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Exposed: Offshore Company Facilitated Concealed Entities for Putin's Inner Circle

An offshore company has been uncovered for its involvement in facilitating the creation of concealed entities by Vladimir Putin's inner circle, shedding light on the exploitation of legal loopholes to maintain anonymity. The revelation comes as a result of an extensive investigation that has disclosed over 900 UK partnerships established by Alpha Consulting, a company that strategically leveraged a legal gap to obscure the actual owners behind these businesses. This report, originally from BBC News, reveals that these partnerships were used for various activities, including operating a sanctions-evading oil tanker and engaging in criminal pursuits.

Exposed: Offshore Company Facilitated Concealed Entities for Putin's Inner Circle

The investigation was a collaborative effort between BBC News, Finance Uncovered, and Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation, and it involved a deep dive into internal Alpha documents and thousands of company records. This meticulous analysis led to the identification of some of the individuals who clandestinely profited from the services provided by the offshore firm, which had its base in the Indian Ocean.


In addition to serving members of Vladimir Putin's inner circle, Alpha Consulting effectively functioned as a hub for secrecy, taking advantage of a glaring loophole in UK law. Some of the partnerships it facilitated have been implicated in alleged fraud and the operation of illegal essay mills. Furthermore, one individual associated with these entities stands accused of interfering in a foreign election.

COMPANY FORMATION &   DOMICILATION SERVICES

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the late head of the Wagner Group, also made use of Alpha's services. Notably, in 2019, the United States imposed sanctions on Beratex Group Ltd, alleging that it had been concealing the ownership of Prigozhin's private jet and yacht through a front company. The Pandora Papers investigation of 2021 unveiled Alpha's role in setting up Beratex in Seychelles, with leaked documents obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists revealing Prigozhin's elderly mother-in-law as the hidden beneficial owner.


In response to these revelations, Alpha Group has contended that it was "never involved in any business activity" with Beratex. Among Alpha's clientele was Leonid Reiman, a close friend and associate of President Putin, who had previously been found guilty of accepting corrupt payments from a company during his tenure as Russia's communications minister in 2006.


Graham Barrow, an expert in Anti-Money Laundering (AML), emphasized that this situation is not merely an oversight. He underscored that failing to disclose associations with politically exposed individuals constitutes a violation of rules.


Despite the exposure of these activities and the exploitation of legal gaps, the UK government has yet to expand regulations mandating companies to disclose "persons of significant control" to encompass all limited partnerships. The implications of this situation continue to raise concerns about the efficacy of existing regulations and the necessity for stricter transparency measures in the UK.


Kevin Hollinrake, a junior business minister, downplayed concerns regarding the existing loophole in a parliamentary setting, arguing that limited partnerships are incapable of owning property or assets in their own name. Nonetheless, the revelations concerning Alpha Consulting's operations underscore the importance of addressing potential regulatory deficiencies and ensuring greater transparency in the UK's business landscape.

By fLEXI tEAM


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