The Phatom Account

In 2008, a Romanian who felt cheated by three Moldovan businessmen filed a civil case in an obscure courthouse in the capital of the tiny Republic of Moldova, in effect asking the authorities for help against a phantom offshore company called Tormex Ltd. Prosecutors subpoenad two years’ worth of Tormex’s bank accounts in Latvia and what they found was stunning.
It seemed that more than US$680 million a year was pouring through Tormex’s accounts.
Those bank records opened a window for reporters from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to a world where crime is measured in billions.
Tracing the transactions took reporters to Chisinau, Moscow, Kiev, Riga, Bucharest, London and Auckland, cities that have become hubs in a huge network of banks, proxies, financial consultants and offshore companies that launder money and hide stolen assets.
Tormex Limited was one of these companies in the Proxy Platform.
For over 12 months, thousands of transactions and commissions from all over the world circulated through the Tormex bank account in Latvia before they were diverted to other offshore companies.
Yet Tormex didn’t really exist. It was a phantom. It had no offices, no employees. Its director was a Russian citizen; an unwitting stand-in with no idea there was such a thing as Tormex. What Tormex did own was a bank account at the Baltic International Bank in Riga, Latvia. Who really runs the operation, no one knows, so carefully have they disguised themselves behind layers of dead-end proxies and offshore companies.
But their goal is boldly clear: launder money and hide assets. It insured that crime profits were hidden behind outward-looking legal import-export operations or consultancy and intermediary agreements. Money that flowed through Tormex has been connected to criminal activities or is simply lost in the maze of offshore companies. It is no coincidence that Tormex’s account was in Latvia, a country with one of the least transparent banking systems in the world. It is recognized as a hotbed for international money laundering.
OCCRP also found out that Tormex Ltd played a role in laundering the money for a fraudulent scheme that ultimately led to the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, a brave Russian whistleblower. Two companies involved in the Magnitsky case and in the looting of the Russian state budget, Nomirex Ltd and Keronol Ltd, sent almost US$15 million to the Tormex account.
Birth of a Phantom
 In February of 2007, Tormex  was registered in Auckland, New Zealand by the GT Group.  The GT Group was a business registration firm based in that city and already well known to law enforcement as a company that specialized in setting up untraceable offshore companies, fronted by proxies.  It helped organized crime, corrupt leaders and terrorists avoid detection, launder money and evade taxes. New Zealand authorities, in fact, closed GT Group, in June of 2011.  It registered companies that were later connected to illegal arms trading between the North Korean government and Iran and in deals with Hezbollah, Mexican drug cartels, Russian organized crime groups and others.
Tormex Ltd, was owned by another paper company and its director was a proxy named Stella Port-Louis. Port-Louis, 32, was a professional proxy for the Taylor network, by all accounts. She lives in the Seychelles islands off the coast of Africa far from the 577 New Zealand offshore companies, at least 90 Wyoming companies and 164 companies in Great Britain of which she has been listed as director.
 Port-Louis’s directorship lasted only hours. On the company’s birth date, she signed a power-of-attorney which effectively gave control to a second-level proxy: Albert Maslakov. Maslakov, 44, a driver, lives very modestly outside Moscow. He could only imagine the amounts pouring though Tormex’s accounts in his name. In fact, he was completely unaware Tormex existed and that he was its director until OCCRP reporters contacted him.
Yet documents at Baltic International Bank indicate someone used his name and signature to open a multi-currency account for Tormex Ltd at the end of May, 2007. It recorded its first transaction in September of 2007 and its last on Sept. 3, 2008. It stayed inactive until the offshore company was terminated in New Zealand on June 22, 2010.
Maslakov told OCCRP that three or four years ago he was working as a driver in the Russian state-owned Center-Telekom, which provides telecom services throughout the country.
 "One of my colleagues offered me a way to earn some money. I can’t remember his name now. I asked him what I had to do, and he replied ‘Nothing, we just need your passport details." Maslakov remembers that he signed some documents in English, which he didn’t understand. "I’m regretting now that I did it, but I really needed the money," says Maslakov.
Maslakov is not the only one who sold their passport details.
"There are hundreds of law-firms in Moscow, which specialize in setting up ready-made shell companies for their clients, who want to remain in the shadows. Usually law firms use poor people, who sell them passport details. The sum for one passport may vary from US$100 to US$300," says Ruslan Milchenko, ex-officer of the Russian tax police.
The Transactions
 Tormex opened a multi-currency account – a usual practice in the banking paradise of the Baltic state. The balance was held in seven currencies (USD, EUR, GBP, CHF, SEK, JPY, CAD), but the most significant transactions were in US dollars.
The Tormex Ltd bank account for the year of its life has more than 500 pages offering details of thousands of suspicious transactions with phantom companies in offshore jurisdictions around the world as well as with legitimate companies in Europe, USA, the Middle or the Far East.
Occasionally, payments were made to real people. A woman got €6,000 (US$8,100) at an Italian bank in Bari; another one received US$13,000 in Miami, USA. A man got US$12,000 in Chicago. All were former Soviet Union immigrants living in the West, with two exceptions: an Egyptian and a Bulgarian.
Many of the transactions appear to be commercial deals at first glance. They have descriptions and even associated contracts, reporters were told when they called the companies involved. But in only one case did the companies say they received any goods. Mostly, the contracts were cancelled after the transaction and the companies repaid for their order through a different offshore company. Some admitted the contracts were bogus. The pattern matches a money laundering operation Russian organized crime uses.
Tormex Limited also had transactions with other offshore proxy companies engaged in a similar business including Nomirex Trading Ltd, Keronol Ltd, and Melide Ltd. OCCRP found that Keronol Ltd sent almost US$15 million to the Tormex Ltd account in a short period of time.
All of these companies were established by the Taylor network in New Zealand. The companies show up on Suspicious Activity Reports, reports banks file when they suspect money laundering.  These reports became the basis for a US government money laundering case against Wachovia which was accused of laundering billions of dollars for the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel. Wachovia was fined US$50 million and it surrendered US$110 million in profit, which was the highest fine levied against a bank in the US history.
Tormex Ltd statement of account shows a consistent pattern of banking operations. For example, two offshore type companies - Geowide Ltd and Triallon LLP – periodically sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to Tormex. That money was, in turn, sent to Ofra Group Ltd, Loritex Ltd and to an entity simply named "Robertson".
Triallon is registered in London, England, while Geowide, Ofra Group and Loritex were established by the Taylor network in Auckland. All are now closed. All had hidden ownership, and all had bank accounts in Latvia.
They are likely missing pieces of the platform puzzle.
http://www.reportingproject.net/proxy/en/the-phantom-accounts

Comments

  1. Michel and Co. must be pissying in their pants of the way SFP is exposing gorss crimes committed by PP proxies.


    Did Michel "SOLEIL OFFSHORE"used the same feud company to laundered millions of Seychellois money aborad? These allegations should be verify and investigate and i could imagine that the USA would be pelased to provide more inforamtion of the case.We expecting LAPORTE to rapidly file a criminal complaint in regards to STELLA in order that justice can probe the allegation and conduct a forensic investigation, for the LOTUS was registered in Seychelles and Stella the fake director was the boss.And FRANK ALLY rpresentative of LOTUS should alos be investigated to find out how much does he knew iâbout the crime.It would be difficult for Him to tell us he did not know what was going on.What was the role of FRANK ALLY?The people wants to know PP.It is time for accountability , tansparency and justice PP.

    OFFSHORES companies have always had an aura of mystery about it,and When Michel created overnight SOLEIL OFFSHORE COMPANY just after he was tipped By LEHMANN , fuel doubts about the purpose Michel created such a company.




    Jeanne D'Arc


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    Replies
    1. I agree, but please do not go to hard on someone that has been brainwashed by PL, and taken advantage of her inocence.

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  2. no wonder Seychelles is facing poverty, it is because of greed and coruptions. Thanks to Mr Gill intelligence for cracking those malfeasant down.

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  3. 22.01
    I think Stella is the culprit,and should she wants to be treated differently, she could simply come out and expose those in the system who participate in the crimes or benefit from them.She would then help by her actions to start radicating the cancer of corruption,money laundry,etc.. by this rogue governemnt.Note before stella there was LUCAS who has been enjoying the protection of Michel his friend and probably becuase most of Pp thugs are dirtectly or indirectly involve.She should got the guts to speak out and not allow herself to be the scapegoat of Pp thugs .

    Jeanne D'Arc


    Jeanne D'

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  4. Where is RAM?His lips stays zipped on the issue.

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  5. Frank ALLY is a lawer know!this bastard,like i mention so many time lawers in Seychelles are corrupt,corrupt can only stop by remove pp by force.Judge,lawers,ministers.president,police etc..all corrupt what make them corrupt this man call him self the leader are a zero peoples under him know his cerimes from the past that mean you saying voler entrap voler to much voler in this sytem.

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  6. One day when you will wake up you will hear some those crooks are been hostage by a group.Asking those crooks to bring our trillion back to Seselwa peoples,my peoples are suffering and living on debt and on arabs support and provety is on the rise for Seselwa and if our demand dont reach excution.

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  7. Frank Ally is not the only crooks enrobed in a regalia to travest justice but we have LUCAS;,Raymond Bonte,Bernardd George who represnted Khalfia in land deal when George should know and know that the law says No foreigner can owe or buy land in Seychelles,:we could well ask him on what legal support he represent Khalifa.The same to Fnrak Ally,LUcas and probably many other Badly qualified alwywers who cannot make a living by exercising their proffesion proffesionally but by sleeping and rolling in the bed of corruption and organized crimes with PP.

    All lawyers who participate in raping our law should be dealt with to the same extend as Pp thugs .I wouldsay even strcker for they in the first place know the law,thus consciuos of the crimes they were about to committed.Those lawyers invovled should have the licnese as lawyers revoke.

    Jeanne D'Arc

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  8. Exampel look this lawer who kill Pamela Pouponau on Praslin may be Frank Ally know which one i'm talking about,and then went on Mahe and kill her mum.Seselwa say he get frick out.no he was consuming heroin with those heroin addict on Praslin was not crazy.And today this man is free for kiilling two and he was one of the corrupt lawer i ever know and they are more seatting in this kangaroo court like him.

    No one can deal with them Jeannne,corrupt start with the chief in charge follow by his ministers and finish with his employers.What we need to do take them out corruption is like a drugs for those crooks continue with them we going no were.LEr zot fes in sek zot pou toujour abuse power vole zot peupel fer seselwa fin plir miser.

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  9. STELLA COME OUT OF YOUR HOLE AND TELL US SESELWA THE STORY.Before US COME FOR YOU.wERE IS SHE HIDING IS ANY ONE KNOW?IS SHE ON THE ISLAND?

    Its time to send Aljazzera again,till now no news paper or media in Seychelles have come out about this issue or covering the story.

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  10. What this dredger is doing in the water at Beau Vallon?

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  11. 03.13

    Rarely does criminals come out and present themslves for justice.On the other Hands in all organized society their are instituions in place of which justice ministry is one of them and the judiciary,therefore should be the ones taking their responsibility by ordering an investigate of case without delay.There is also something called FIU which was created to fight against money laundering etc... where is FIU,where is the Chief judge,where is minister of justice,where is the members of Assembly,where is the Opposition leaders or PP cuckoos RAM;VOCLER;BOULLE?They have no comments,does they think by staying silence that they agree with such crimes or they also just part of the gang benefiting from such practices?

    There have been interantional organizations or Countires such as the USA already investigating money laundering,UK Ambassador should she was blind on the matter ,was tipped by Mr TAll,and other interantional newspapers have been writing on the issue too.I would rather ask---Where is the Oppostion SNP;DNP:BOULLE;FIU;and toher NGOs ,why are they silent?

    The refusal of Pp thugs to investigate the gross crime can be solely explain by the fact ,that many PP high officials are invovled in money laundering.Other iwse PP who has lost legitimacy would have rushed to investigate the case and even punished severely the culprits in order to gain back their lost legitimacy.Any system who failed,refused,played deaf ears on criminal issues often the logic REASON FOR THEIR INACTION IS THEIR IMPLICATION IN THE CRIMES TOO.

    PP must be reminded that inaction will not only tarnished our image aborad,but it send the wrong message to Interantional donors on which our country depend on to survive since Michel banrupted and robbed dry our coffers.Refusal to investigate might forced Interantional donors to refrain from giving us aids wqhich we badly needed to keep Seychelles afloat.Such criminal activities can undermine integrity and stability of financial institutions and sytem,and discouraging foreign investment and distort International capital flows.Morevoer,countires like USA;UK and others could consider our land and peaceful people as a country which sponsor terrorism for money laundering as USA,uk AND OTHERS HAVE PROVEN ,is often a means that attracts terorist activities etc...

    You know,Michel the Butcher could take a leaf from the new Chinese Prime who since he has taken office is cracking down of corrupt officials even sons of high ex -communist party member.

    And fianlly Should Pp failed to take action,i think Oppostion should ask IMF:WORLD BANK to revisit the loans they been given to Pp thugtocrats(whoi never accounted for a cent on how those loans were used).We could also Ask USA to list Pp thugtocrats on top of the list of countires sponsoring terrorism.This will damage further our country's iamge,but donot forget ,Pp has already tarnished our country's iamge on several occasions--namely in illegal arm sell in RWANDA genocide,Human trafficking,AND MANY OTHER HIGH CRIMES.

    NOT GIVING pP MORE FOREIGN AIDS WOULD MEANS HELPING US TO finish with Pp thugtocrats and its benficiaries.And of course should acsanction be taken aginst PP,the only force tjhat could influence those imposing sanction opf Pp would be the Oppostion.

    Jeanne D'Arc





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  12. Dififcult to give a figure but oine can consider multi-million of dollars for money laundering is as lucrative as drug dealing.Pablo Escobar illicit fortune was estimated over u$30 BILLIONS.I would not say she broken Pablo's record but surely important that an investigation is necessary not only to expose STELLA but to help vicitms of the scam around the world who might be exploited by STELLA and Co.By investigating money laundering ,it will allows governemnt to sytematically unravel the network/heirachies of organized crime groups.The money trail would lead us to the bosses in the background who do not get invovle with the criminal activities that genrates the profits.If left unchecked criminal money will slowly inflitrate the LEGAL ECONOMY and in the end will threaten the integrity of the whole society(which might be one of the cuases among others of our country's bankrupcy in 2008).When vast amount of dirty money is injected in a country's fiancail market,it may distabilize the financiall system,or even be employed to exert pressure of a national governemnt by threatening to speculate on National currency.


    Jeanne D'Arc

    ReplyDelete

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