Before we begin our trip down Dunstall Lane, St Mary’s Bay,, we want to explain briefly and broadly what a “Tax haven” is. So we have best left that to Nicholas Shaxton, Author of Treasure Islands to summarise.
They don’t just offer an escape from tax
They offer secrecy, in various forms, combined with varying degrees of refusal to co-operate with other jurisdictions in exchanging information.
Another common marker for tax havens is very low or zero taxes
But the most important feature of a tax haven – and it is a defining one – is that local politics is captured by financial services interests (or sometimes criminals, and sometimes both), and meaningful opposition to the offshore business model has been eliminated. Just think Malta (our thoughts go out to her family & friends)
PINNACLE_UNIVERSAL_LIMITED was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands a known tax haven, on the 31st Jan 2000. On the 29th June 2004, Pinnacle Universal Limited acquired the land at the end of Dunstall Lane, St Mary’s Bay. The price they paid for the land according to Land Registry documents was £1,814,920.
The site was locally known as Golden Sands Holiday Camp for most of its time. The Holiday Camp started in 1935 and became a part of Maddiesons group in the 50’s and then as an indepedent/Hoseasons by the 1980’s.
The last company to run the site was Renunion Leisure Homes Ltd and reopened in 1990.
Pinnacle Universal Limited (incorporated in the British Virgin Islands) also was registered at 6 Rue Adolphe Fishcer street, Luxembourg. The address – not the company – appears in the Panama Papers not once, but twice. Pinnacle had a C/O address in London which was Maitland & Co, 5th Floor, 44-48 Dover Street London. W15 4NY.
At the time Pinnacle Universal Limited purchased the land; where they will seek to build 73 homes, six years later, the Cllrs for the Dymchurch & St Mary’s Bay ward were Terry Preston LD, elected with 1,135 votes, Mrs Julia White LD, elected with 913 votes and Ms Shirley Maile LD elected with 880 votes.
On the 3rd Sept 2010, Pinnacle Universal Limited made a planning application via their agent Turley Associates, Savile Row London to build 73 homes on the land they had purchased at the former St Mary’s Bay Holiday Camp at the far end of Dunstall Lane. Planning Application Y10/0746/SH came before the planning committee on 25th Jan 2011. A number of local residents were against the application. However, Mr L.Dignan spoke on behalf of some of the residents in favour of the development. And of course the agent spoke on behalf of the application. At planning Y10/0746/SH was proposed by Cllr Clive Goddard (pictured) and seconded by Cllr Dick Pascoe.(pictured) The vote was 12 for 1 abstention and 1 against the application.
Dunstall Lane at the time planning permission, was an unadopted road. Briefly, a private or unadopted road is by definition a highway not maintainable at public expense. Responsibility for the cost of maintaining a unadopted road rests with the frontagers (the owners of properties with frontages on such roads). To make it an adopted road Shepway District Council set about trying to discover who the owner/s of Dunstall Lane were. After a lengthy search and no owner in sight, Dunstall Lane was acquired by Shepway District Council under the District Council of Shepway (Land at Dunstall Lane, St Mary;s Bay) Compulsory Purchase Order 2011
According to the Land Registry, the District Council of Shepway, by way of a vesting declaration dated 13 Sept 2012 executed pursuant to the provisions of the Compulsory Purchase (Vesting Declarations) Act 1918, acquired Dunstall Lane on the 21st Oct 2012; which is the valuation date. SDC paid a symbolic £1 compensation package as the owner of the lane was never identified. The Lane has an area of 2,070 m2 and a length of 152 metres Four months later, SDC transferred the land title on the 8th Feb 2013. The transfer was made between:
The District Council of Shepway and Pinnacle Universal Limited for under £100,000 according to Land Registry documents. The exact amount is not known.
At the time Pinnacle Universal Limited owned the land and purchased the lane; where some of the 73 homes have been built, the Cllrs for the Dymchurch & St Mary’s Bay ward were, Alan Clifton-Holt Con, elected with 985 votes; Russell Tillson Con, elected with 846 votes and Olwyn Williams Con elected with 799 votes.
Now in 2012/13, HMRC could do no checks regarding the sources of the money received. Nor could they discover who the directors or Shareholders were. So if HMRC could not discover then, how could SDC?
So who are Pinnacle Universal Limited? What is known about them? As we said the company was incorporated on the 31st Jan 2000. Their agent is Midocean Management & Trust Services BVI Limited; 9 Columbus Centre; Road Town; Tortola BVI. The address not the company appears in the Panama Papers.The person who signed the Memorandum & Articles of Association was Lynelle Gumbs,(SeniorPrivate Client Administrator Corporate)/Compliance officer (pictured). Lynelle works for the Maitland who just happen to have been the C/O address Pinnacle Universal Limited gave in London, when they purchased the land on the 29th June 2004.
So what’s our point? If an offshore company such as Pinnacle Universal Limited can build 73 homes, at the end of Dunstall Lane, St Mary’s Bay, with the help of Shepway District Council, Thakem Client, John Hall Associates, CMB Management Services and Guy Holloway Architects on a flood plain 3A area – then we see no feasible reason which might prevent Eurydome S.A.R.L. based in Luxembourg a known tax haven and the owners of New Beach Holiday Park Dymchurch from potentially building homes there. As we said, it is feasible, but whether or not it will happen, only time will tell.
The Shepwayvox Team.
As an aside, our own Cllr Stuart Peall (pictured), SDC Cabinet Member for the Environment, works for a company owned by an Offshore company in the Cayman Islands.
There are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts. We do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in this blogpost have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly.