Skordis, of Wiltshire, England. Skordis changed the company name to Quantum Trustees, and a Michael Price of Hove, and Milko Sinko of Dubai, became directors in 2015. The token local director is David Maxwell Sceats, who lives in Keri Keri, in the far north of New Zealand, although the administration of the company is based in Kati Kati, which is in the Bay of Plenty. Anyway, Mr Skordis appears a number of times in the Panama Papers database, so must be dodgy.

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