One of the things you just have to love about the world of financial crime is the extraordinary level of coincidence (or whatever) when it comes to naming companies involved in Laundromat activity.
I’ve written before (Ali Moulaye, algorithms and a lot of unlikely alignments) on the subject, but today’s story (4 March 2019) yields another delightful one.
The Guardian is carrying a story about how $200,000 was paid to a charity headed by Prince Charles (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/04/banking-leak-exposes-russian-network-link-to-prince-charles-troika-laundromat) from a BVI company called Quantus Division Ltd which was allegedly part of the Troika Laundromat operation announced today by the OCCRP.
By a stunning coincidence there is a UK Limited Liability Partnership called Quantus Consulting LLP which was incorporated way back in 2006 at the same time that a whole batch of LLPs were being drawn into the Danske Bank affair. Oddly it was also incorporated a mere three weeks after Quantus Division Ltd was registered in BVI.
Even more extraordinarily, the registration address for this LLP was 39 Wetherby Mansions, Earls Court Square, SW5 9BH, exactly the same as a significant number of the LLPs found using the Estonian branch of Danske. And just to add to the overall level of amazing coincidences, the original designated members were the BVI duo of Ireland & Overseas Acquisitions Ltd and Milltown Corporate Services Ltd, the very same people as those of the aforementioned Danske linked LLPs.
To be fair, it has since changed address (via both Sunderland and South Shields) to its new home in London’s Covent Garden and it’s now on its third set of designated members (these two based in Seychelles rather than BVI) and it has registered a Person with Significant Control (a 62 year old Russian lady from St Petersburg) although I couldn’t find a single return on Google for someone with her name.
What is maybe a bit more surprising is that for all this frenetic activity, changing designated members (twice), changing address (three times) and having a PSC, the LLP itself is reporting dormant accounts and has done every year since it was formed in 2006.
Returning to Quantus Division Ltd (the subject of the original Guardian story) it’s interesting to note that it has exactly the same asddress and Panamanian director as one of the companies we talked about in this week’s “The Dark Money Files” (the one with 2,500 pages of bank statements and $700m in deposits over an 18 month period).
But I’m sure that’s just a coincidence as well.