Saturday, June 25, 2022

"Jersey Tax Shelter Leak Exposes Wall Street Trading Activities of Ghislaine Maxwell’s Family"

From the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, June 17:

Leaked documents show how Kevin and Ian Maxwell, brothers of disgraced heiress Ghislaine, used a Jersey trust to hide their business activities and finances.  

Key Findings
  • Details of the transactions were hidden in a trove of files from inside a now-defunct trust from the island of Jersey, whose former representatives have since faced sanctions and litigation.
  • Documents from the files suggest a trust that appears to have been working on behalf of Kevin and Ian Maxwell engaged in suspicious trading activities in public companies and secret stock deals, and may have committed securities violations that could have hurt public investors.
  • Meanwhile, millions of dollars moved through questionable related-party transactions, veiled by offshore companies.
  • Experts said many of the transactions outlined in the leaked files have red flags.
  • When contacted, the Maxwell brothers said they had no “unaided recollection” of the trust.

Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial and conviction for trafficking minors to pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein brought her murky finances into the public light, raising fresh questions about her family’s past and the true source of the Maxwells’ sprawling wealth.

A new joint investigation by OCCRP and the Miami Herald examines a trove of documents from an offshore trust that exposes how at least two Maxwell family members and their longtime associates put their fortune into a complex offshore corporate and trust network, likely beyond the reach of creditors and legal adversaries.

The investigation, based on documents from the island of Jersey, a U.K. Crown tax haven, shows evidence of questionable trading activities in publicly listed U.S. companies, secret stock deals, and possible securities violations, while millions of dollars in payments moved through offshore companies to certain members of the Maxwell family.

Reporters found records of secret stock transactions by Kevin and Ian Maxwell while Kevin was the chairman of a U.S. publicly traded company; related-party transactions that may have enriched the Maxwells, but went unreported to the investing public; and the hiding and amassing of major stock holdings by the Maxwell brothers, who share a history of fraud accusations and bankruptcy. These transactions, some of which may have hurt public investors, have never before been reported.

David Leal-Bennett, a U.K. banker to the Maxwells and their companies in the 1990s, alleges the family frequently traded in the markets while grappling with debt, but at the time he did not believe the trades were wrongful. “We saw a lot of shenanigans with shares moving around,” he said. “I could see what they were doing. I told Kevin, ‘You are playing the markets. We do not condone this. You’re going to have to make a choice.’”

The Maxwells are no ordinary British family. Their financial escapades and bankruptcy proceedings have been splashed across the pages of English newspapers for five decades, their marriages and divorces the stuff of national gossip....