The Long Read: Cozumel Estates Limited a British Virgin Island Company.
After more than a 7,000 mile journey and a little over 30 hours in the air to visit the British Virgin Islands (a known offshore tax haven) we can reveal a little more about Cozumel Estates Limited. This is the offshore company which has signed not one, but two collaboration agreements with Shepway District Council regarding the development of Otterpool Park. Both parties wish to build up to 10,000 homes across a 750 hectare site.
Cozumel Estates Ltd is a company wholly owned by the Reuben Brothers (pictured). However, it is one of their trusted lieutenants, Alexander Bushaev, who is a director, but not the owner. This is identical to Michael Stainer’s position at The Grand
So what have we learnt about Cozumel Estates Ltd on our trip to the British Virgin Islands. Well, the company was incorporated on the 31st May 2002. The registered office and agent were the Overseas Management Company Trust (B.V.I), part of the OMC Group. The Address, P.O. Box 3152 Road Town, Tortola, BVI. Both the Overseas Management Company Trust (B.V.I) and the address turn up in the Panama Papers
The authorised capital of the company was $50,000 dollars. The 2002 Memorandum & Articles of Association allowed for bearer shares. A bearer share (example pictured) is a document that entitles the holder of the document rights of ownership or title to the underlying property, such as shares or bonds. Bearer shares differ from normal registered shares, in that no record is kept of who owns the underlying property, or of the transactions involving transfer of ownership. Whoever physically holds the bearer document is assumed to be the owner of the property. This is useful for investors and corporate officers who wish to retain anonymity, but ownership (or legal entitlement) is extremely difficult to establish in event of loss or theft.
So put simply, whoever holds the bearer share/s in their hand is the owner of the company.
But we digress. The signature for the Overseas Management Company Trust (B.V.I) was a one Angie Yee and the witness to the signature was a Shirley Todman, both giving the address mentioned above.
The Memorandum & Articles of Association allowed the director/s to exercise its option to submit for registration by the registrar and of the following registers:
Register of Directors
Register of Mortgages & Charges
Do you think the Directors by resolution have opted to exercise these options, so placing the information in the public domain? No they have not as far as we can tell.
On the 05/12/2006 a change of registered office and agent was made and on the 01/01/2007 Patton (pictured) Moreno & Asvat (pictured) (BVI) Ltd became the new
agent. Their address, is given as 2nd Floor, O’Neal Marketing Associates Building, P.O.Box 3174 Wickham’s Cay II, Road Town, Tortola BVI. They remain the agents for Cozumel Estates Limited. Again the address turns up in the Panama Papers.
On the 11/10/2007 amendments to the Memorandum and/or Articles of Association were made.
Now going back to Mr Bushaev, one of the trusted lieutenants of the Reuben Brothers, and the man who signed the collaboration agreement, shows up in a company called Warley Associates S.A. registered in Panama. Again he is a director of this Panamanian company according to Open Corporates. The Registered agent is Patton Moreno & Asvat, surprise, suprise. Other companies Alexander Bushaev holds or has held positions in include:
Duelguide Properties BV (Gemeente, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Castellaneta BV (Gemeente, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Lake Superior Ltd (formerly Trans-World (Aluminium) Ltd ) Westminster UK
GS (NA) Company NV (Willemstad, Curacao)
Mr Bushaev also turns up in the Panama Papers not once, not twice, but three times. Should we be surprised?
Alexander Bushaev probably sits in more offshore companies as a director and can be contacted in Switzerland, where he gives his address as the Reuben Brothers S.A., 9 Place du Molard, 1204 Geneva. But as we said he is a trusted lieutenant of the Reuben Brothers.
In 2000, the Reuben Brothers gave an interview to Fortune Magazine. During the course of that interview, David Reuben admitted that their company Trans-World (mentioned above) “had paid bribes to journalists” and went on to describe how, in many other cases, “to legitimise bribes, companies were created and invoices sent for commissions or transactions.” He describes these and other matters as “warts“.
In 2004 the Reuben Brothers, were to set to go to court against Fortune Magazine regarding the matters mentioned in the 2000 interview, but the matter was settled “out of court“
So Cozumel Estates Limited a BVI company who not even HMRC could get information on until June 2017, signed a collaboration agreement with Shepway District Council on Sept 8th 2016.
So how could SDC do any Money Laundering checks?
If it was not possible for HMRC, how could it have been possible for SDC?
How much due diligence did SDC do on the Reuben Brothers given that David Reuben admitted to paying bribes?
The Reuben Brothers concluded that going to MIPIM in Cannes “was something worth pursuing“. These are the men that SDC have climbed into bed with regards the development of Otterpool Park. A development that Cllr David Drury Monk lied about from the very beginning.
As we said a long time ago, the Reuben Brothers are not ones for investing in a pig in a poke.
This is the land Cozumel Estates Ltd owns outright across the 700 hectare site so far (see below). No doubt they may well have agreements with landowners to purchase more land, but they will be revealed in time, as the information becomes available on the Land Registry.
So there you have it. We do know more, but for now, that’s all we can impart until further investigations have been completed.
Finally, as a parting gift we can share with you, Cozumel Estates Ltd Memorandum & Articles of Association 2002.
The Shepwayvox Team
There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any persons, companies or other entities included in this blog post have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly, unless found so by a court of law.
Did you meet any SDC Counciliars loitering in dark corners while you were there?
Excellent bit of investigation! Who knows where this will end up. Pity the main media are too scared/compliant to fill in the gaps. Keep up the excellent work.
I hope that all the “spivs” hiding in tax havens like the BVI, Cayman Islands and others places which have been smashed up by the recent hurricanes are making generous donations towards the recovery of their populations..
Confirms my fears that SDC have got into bed with spivs and offshore ******