#29leaks: someone leaked 15 years' worth of data from London's most notorious shell-company factory

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/07/25/formations-house.html


This honestly makes me feel much better about Google watching me watch porn. If all of us plebs’ data about our efforts just to live our lives is gonna leak, we definitely need to offset that with data leaks about corporations fucking us all.


Gosh, wonder what’s in that file…


trump, trump org, trump tower, Cohen, Kushner, …


Are there reasons for using a shell-company that don’t involve doing something sneaky or distasteful?


I imagined seeing this as the morning headline on the Interesting Times (which may not be a real paper but should have been.)

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Excellent! This ought to be a rollicking good time.


Arguably, yes. For example, a movie studio might create a new partnership for each production, with the co-producers and other studios/financiers in the partnership. That way you can give a ownership share in an individual movie to a producer without giving them ownership in the studio itself.


I was thinking more about shell companies that don’t disclose who the principles are. It’s always felt like corporation ownership and boards shouldn’t be a secret.


The thing is, they DO disclose, but the disclosures are other companies. Which is fine, if the parent company is (to use the same example) the movie studio backing the production – but not if it’s, say, an anonymous trust based in Wyoming.


Hollywood accounting tho. Hence the ‘arguably’ I guess.


That doesn’t seem very airtight if the investigator can then get disclosures from those other shell companies and their shell companies…

Putting all of this in a database where a bot can spider down the list to get to the actual persons involved seems like a very useful thing. That said, you’re probably going to run into a lot of cases where the final person is some lawyer acting on someone’s behalf and protected by confidentiality agreements.


There was a recent journalistic effort like this with data from an off-shore law firm that did similar services for clients. I don’t recall any game changing repercussions from that gold mine – how will this be different?

It brought down the government of Iceland and instigated sweeping tax reforms in many global countries, and also contributed to the EU’s crackdown on Luxembourg tax-avoidance.


Ok, so what you are saying is that only in the USA it didn’t make a fucks difference in hell.

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If I ever won the lottery* and didn’t want to collect as “me”, I’d build a legit Taco Town™ shell around myself (and hope it was never cracked).

*(can’t win; don’t play)

Also, a joint venture between two companies entering a new market where they don’t want competitors to know about it until they are ready to launch a product. In some industries, that could take years.

OTOH - it’s Counterpunch who punches down…

From the Critical Reading blog

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The rules are looser in London:

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The US already has Delaware and Nevada, so there’s no general need for American parties to go abroad for this sort of thing.

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