What’s six hundred pounds these days?
The price of a continental holiday (for one or two people)?
A decent digital camera?
A month’s rent (if you don’t live in London)?
It’s an odd figure to emerge from performing an investigation and following a hunch but that’s where this story is going to take us.
Let’s start with the reasonably unremarkable MT Tourism Direct Ltd. It was incorporated on 26 April 2010 with its original directors being Danny Banger, a Latvian living in Ireland, Starwell International Ltd (of Nevis) and Fynel Ltd, a Cypriot company. They are, at least in passing, interesting as Mr Banger has been consistently associated with the Latvian Proxies (under his alleged Latvian name of Daniels Bangers – see https://www.reportingproject.net/proxy/ru/behind-the-proxies) as indeed has Fynel which features in the same article. The article also contains a link to Fynel’s Cypriot Company Registry details listing a Danny Banger along with, among others, Stan Gorin and Erik Vanagels, famed laundromat proxies in their own right.
Mr Banger resigned in 2012 to be replaced by Youngsam Kim who hails from South Korea. He was followed by Fynel who resigned in 2013. They were replaced by Trendmax Inc of Dominica who, in turn also resigned alongside Starwell International, in 2017. They were replaced by the sole and current director, Hema Noronha, a lady from India.
So that’s six directors, five resignations and all from different countries. Nothing to worry about there, then. But what’s that got to do with six hundred pounds?
Bear with me while we take a look at their accounts. Here they are for 2014 and 2015:
You will notice that the overall assets have increased by £593. Close!
An here’s their accounts for 2016
This time they’ve gone up by £640. Close again but still no cigar (although it already looks a bit odd to me).
An here’s 2017:
A slightly different layout and… bingo, a £600 increase.
Now I guess you’re thinking, at this point, this is all very interesting but potentially, purely coincidental. And you’d be right to be cautious. So let’s carry on with the journey (and in case you were wondering, despite the allure of that name, I could find no trace of them on the internet carrying on any sort of commercial activity – and definitely no £600 holidays).
Let’s turn our attention now to SPS Industries Limited. It was incorporated even earlier than MT Tourism Direct Ltd but managed with one fewer directors. They also started with Fynel and Starwell but this time accompanied by Juri Vitman (who, to be fair, is also mentioned in the same article as quoted above – under his Latvian name of Juris Vitmanis). They resigned at various times, to be replaced for a while by Juchun Lee, another South Korean and also ended up with Hema Noronha as their sole director. So far, so similar. But what about their accounts?
Here we go then.
2014 and 2015:
Increase is £594.
Increase is £600.
Increase is £602.
Seeing the pattern yet?
Next up is Fortrans Export Ltd. We’re back to 2010 for incorporation and six directors with five resignations. This time it was Trendmax, Fynel, Danny Banger, Juchun Lee, Starwell and Hema Noronha (it’s a bit like the old Woolworth’s pick n mix counter).
Are you ready to see their accounts?
Increase of £596.
And at the risk of boring you, let’s do one more.
I give you Optima Union Ltd. They go back to June 2006 and have had a fairly spectacular 11 directors. The were, Trendmax, Transhold Corporation, Graceway (twice), Neil Young, Juri Vitman, Summerglen, Hema Noronha, Juchun Lee, Starwell International and Bonita LLC. In total they represent Oklahoma, USA; Derry, Northern Ireland; Charlestown, Nevis; Seoul, South Korea, Chikmagalur, India; Dublin, Ireland; Bristol, England, Wanchai, Hong Kong; and Roseau Valley, Dominica. Wow!
And the accounts?
Increase of £594
What! What happened to the £5084 from 2017?
And I could go on. I’ve got a spreadsheet on my drive at home (of course) which currently lists another 65 or so that fall into the same pattern and, to be honest, I’ve hardly scratched the surface.
But what on earth is going on?
Honestly I don’t know but here are three, quite different guesses.
- These are shelf companies which are having accounts returned each year simply to build up a profile to make them credit worthy (although it is still an offence to knowingly file false accounts.
- It just so happens that all these different companies really are managing to increase their shareholders’ funds by about (or exactly) £600 each year
- The filings are being performed by proxies who either don’t know or are not allowed to know, exactly how much these companies really are turning over each year.
I have no idea if any of those is even remotely correct.
So please allow me one more example.
The (now dissolved) Bellmax Management Ltd. Incorporated in 2012 and dissolved in 2018 it has had a much more modest four officers. Youngsam Kim, Eurointer AG, Bridgepoint AG and Hema Noronha.
And their accounts?
I’m sure you’ve got the picture by now. So why this one as well?
Because according to the website for a company called Lonati (who make industrial knitting machines) their agent covering Azerbaijan is none other than Bellmax Management Ltd. See: http://tst.lonati.com/en-contacts-agents2.asp?continente=ASIA
Which, at least for this particular company, seems to knock option 1 on the head and significantly calls into doubt option 2 (although it doesn’t refute it entirely).
But if any of the companies I’ve written about (and the dozens and dozens of other companies whose information I have gathered) have bank accounts anywhere in the world, you’d have to hope that the bank was looking at these filings closely and asking the right questions.
After all, for the price of a holiday, or a camera, or a month’s rent, it’s got to be worth the effort.