Over the weekend the international media was in turmoil after a huge leak of confidential documents has revealed how the rich and powerful use tax havens to hide their wealth. Eleven million documents were leaked from one of the world's most secretive companies, Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. The documents show how Mossack Fonseca has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax.
In these documents it is speculated that that Belize Corporation Services (BCS), a subsidiary of Ashcroft’s BCB Holdings, which also owns the Belize Bank Ltd. and Belize Bank International Ltd., began using Mossack Fonseca to provide shell corporations for its clients in 2006. The documents went on to say that the Belize Bank International established a new company whose owners were the Panama firm’s founders, Jurgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca, along with partner Christopher Zollinger. The new firm was called M.F. & Co. (Belize) Limited and cooperated with BCS in creating companies and acting as registered agents in Belize.
This is an an implication which Lord Michael Ashcroft, the billionaire Belizean investor, has denied. Ashcroft, through a spokesman, said the allegations are entirely false saying, and we quote “These allegations are completely untrue, and the events as described never happened. The records upon which you claim to rely for those allegations either do not exist or have been falsified,” End quote.
But what do these allegations really signify for the Belizean Banking System? After just recently, Belize’s banking sector received a major blow after the industry’s de-risking and correspondent banking crisis; this most recent allegation will greatly affect Belize as it tries to recover from the adverse effects “de-risking’ has had on our economy.
Other documents leaked in the ‘Panama Papers’ also further implicate football superstar Lionel Messi and his father, who are currently on indictment in Spain, of laundering money through shell companies in Belize.
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