Kirstie Alley’s Warning in 2021

Kirstie Alley addressed her Scientology faith on Twitter. (Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)Kirstie Alley addressed her Scientology faith on Twitter. (Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)

This is a post I accidentally came across on my blog from 2021. A warning from Kirstie Alley warning of the dangers of pedophilia in Hollywood. She is no longer with us as she supposedly was diagnosed with colon cancer just before she passed.

I think it’s interesting that she was put to cremated and put to rest by the Scientology church. The church claims she was still very active in the Scientology community but it was my understanding that she had split from them in the past. I’m not sure which is true.

I think it’s very interesting that just last year she had taken on the mission of exposing the truth about Hollywood pedophiles and that there are many in Hollywood that are very committed to Scientology. Was she on to something? Did the church of Scientology and/or the Hollywood elites feel the need to silence her voice in order for their secrets to remain hidden?

We may never know however it would only be reasonable to assume that Kirstie coming forward and speaking the truth out about the dark side of Hollywood was not looked on kindly.

Let me be clear… I am in no way accusing anyone of wrongdoing. This was only an observation. Something instantly got my attention and the question immediately came to mind when I came across the article I had posted last year. I actually had completely forgotten about it.

Since I am an advocate and somewhat involved in the sex exploitation and trafficking of children these probabilities are in the forefront of my mind. My instincts kick in automatically and my knowledge tells me that it is plausible that someone might have had a motive to shut her up. Let’s face it, there are some very ugly things that happen in this world and murder for hire in order to silence someone is a common practice in certain situations amongst certain people/groups, etc. It is also likely that her death was exactly like they claim, caused by colon cancer. However, No one will ever know for sure because the church of Scientology cremated her therefore no autopsy is possible. Ironic isn’t it?

Below is the link to the blog post on Kirstie Alley’s article if you are interested in reading it.

Feel free to give feedback and your thoughts in the comments. I’m curious about your thoughts and if anyone has information I might not be aware of.

LINK to the blog post on Kirstie Alley’s article

thetrailblazingpatriot.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/actress-kirstie-alley-warns-hollywood-is-putting-society-on-a-path-to-accept-pedophilia-protect-your-children/

SEC Chairman Gensler Scrubbed Evidence Of Clinton, Soros And Pelosi Meetings: FOIA Lawsuit

BY TYLER DURDEN

TUESDAY, DEC 13, 2022 – 04:44 AM

Sunlight is the best disinfectant – unless you’re Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler – who scrubbed evidence of a meeting with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from his calendar, along with key details of a meeting with Billionaire leftist-operative George Soros.

He also concealed September 21 meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Bill Clinton White House official-turned-DC consultant, Minyon Moore.


Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs executive, Obama administration official, Clinton’s 2016 campaign CFO, and FTX associate, essentially had two calendars. His public calendar showed that on Aug. 7, 2021, he only had a staff meeting, while his private calendar lists a meeting with Hillary ClintonFox News reports.

Thirteen days later on Aug. 20, 2021, Gensler’s public calendar does list a meeting with Soros, but the agenda was hidden. His private calendar reveals that the meeting was held to discuss an upcoming WSJ op-ed Soros was planning to write in which he slammed BlackRock for launching investment products for Chinese customers, while also applauding the company’s ESG policies.

Gensler’s private calendar revealing the discrepancies was obtained by the watchdog group Energy Policy Advocates and shared with Fox News Digital. The group was only able to obtain the internal records after filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the SEC.

In recent days, around the time Fox News Digital contacted the SEC, the agency updated Gensler’s public calendar to include his meeting with Clinton in August 2021. As recently as Wednesday the public calendar didn’t include the meeting, and archived copies of the webpage from April also list just a meeting with staff. -Fox News

When contacted for comment, the SEC initially lied – saying that the Clinton meeting was visible on Gensler’s public calendar. When confronted with screenshots to the contrary, the spokesperson said that the agency updates calendars “from time to time” when inaccuracies are discovered (by watchdog groups?). 

Gensler also concealed several September 2021 meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Minyon Moore – both of which have been now updated on Gensler’s public calendar.

Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi

“That even George Soros is calling out progressive darling BlackRock for craven blundering is striking — even if it did carry the requisite, tribal praise for BlackRock’s truly damaging ‘ESG’ (environmental, social and governance) campaigning to impose their shared ‘climate’ agenda on the U.S., an agenda also much to China’s delight,” said Chris Horner, a lawyer representing Energy Policy Advocates. “That it appears Soros received counsel from Gary Gensler on the mega-donor’s call for more SEC powers as a result is truly astonishing.”

This gives further credence to the widespread concern that Gensler is deeply politicizing a supposedly independent commission,” he continued. “He may have been Hillary Clinton’s ‘Progressive Beacon’ not long ago, but Gary Gensler is now the SEC chairman, and his calendar indicates he knew the purpose of the meeting. It seems important to know whose idea this was, why, what was said arranging it and through what channel.”

According to the SEC spokesperson, Gensler has never asked anyone to ‘draft or submit’ an op-ed, but declined to comment on the meeting with Soros.

Gensler has faced heavy criticism from business groups and Republican lawmakers for pushing progressive policies, including a climate disclosure rule that would require publicly traded companies to share carbon emissions data and other climate information.

Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., two top GOP members on the House Financial Services Committee, introduced legislation this month that would limit the SEC’s ability to require such climate disclosures. -Fox News

“That this and Gensler’s consultation with Hillary were scrubbed from the public version of his calendar is frankly the least surprising aspect of this,” Horner continued. “The SEC first told Energy Policy Advocates that the publicly posted calendars were all they would get.”

“Energy Policy Advocates challenged that, pointing out that these sanitized versions, typically posted months after the fact, were certainly not produced from memory and the group wanted the originals.Here you see the reason for the scrubbing these internal versions receive.

Source:

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/sec-chairman-gensler-scrubbed-evidence-clinton-soros-and-pelosi-meetings-foia-lawsuit

Ukraine Requests Internationally Banned Cluster Munitions From US

Ukraine Requests Internationally Banned Cluster Munitions From US

United Nations: Russia and Ukraine have both used cluster munitions in the war, with Ukraine using them several times. The weapons have been mostly used in populated areas. Photo | Donald Standeford.

By Donald Standeford, SJ Founder/Publisher 
December 14, 2022 12:45 am UTC 
Modified: 2022-12-14 12:45 am

WASHINGTON – Although Ukraine has requested that the United States provide them with cluster munitions, the Biden administration says that it is “concerned” over the use of ‘those kinds’ of munitions. The UN says that both Russia and Ukraine have used cluster munitions in the war, mostly in populated areas. 

Although cluster munitions are internationally banned through the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, the United States never officially took part in signing it, and the U.S. Department of Defense has said that cluster munitions provide a ‘vital military capability.

Despite being in favor of using them, the United States hasn’t used the munitions in combat since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, except for a single attack using them in Yemen in 2009, according to the Human Rights Watchorganization.

There have been many reports that Russia has allegedly used cluster munitions during its invasion of Ukraine, and that it has led to a growing number of civilian casualties.

Ukraine Has Already Used Cluster Munitions

According to Multiple Reports, Ukraine has already used cluster munitions in its war with Russia. UN reports also Document cases where Russia has used them. 

A report by the United Nations news agency said, “Ukrainian forces had also reportedly used cluster munitions several times, the group said, which found that the weapons had been mostly used in populated areas.”

It also reported, “Specifically, deployment of cluster munitions in Ukraine have killed 215 civilians and injured 474. The report further indicated a 302 percent increase in victims, since 2020.”

And added, “Jeff Meer, US Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion, in reference to cluster munitions in Ukraine, noted that, “they also damaged healthcare facilities, factories, and homes.”

What Are Cluster Munitions, Or Bombs And Why Are They Banned Internationally?

Cluster munitions are either air-dropped or ground-launched explosives that release (or eject) smaller bombs that eject bomblets designed to kill personnel on the ground, or render vehicles unusable, killing the occupants.

The bomblets get dispersed within a wide area, and some fail to initially explode, causing them to be a hazard to military personnel or civilians in the area long after they are launched, or even after the conflict, or war that they are used in is over.

Due to the fact that they are dispersed over such a wide area, and how long unexploded munitions remain on the ground, they tend to cause a high number of child fatalities.

Why Does Ukraine Want Cluster Munitions?

Ukraine has asked the United States to provide cluster munitions in order to “turn the tables” on Russia. It is seeking 155-mm dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICMs) filled with M42 and M46 dual-purpose grenades.

M42 and M46 dual-purpose grenades are capable of punching through 2.5-inch thick armor and then fragmenting and taking out personnel in the attack area.

Department of Defense Law of War Manual

Link to manual 👇

DOD LAW OF WAR MANUAL

https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/DoD%20Law%20of%20War%20Manual%20-%20June%202015%20Updated%20Dec%202016.pdf?ver=2016-12-13-172036-190

Read the manual here.

https://dod.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/DoD%20Law%20of%20War%20Manual%20-%20June%202015%20Updated%20Dec%202016.pdf?ver=2016-12-13-172036-190

1776 NATION Document Links

1776 NATION Document Links

Document Links

NEW!!! – Military Occupancy 2016 by Derek Johnson

The Military & Constitution Regulated Inauguration – President Trump by Derek Johnson

Covert Operation by Derek Johnson

What’s REALLY Happening in Ukraine by Derek Johnson

Optics 101 by Derek Johnson

Hindsight is 2020 by Derek Johnson

Military Aircraft Operations & Optics by Derek Johnson

Aircraft Operations Continued – Aug 2022 to Present Day by Derek Johnson

WEBSITES:

SOCIAL NETWORKS:

Source : https://thedocuments.info/

The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room

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Soros-Funded Nonprofit Gets $12 Mil from U.S. to Empower Workers in Latin America

www.judicialwatch.org/us-to-empower-workers-in-latin-america/

Soros’ Open Society… He’s a problem! Because of his continual funding and backing the far left progressive agenda and push for the NWO, he is dictating where American tax dollars are going! Why us this even allowed? And the Biden administration just thinks it is perfectly acceptable to give his his Open Society Foundations 12 MILLION DOLLARS OF AMERICAN TAX DOLLARS TO the SOLIDARITY CENTER, the country’s largest union conglomerate, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO).

The Biden administration is giving a nonprofit partially funded by leftwing billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Foundations (OSF) $12 million to strengthen labor rights and empower workers in three Latin American countries. The U.S. taxpayer dollars will go to the Solidarity Center, a Washington D.C.-based group closely allied with OSF as well as the country’s largest union conglomerate, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). The Solidarity Center’s mission is to help workers across the globe fight discrimination, exploitation and systems that entrench poverty. It claims to accomplish this by empowering workers to raise their voice for dignity on the job, justice in their communities and greater equality in the global economy.

The group will use the $12 million to “strengthen democratic, independent workers’ organizations in Brazil, Colombia and Peru,” according to the Department of Labor (DOL) announcement issued this week. The project will bolster unions and advocate for the full and free exercise of collective bargaining rights and freedom of association, the agency writes, adding that the focus will be on underserved communities and advancing gender and racial equity. Specifically, the American taxpayer dollars will support activities that improve respect for the rights of Brazil’s Afro-Brazilian, migrant, women and LGBTQI+ workers in the digital platform economy and the manufacturing sector. In Colombia, the focus will be on increasing the capacity of women, migrants, and indigenous people to organize and advocate for workers’ rights. In Peru, the goal is to improve access to mechanisms for labor rights compliance in the mining and agriculture sectors, particularly for indigenous and migrant workers.

The Solidarity Center, which claims to be the largest U.S.-based international worker rights organization, also operates in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Most of its funding comes from Uncle Sam, but private groups like OSF also contribute generously. In 2020, the Solidarity Center received nearly $39 million in federal awards, according to its latest annual report. In 2019, the center got over $36 million from the U.S. government. Additionally, the group gets millions annually in “other revenues” that are not broken down. However, records obtained by Judicial Watch show that the OSF has given a lot of money to the Solidarity Center in the last few years. In 2020, the latest available reporting period, OSF gave the Solidarity Center $980,000. In 2019 the center received $785,000 from OSF and in 2018 it got $400,000 from the Soros nonprofit that has dedicated billions of dollars to leftist causes around the world. Soros’s global foundation explains that the grants are for economic equity and justice, access to justice for migrant workers in the U.S., to improve labor rights in Mexico and Central America, and the empowerment of vulnerable workers in the domestic and agricultural sectors in the Middle East.

The U.S. government has long funded Soros groups as well as those with close ties to them like the Solidarity Center. Judicial Watch has reported on it for years and obtained records that show the disturbing reality of American taxpayers financing Soros’s leftwing plots abroad. This includes uncovering documents showing State Department funding of Soros nonprofits in Albania to attack traditional, pro-American groups and policies; U.S. government funding of Soros’s radical globalist agenda in Guatemala , Colombia, Romania and Macedonia. The cash usually flows through the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Details of the financial and staffing nexus between OSF and the U.S. government are available in a Judicial Watch investigative report. Domestically Soros groups have pushed a radical agenda that includes promoting an open border with Mexico, fomenting racial disharmony by funding anti-capitalist black separationist organizations, financing the Black Lives Matter movement and other groups involved in the Ferguson Missouri riots, weakening the integrity of the nation’s electoral systems, opposing U.S. counterterrorism efforts and eroding 2nd Amendment protections.

Inside the Secretive World of Irish Limited Partnerships

Inside the Secretive World of Irish Limited Partnerships

In early June 2019, the Bitsane cryptocurrency platform was a hive of activity.

According to CoinMarketCap, a price-tracking website for crypto-assets, it had a trading volume worth $7 million a day. Bitsane itself boasted of users in over 200 countries.

Within a few weeks, however, the platform, its social media sites and the deposits of close to 250,000 registered users had vanished.

Bitsane customers took to social media, first to question whether there was a temporary issue, then to panic about their deposits, then to angrily compare losses.

Some had invested tens of thousands of dollars into a variety of cryptocurrencies that were offered on the platform.

But from one day to the next, all that was gone.

“I just want to see these bastards in jail,” read a post on one Telegram channel where victims gathered to discuss their experiences.

Where the money went remains a mystery, as does the true identity of who was behind Bitsane.

All that remains are traces of the firm in company forms and documents.

Bitsane was registered in Ireland in 2016, at an address in central Dublin. However, it never had an office there, at least not in the physical sense. The site appears to have been little more than a mailing address that hundreds of other business ventures with no apparent link to Ireland also used.

Documents from Ireland’s Companies Registration Office (CRO) detail that Bitsane’s general partner was an individual who provided a contact address in Lithuania. Its limited partner was a Hong Kong based company whose sole shareholder was based in Belarus. Bitsane’s formation documents, meanwhile, were presented by a London-based agent that specialises in setting up and registering corporate structures.

This same firm has set up dozens of other entities in recent years which, like Bitsane, are Irish Limited Partnerships (ILPs) – a type of corporate vehicle exclusive to Ireland.

While many of the ILPs registered by this formation agent – and others reviewed by Bellingcat with reporting partner The Sunday Times – may be legitimate businesses, Bitsane was not.

Yet finding out who its true owners are, and thus the individuals behind the operation, is extremely complicated. Any investigation would likely have to traverse multiple jurisdictions including Ireland, the UK, Lithuania, Hong Kong and Belarus. A representative of the formation agent told Bellingcat that they would have responded to all police requests and there is no suggestion that anyone but Bitsane was involved in any illegality. Ireland’s police service, An Garda Síochána, told the Sunday Times there was currently no ongoing investigation into the matter.

An archived screen grab of Bitsane’s website before it disappeared.

Other ILPs can be even more complex, with partners listed as companies based in secrecy jurisdictions – countries where company records are either not kept or are not divulged to the public.

This means that, thanks to the century-old rules that underpin ILPs, the true owner of any venture does not have to be registered or named. Many partners appear to be generically-named businesses based in the likes of Belize or Seychelles, something that experts believe leaves ILPs open to abuse.

The ILP Rush

Bellingcat was able to analyse the true extent  of ILP usage, and the complex structures they often create, by downloading and reviewing thousands of documents from the CRO over the past few months.

What this material shows is that almost 1,000 ILPs with opaque ownership and partners in secrecy jurisdictions have been formed since 2015.

The rate at which ILPs are being formed, meanwhile, has been unprecedented in recent years. Records show that just over 1,000 ILPs were created between the early 1900s and 2014. However, that figure is dwarfed by the 2,400 that were set up between 2015 and 2021, 70% of the total number of ILPs ever created.

This ILP rush was even observed by the CRO itself in 2017 when it noted in its annual report that a record number (676) had been registered.

The documents seen by Bellingcat and The Sunday Times also show that:

  • Hundreds of ILPs were formed by the same agent.
  • More than 1,250 ILPs were registered at just three mailing addresses in Dublin and Cork.
  • The rate at which ILPs were being formed shot up after legislation that was designed to reveal the true owners of Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) was introduced in the UK. Some SLPs were previously reported to be involved in major international scams.
  • One individual based in the Seychelles was a general partner in almost 150 ILPs while a Romanian national was the controlling partner in more than 370 ILPs.
  • In certain cases, ILPs could be found attached to imports and exports both into and out of a variety of countries, but predominantly Russia and Ukraine. No information could be gleaned about their true owners.

According to Declan de Lacy, a restructuring partner with Dublin accountancy firm PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes, ILPs have historically allowed partners to invest in a business while capping their liability to the amount they contributed. They have proven useful for the likes of investment funds, family partnerships and property investments, de Lacy said, with tax only paid by partners on their share of the profits.

However, de Lacy added that ILPs have also become an effective way to set up an entity whose beneficial owner cannot easily be identified. “The partners can be, and often all are, companies from jurisdictions that allow complete anonymity and are regarded as high risk from a compliance perspective,” he said.

Graham Barrow, a UK-based expert on limited partnerships, said those behind ILPs only have to provide “very limited information about who they are, there’s no filing requirements, no verification; it’s just a couple of names on a bit of paper and an address. So that becomes a wonderfully opaque method of hiding ownership and control.”

What Exactly is an Irish Limited Partnership?

ILPs came into existence as part of the United Kingdom’s 1907 Limited Partnerships Act. At this time, Ireland was still a part of the UK.

The same act brought into existence Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs), a corporate vehicle exclusive to Scotland. Bellingcat has previously produced a number of reports concerning the alleged misuse of SLPs after a series of high-profile money laundering schemes came to light.

These include a fraud that was estimated to have illegally extracted US $1 billion from banks in Moldova in 2014. In 2017, two SLPs were used to funnel billions out of Azerbaijan to be spent on luxury goods and to peddle political influence in Europe. SLPs played a major role in the Russian Laundromat scandal, where $20.8 billion was moved out of Russia through a network of banks worldwide.

SLPs, like ILPs, had limited filing requirements and did not require the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) of the partnership – the person who ultimately controls a business – to be named.

SLPs could also be registered to companies in secrecy jurisdictions – adding another layer of opacity to shield the true identity of a company’s owner. In 2016, at least 71% of all new SLP registrations were controlled by companies in secrecy jurisdictions.

New person of significant control (PSC) rules were introduced in the UK in 2017 in an attempt to ensure the true beneficial owners of SLPs would have to be revealed. Further investigations after this legislation was enacted found that the vast majority of beneficial owners of SLPs were based outside in the UK, mostly in Ukraine and Russia.

The number of SLPs registered dropped after legislation that required beneficial owners to be named was passed.

SLP numbers soon began to dwindle.

ILPs, however, were not covered by this new legislation (given the Republic of Ireland has now long been independent from the UK) and still offered similar benefits to those originally offered by SLPs. From 2015, their numbers began to increase sharply.

When asked about this rise, a spokesperson for Ireland’s Department for Enterprise, Trade and Employment told The Sunday Times that the reasons for this were not entirely clear but Brexit and a tightening of the UK LP [limited partnership] regime could have been a contributory factor.

Irish Limited Partnership registrations since 2006.

Some of the same formation agents that Bellingcat previously identified setting up SLPs began to register ILPs around this time. Among the most prodigious was LAS Fiduciary, which set up roughly one in five of the nearly 676 newly created ILPs in 2017. Records for LAS Fiduciary reveal that one of its directors was also an officer at the similarly named LAS International (UK). LAS International (UK) was itself the formation agent for 39 ILPs between 2015 and 2021, including Bitsane.

Bellingcat has written about LAS International (UK) previously after it registered 1,632 SLPs over a two year period.

Emailed responses to questions sent by Bellingcat to a contact address on LAS Fiduciary registration documents, and signed off by a Ms Elena Yael Dovzhik (who identified herself as a former director of LAS Fiduciary and LAS International), said that both companies had terminated operations and had filed for voluntary dissolution last year.

Still, she said that all Know Your Customer (KYC) checks had been carried out when they had been operational, that as a formation agent they had never been involved in any of the business activities of their clients and that if a beneficial owner was accused of illegal activity their services were terminated. All beneficial owners were declared when required, she added, and that they have always responded to police investigative queries.

Yet Dovzhik’s emailed comments also stated that: “we are aware that many years ago we filed registration documents for some companies that eventually were accused in unlawful activities, but such information was not available to us prior registration”. It added that “this is a problem of any company formation or filing agents as there is always a certain percentage of potentially unlawful businesses of any type or form”.

As a formation agent, Dovzhik said they could not have expected company owners to have abused ILPs in the way that they did. The same was true for any SLPs that may have been abused, she said, and that they would “never provide any service to a company that was used for unlawful activities”.

LAS International terminated all services to Bitsane when the company became aware of the scam via news reports, Dovzhik said. She added that if there was any police request “we would have provided them with all relevant information that is allowed to be disclosed to certain authorities”.

There is no suggestion that LAS International, LAS Fiduciary or anyone employed at these organisations acted outside the law. The full emailed responses from Dovzhik can be seen at the bottom of this article. Records show that LAS International (UK) has been dissolved.

ILPs From the Seychelles to Belize

The attractiveness of ILPs to individuals or organisations who appear to have no connection to Ireland is clear from the data analysed by Bellingcat and The Sunday Times.

Just under 800 ILPs that were registered during the period monitored by Bellingcat (between 2015 and 2021) had an Irish general partner – making up less than a third of the total formed.

In total, 501 of the ILPs registered in 2017 alone were controlled by general partners based in the Seychelles or Belize. This amounted to 74% of the ILPs registered in 2017.

At that time, both countries were included on an EU tax jurisdiction watchlist, although they have since been removed. General partners of ILPs formed between 2015 and 2021 were also based in other countries with limited reporting requirements such as the British Virgin Islands, Panama and the Cayman Islands.  

While many legitimate businesses may choose to structure themselves in this way and there is nothing wrong with forming a company in this manner, experts say the discretion such setups provide can also be beneficial to those with more nefarious aims.

Barrow said that the aim of money launderers, scammers and international criminals was to build a complex, multi-jurisdictional web that cannot be traced. “You could have an Irish Limited Partnership but it is owned by a couple of Marshall Islands companies, and they bank in the Baltics, and the controllers of those companies might themselves be Panamanian,” he said. That kind of complexity “makes it impossible to do any form of law enforcement.”

John Devitt, chief executive of Transparency International Ireland, said he would be “very surprised” if Irish Limited Partnerships were not being used by international criminals given “they allow for companies registered in jurisdictions with weak rule of law to form the partnerships.”

Illustration (c) Ann Kiernan.

Although Bellingcat was eventually able to identify a disproportionate number of Ukrainian and Russian nationals controlling SLPs in previous investigations, it was not possible to draw such firm conclusions with ILPs given the limited data on beneficial owners currently available. However, some ILPs did appear to be enabling companies to bypass Person of Significant Control (PSC) requirements in the UK.

As many as 51 ILPs were named as PSCs for UK companies, almost all of which were SLPs. All of the 51 Irish partnerships in question had general partners based abroad, either in Bulgaria or Belize.

While this practice is not illegal, it does potentially appear to get around the spirit of ensuring persons of significant interest are detailed for UK companies.

Unlike the UK, Ireland is a European Union member and has transposed the EU’s fifth anti-money laundering directive into law, setting up a register of beneficial ownership for companies.

However, ILPs fall outside the scope of these regulations which only refer to corporate and legal entities that are incorporated. Unless the partners of an ILP are themselves such entities there is no requirement to reveal this information.

The Price of Transparency

Obtaining what data there was for Bellingcat’s previous investigations into SLPs proved to be far easier than gathering the same information for ILPs.

Companies House, which hosts information about businesses in the UK is free to browse and all data held there can be downloaded at no price. The same level of detail in corporate documents for Irish entities must be purchased.

For every document requested, a price of 2.50 Euros ($2.67) was applied, ensuring a further barrier to investigation given thousands of documents were required to conduct a thorough analysis. Bellingcat purchased the formation documents for every ILP registered since the beginning of 2015 – when ILP registrations shot up rapidly – at a cost of 6,000 Euros ($6,300) with funds provided by an Investigative Journalism for Europe grant.

This data was collated to show details of partners, their location and their formation agents.

Bellingcat also searched for the business activities of every partnership, to ascertain whether there were any potential red flags surrounding illicit or suspicious activities.

More than 600 of the roughly 2,400 ILPs registered since 2015 have an online presence of some kind. Some were clearly legitimate businesses, including hedge funds, financial investment ventures and even a sourdough bread business. But questions remained over others.

For example, dozens of those 600 websites contained no clear indication of what the ILPs actual business was. No contact details were displayed other than the address of the registered office, which was often just a mailing address. Some of the sites appeared to be filled out with stock photographs and other generic imagery.

Bellingcat also put the name of each ILP in its database into ImportGenius, a website that tracks international import and export data, yielding a large number of results. The names of ILPs could be found attached to imports and exports to and from a variety of countries, but predominantly Russia and Ukraine.

One company was recorded as having traded with a subsidiary of a state-owned mining company in Russia. A further 71 ILPs appeared to be acting as trade intermediaries for shipments of goods coming out of Russia and Ukraine. Four ILPs formed during a short time period by the same formation agent, meanwhile, shared their name with companies in Russia that operate crude oil tankers.

Again, none of these companies were required to reveal their beneficial owner and no further information could be discovered about them.

Other ILPs included a dating platform that advertised Ukrainian women to foreigners, a Russian app that claims to promote job offers in the modelling field, a Russian “webmodel agency” and a Russian visa service. There is no evidence suggesting any of these companies are engaged in illegal activities.

One individual based in the Seychelles was a partner in close to 150 ILPs. In 2018, one of these ventures was subject of a press release by the Central Bank of Ireland warning that it was an unauthorised investment firm. The formation agent for this ILP was LAS Fiduciary. When asked about this Dovzhik said by email that it operated as a virtual filing agent for international corporate clients such as lawyers and accountants and that it was never involved in any of its former clients’ business activities. It added that it was not aware who identified this client as an unregulated financial agent, nor when this happened, and that it only assisted clients with their formation process and filings.

ILPs for sale

Irish Limited Partnerships in and of themselves also appear to be a lucrative business.

Some were found being advertised on a variety of websites and spreadsheets online. ILPs were advertised in Russian, suggesting they were being targeted at an audience in that country or in the nations of the former Soviet Union where many residents also speak Russian.

A spreadsheet with Russian titles and headings found online advertising ILPs.

The cost of registering an ILP is less than 50 euros, but to buy a partnership from a formation agent off-the-shelf (with an existing track record of operation) the cost can run into hundreds or even thousands of Euros.

A screen grab shows ILPs for sale on a Russian language website.

Authorities in Ireland have no mechanism to control the activities of websites in Russia selling their corporate vehicles.

On some websites, various administrative functions are advertised to assist customers with corporate filings, the provision of registered offices and due diligence filings. It is thus entirely possible that the true beneficial owners of these partnerships will never need to register their name on any document related to the business.

The lack of a need for Irish residency for partners, the advantage of having a company in an EU country and tax advantages are all touted as selling points of ILPs on these websites. The value of using corporate entities as partners is also detailed.

A spokesperson for Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), which oversees the CRO, told The Sunday Times that it was “currently conducting a review of the Limited Partnership Act 1907 and that review will consider the issue of beneficial ownership and how best to ensure transparency”.

It added: “This review is due to conclude shortly, with a view to bringing a General Scheme to Government as soon as possible.”

Without a more robust system of due diligence or a register of beneficial owners for ILPs, however, the threat of another Bitsane-type scam remains.Full Emailed Responses from Elena Dovzhik

Your request was forwarded to us regarding former activities of LAS FIDUCIARY in Republic of Ireland, as all of our companies fully terminated their business activities while ago.

Thank you for your email and an opportunity to have our say in this unpleasant situation with our former clients.

We are not sure who and when identified LAS FIDUCIARY’s client’s activity as “an unauthorised investment firm” as LAS FIDUCIARY only operated as virtual filing agent in the Republic of Ireland, on behalf of international corporate clients (such as International Lawyers and Accountants). We never been involved in any business activities of our former clients and only assisted our clients with their company’s formation process and filings.
While other journalists and investigators are making their assumptions, without full understanding of company formation and-mail forwarding services industry, we would like to clarify that at the sale point of our services we are obliged to collect all KYC information (according to AMLR) and our clients only declare to us their intentional business activities for newly incorporated companies, before their bank accounts are being open and their trading activities start.

All companies had to declare their Beneficial Owners (if applicable) before any filing order was accepted by our representatives.

Yes, we are aware that many years ago we filed registration documents for some companies that eventually were accused in unlawful activities, but such information was not available to us prior registration. This is a problem of any company formation or filing agents as there is always a certain percentage of potentially unlawful businesses of any type or form i.e LTD, LLP, LP, etc.

The popularity of LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS in the UK & Republic of Ireland was explained to us by the low cost of their annual maintenance, as there is not legal requirements for them to file Annual Financial Statement and in most cases absence of Annual Return filing requirement (unlike LTD). But we could not expect that this form of company (LP) will be abused by its owners in unlawful ways.

How the company formation agents can be responsible for this is they do all KYC checks before any trading starts? Please clarify to us any logic behind the accusation for LAS INTERNATIONAL being the formation agents of companies such as BITSANE and defrauding thousands of people? This information came to light after any formation/filing services were provided to this company and any further services were terminated with immediate effect for such clients. We always responded to any police investigative queries with requested KYC information and never supported any unlawful business activities of our former clients.

We had enhanced Due diligence for all international clients and collected all required KYC information. If any of our clients was ever reported to us as being under suspicion of being involved in unlawful activities , their services were terminated with immediate effect , as this is a breach of our Terms & Conditions. Yes, we cooperated with professional intermediaries-resellers (such as Lawyers and Accountants) from worldwide, who requested and purchased our services for their multiple individual clients. Many of them were from Eastern Europe and are considered as “high risk”. The Company/LP/Partnership’s structure is always decided by the client/owner and we never been involved in this decision making process.

Due to negative publicity and abusive use of LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS by international clients we stopped providing this type of entities with any further filing services.

——-
I personally was not approached by anyone in relation to the legal proceedings against this company [Bitsane]. But if there was any police request in relation to this company, we would have provided them with all relevant information that is allowed to be disclosed to certain authorities. We found out about this issue from media publications and terminated any further services with immediate effect.”

All KYC information was obtained by our team before any services were provided to these clients and this company was formed in 2016. Declaration of Beneficial Owner is part of any KYC compliance process (if this was applicable ). According to GDPR we are only allowed to disclose this information to specific authorities.”
Yes, we assisted with filings of incorporation forms for Scottish Limited Partnerships years ago. At that time, we did not expect that this type of company will be abused in such way, as we attributed their popularity to the low annual maintenance cost (absence of annual filing requirements for Limited Partnerships).

Usually, we were notified by a police department on investigation process against some companies that used our mail-forwarding address or sometimes this information comes to us from media publications. As I mentioned before, we terminated our services with immediate effect for such companies as this is breach of our Terms & Conditions. We would never provide any service to a company that was used for unlawful activities, as this was not the original reason declared to us by the clients, prior the company’s formation/filings.”

Due to negative publications and frequent police requests in relation to Limited Partnerships we terminated any further formation filings for this type of companies. LAS International (former name) and LAS Fiduciary filed for voluntary dissolution during last year. This also relates to our partner’s company Company Formation Advice Ltd.

Logan Williams contributed to this story.

Bellingcat is a non-profit and the ability to carry out our work is dependent on the kind support of individual donors. If you would like to support our work, you can do so here. You can also subscribe to our Patreon channel hereSubscribe to our Newsletter and follow us on Twitter here.

The production of this investigation is supported by a grant from the IJ4EU fund. The International Press Institute (IPI), the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and any other partners in the IJ4EU fund are not responsible for the content published and any use made out of it.

Inside the Secretive World of Irish Limited Partnerships

Inside the Secretive World of Irish Limited Partnerships

June 18, 2022

In early June 2019, the Bitsane cryptocurrency platform was a hive of activity.

According to CoinMarketCap, a price-tracking website for crypto-assets, it had a trading volume worth $7 million a day. Bitsane itself boasted of users in over 200 countries.

Within a few weeks, however, the platform, its social media sites and the deposits of close to 250,000 registered users had vanished.

Bitsane customers took to social media, first to question whether there was a temporary issue, then to panic about their deposits, then to angrily compare losses.

Some had invested tens of thousands of dollars into a variety of cryptocurrencies that were offered on the platform.

But from one day to the next, all that was gone.

“I just want to see these bastards in jail,” read a post on one Telegram channel where victims gathered to discuss their experiences.

Where the money went remains a mystery, as does the true identity of who was behind Bitsane.

All that remains are traces of the firm in company forms and documents.

Bitsane was registered in Ireland in 2016, at an address in central Dublin. However, it never had an office there, at least not in the physical sense. The site appears to have been little more than a mailing address that hundreds of other business ventures with no apparent link to Ireland also used.

Documents from Ireland’s Companies Registration Office (CRO) detail that Bitsane’s general partner was an individual who provided a contact address in Lithuania. Its limited partner was a Hong Kong based company whose sole shareholder was based in Belarus. Bitsane’s formation documents, meanwhile, were presented by a London-based agent that specialises in setting up and registering corporate structures.

This same firm has set up dozens of other entities in recent years which, like Bitsane, are Irish Limited Partnerships (ILPs) – a type of corporate vehicle exclusive to Ireland.

While many of the ILPs registered by this formation agent – and others reviewed by Bellingcat with reporting partner The Sunday Times – may be legitimate businesses, Bitsane was not.

Yet finding out who its true owners are, and thus the individuals behind the operation, is extremely complicated. Any investigation would likely have to traverse multiple jurisdictions including Ireland, the UK, Lithuania, Hong Kong and Belarus. A representative of the formation agent told Bellingcat that they would have responded to all police requests and there is no suggestion that anyone but Bitsane was involved in any illegality. Ireland’s police service, An Garda Síochána, told the Sunday Times there was currently no ongoing investigation into the matter.

An archived screen grab of Bitsane’s website before it disappeared.

Other ILPs can be even more complex, with partners listed as companies based in secrecy jurisdictions – countries where company records are either not kept or are not divulged to the public.

This means that, thanks to the century-old rules that underpin ILPs, the true owner of any venture does not have to be registered or named. Many partners appear to be generically-named businesses based in the likes of Belize or Seychelles, something that experts believe leaves ILPs open to abuse.

The ILP Rush

Bellingcat was able to analyse the true extent  of ILP usage, and the complex structures they often create, by downloading and reviewing thousands of documents from the CRO over the past few months.

What this material shows is that almost 1,000 ILPs with opaque ownership and partners in secrecy jurisdictions have been formed since 2015.

The rate at which ILPs are being formed, meanwhile, has been unprecedented in recent years. Records show that just over 1,000 ILPs were created between the early 1900s and 2014. However, that figure is dwarfed by the 2,400 that were set up between 2015 and 2021, 70% of the total number of ILPs ever created.

This ILP rush was even observed by the CRO itself in 2017 when it noted in its annual report that a record number (676) had been registered.

The documents seen by Bellingcat and The Sunday Times also show that:

  • Hundreds of ILPs were formed by the same agent.
  • More than 1,250 ILPs were registered at just three mailing addresses in Dublin and Cork.
  • The rate at which ILPs were being formed shot up after legislation that was designed to reveal the true owners of Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) was introduced in the UK. Some SLPs were previously reported to be involved in major international scams.
  • One individual based in the Seychelles was a general partner in almost 150 ILPs while a Romanian national was the controlling partner in more than 370 ILPs.
  • In certain cases, ILPs could be found attached to imports and exports both into and out of a variety of countries, but predominantly Russia and Ukraine. No information could be gleaned about their true owners.

According to Declan de Lacy, a restructuring partner with Dublin accountancy firm PKF O’Connor, Leddy & Holmes, ILPs have historically allowed partners to invest in a business while capping their liability to the amount they contributed. They have proven useful for the likes of investment funds, family partnerships and property investments, de Lacy said, with tax only paid by partners on their share of the profits.

However, de Lacy added that ILPs have also become an effective way to set up an entity whose beneficial owner cannot easily be identified. “The partners can be, and often all are, companies from jurisdictions that allow complete anonymity and are regarded as high risk from a compliance perspective,” he said.

Graham Barrow, a UK-based expert on limited partnerships, said those behind ILPs only have to provide “very limited information about who they are, there’s no filing requirements, no verification; it’s just a couple of names on a bit of paper and an address. So that becomes a wonderfully opaque method of hiding ownership and control.”

What Exactly is an Irish Limited Partnership?

ILPs came into existence as part of the United Kingdom’s 1907 Limited Partnerships Act. At this time, Ireland was still a part of the UK.

The same act brought into existence Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs), a corporate vehicle exclusive to Scotland. Bellingcat has previously produced a number of reports concerning the alleged misuse of SLPs after a series of high-profile money laundering schemes came to light.

These include a fraud that was estimated to have illegally extracted US $1 billion from banks in Moldova in 2014. In 2017, two SLPs were used to funnel billions out of Azerbaijan to be spent on luxury goods and to peddle political influence in Europe. SLPs played a major role in the Russian Laundromat scandal, where $20.8 billion was moved out of Russia through a network of banks worldwide.

SLPs, like ILPs, had limited filing requirements and did not require the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) of the partnership – the person who ultimately controls a business – to be named.

SLPs could also be registered to companies in secrecy jurisdictions – adding another layer of opacity to shield the true identity of a company’s owner. In 2016, at least 71% of all new SLP registrations were controlled by companies in secrecy jurisdictions.

New person of significant control (PSC) rules were introduced in the UK in 2017 in an attempt to ensure the true beneficial owners of SLPs would have to be revealed. Further investigations after this legislation was enacted found that the vast majority of beneficial owners of SLPs were based outside in the UK, mostly in Ukraine and Russia.

The number of SLPs registered dropped after legislation that required beneficial owners to be named was passed.

SLP numbers soon began to dwindle.

ILPs, however, were not covered by this new legislation (given the Republic of Ireland has now long been independent from the UK) and still offered similar benefits to those originally offered by SLPs. From 2015, their numbers began to increase sharply.

When asked about this rise, a spokesperson for Ireland’s Department for Enterprise, Trade and Employment told The Sunday Times that the reasons for this were not entirely clear but Brexit and a tightening of the UK LP [limited partnership] regime could have been a contributory factor.

Irish Limited Partnership registrations since 2006.

Some of the same formation agents that Bellingcat previously identified setting up SLPs began to register ILPs around this time. Among the most prodigious was LAS Fiduciary, which set up roughly one in five of the nearly 676 newly created ILPs in 2017. Records for LAS Fiduciary reveal that one of its directors was also an officer at the similarly named LAS International (UK). LAS International (UK) was itself the formation agent for 39 ILPs between 2015 and 2021, including Bitsane.

Bellingcat has written about LAS International (UK) previously after it registered 1,632 SLPs over a two year period.

Emailed responses to questions sent by Bellingcat to a contact address on LAS Fiduciary registration documents, and signed off by a Ms Elena Yael Dovzhik (who identified herself as a former director of LAS Fiduciary and LAS International), said that both companies had terminated operations and had filed for voluntary dissolution last year.

Still, she said that all Know Your Customer (KYC) checks had been carried out when they had been operational, that as a formation agent they had never been involved in any of the business activities of their clients and that if a beneficial owner was accused of illegal activity their services were terminated. All beneficial owners were declared when required, she added, and that they have always responded to police investigative queries.

Yet Dovzhik’s emailed comments also stated that: “we are aware that many years ago we filed registration documents for some companies that eventually were accused in unlawful activities, but such information was not available to us prior registration”. It added that “this is a problem of any company formation or filing agents as there is always a certain percentage of potentially unlawful businesses of any type or form”.

As a formation agent, Dovzhik said they could not have expected company owners to have abused ILPs in the way that they did. The same was true for any SLPs that may have been abused, she said, and that they would “never provide any service to a company that was used for unlawful activities”.

LAS International terminated all services to Bitsane when the company became aware of the scam via news reports, Dovzhik said. She added that if there was any police request “we would have provided them with all relevant information that is allowed to be disclosed to certain authorities”.

There is no suggestion that LAS International, LAS Fiduciary or anyone employed at these organisations acted outside the law. The full emailed responses from Dovzhik can be seen at the bottom of this article. Records show that LAS International (UK) has been dissolved.

ILPs From the Seychelles to Belize

The attractiveness of ILPs to individuals or organisations who appear to have no connection to Ireland is clear from the data analysed by Bellingcat and The Sunday Times.

Just under 800 ILPs that were registered during the period monitored by Bellingcat (between 2015 and 2021) had an Irish general partner – making up less than a third of the total formed.

In total, 501 of the ILPs registered in 2017 alone were controlled by general partners based in the Seychelles or Belize. This amounted to 74% of the ILPs registered in 2017.

At that time, both countries were included on an EU tax jurisdiction watchlist, although they have since been removed. General partners of ILPs formed between 2015 and 2021 were also based in other countries with limited reporting requirements such as the British Virgin Islands, Panama and the Cayman Islands.  

While many legitimate businesses may choose to structure themselves in this way and there is nothing wrong with forming a company in this manner, experts say the discretion such setups provide can also be beneficial to those with more nefarious aims.

Barrow said that the aim of money launderers, scammers and international criminals was to build a complex, multi-jurisdictional web that cannot be traced. “You could have an Irish Limited Partnership but it is owned by a couple of Marshall Islands companies, and they bank in the Baltics, and the controllers of those companies might themselves be Panamanian,” he said. That kind of complexity “makes it impossible to do any form of law enforcement.”

John Devitt, chief executive of Transparency International Ireland, said he would be “very surprised” if Irish Limited Partnerships were not being used by international criminals given “they allow for companies registered in jurisdictions with weak rule of law to form the partnerships.”

Illustration (c) Ann Kiernan.

Although Bellingcat was eventually able to identify a disproportionate number of Ukrainian and Russian nationals controlling SLPs in previous investigations, it was not possible to draw such firm conclusions with ILPs given the limited data on beneficial owners currently available. However, some ILPs did appear to be enabling companies to bypass Person of Significant Control (PSC) requirements in the UK.

As many as 51 ILPs were named as PSCs for UK companies, almost all of which were SLPs. All of the 51 Irish partnerships in question had general partners based abroad, either in Bulgaria or Belize.

While this practice is not illegal, it does potentially appear to get around the spirit of ensuring persons of significant interest are detailed for UK companies.

Unlike the UK, Ireland is a European Union member and has transposed the EU’s fifth anti-money laundering directive into law, setting up a register of beneficial ownership for companies.

However, ILPs fall outside the scope of these regulations which only refer to corporate and legal entities that are incorporated. Unless the partners of an ILP are themselves such entities there is no requirement to reveal this information.

The Price of Transparency

Obtaining what data there was for Bellingcat’s previous investigations into SLPs proved to be far easier than gathering the same information for ILPs.

Companies House, which hosts information about businesses in the UK is free to browse and all data held there can be downloaded at no price. The same level of detail in corporate documents for Irish entities must be purchased.

For every document requested, a price of 2.50 Euros ($2.67) was applied, ensuring a further barrier to investigation given thousands of documents were required to conduct a thorough analysis. Bellingcat purchased the formation documents for every ILP registered since the beginning of 2015 – when ILP registrations shot up rapidly – at a cost of 6,000 Euros ($6,300) with funds provided by an Investigative Journalism for Europe grant.

This data was collated to show details of partners, their location and their formation agents.

Bellingcat also searched for the business activities of every partnership, to ascertain whether there were any potential red flags surrounding illicit or suspicious activities.

More than 600 of the roughly 2,400 ILPs registered since 2015 have an online presence of some kind. Some were clearly legitimate businesses, including hedge funds, financial investment ventures and even a sourdough bread business. But questions remained over others.

For example, dozens of those 600 websites contained no clear indication of what the ILPs actual business was. No contact details were displayed other than the address of the registered office, which was often just a mailing address. Some of the sites appeared to be filled out with stock photographs and other generic imagery.

Bellingcat also put the name of each ILP in its database into ImportGenius, a website that tracks international import and export data, yielding a large number of results. The names of ILPs could be found attached to imports and exports to and from a variety of countries, but predominantly Russia and Ukraine.

One company was recorded as having traded with a subsidiary of a state-owned mining company in Russia. A further 71 ILPs appeared to be acting as trade intermediaries for shipments of goods coming out of Russia and Ukraine. Four ILPs formed during a short time period by the same formation agent, meanwhile, shared their name with companies in Russia that operate crude oil tankers.

Again, none of these companies were required to reveal their beneficial owner and no further information could be discovered about them.

Other ILPs included a dating platform that advertised Ukrainian women to foreigners, a Russian app that claims to promote job offers in the modelling field, a Russian “webmodel agency” and a Russian visa service. There is no evidence suggesting any of these companies are engaged in illegal activities.

One individual based in the Seychelles was a partner in close to 150 ILPs. In 2018, one of these ventures was subject of a press release by the Central Bank of Ireland warning that it was an unauthorised investment firm. The formation agent for this ILP was LAS Fiduciary. When asked about this Dovzhik said by email that it operated as a virtual filing agent for international corporate clients such as lawyers and accountants and that it was never involved in any of its former clients’ business activities. It added that it was not aware who identified this client as an unregulated financial agent, nor when this happened, and that it only assisted clients with their formation process and filings.

ILPs for sale

Irish Limited Partnerships in and of themselves also appear to be a lucrative business.

Some were found being advertised on a variety of websites and spreadsheets online. ILPs were advertised in Russian, suggesting they were being targeted at an audience in that country or in the nations of the former Soviet Union where many residents also speak Russian.

A spreadsheet with Russian titles and headings found online advertising ILPs.

The cost of registering an ILP is less than 50 euros, but to buy a partnership from a formation agent off-the-shelf (with an existing track record of operation) the cost can run into hundreds or even thousands of Euros.

A screen grab shows ILPs for sale on a Russian language website.

Authorities in Ireland have no mechanism to control the activities of websites in Russia selling their corporate vehicles.

On some websites, various administrative functions are advertised to assist customers with corporate filings, the provision of registered offices and due diligence filings. It is thus entirely possible that the true beneficial owners of these partnerships will never need to register their name on any document related to the business.

The lack of a need for Irish residency for partners, the advantage of having a company in an EU country and tax advantages are all touted as selling points of ILPs on these websites. The value of using corporate entities as partners is also detailed.

A spokesperson for Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (DETE), which oversees the CRO, told The Sunday Times that it was “currently conducting a review of the Limited Partnership Act 1907 and that review will consider the issue of beneficial ownership and how best to ensure transparency”.

It added: “This review is due to conclude shortly, with a view to bringing a General Scheme to Government as soon as possible.”

Without a more robust system of due diligence or a register of beneficial owners for ILPs, however, the threat of another Bitsane-type scam remains.Full Emailed Responses from Elena Dovzhik

Your request was forwarded to us regarding former activities of LAS FIDUCIARY in Republic of Ireland, as all of our companies fully terminated their business activities while ago.

Thank you for your email and an opportunity to have our say in this unpleasant situation with our former clients.

We are not sure who and when identified LAS FIDUCIARY’s client’s activity as “an unauthorised investment firm” as LAS FIDUCIARY only operated as virtual filing agent in the Republic of Ireland, on behalf of international corporate clients (such as International Lawyers and Accountants). We never been involved in any business activities of our former clients and only assisted our clients with their company’s formation process and filings.
While other journalists and investigators are making their assumptions, without full understanding of company formation and-mail forwarding services industry, we would like to clarify that at the sale point of our services we are obliged to collect all KYC information (according to AMLR) and our clients only declare to us their intentional business activities for newly incorporated companies, before their bank accounts are being open and their trading activities start.

All companies had to declare their Beneficial Owners (if applicable) before any filing order was accepted by our representatives.

Yes, we are aware that many years ago we filed registration documents for some companies that eventually were accused in unlawful activities, but such information was not available to us prior registration. This is a problem of any company formation or filing agents as there is always a certain percentage of potentially unlawful businesses of any type or form i.e LTD, LLP, LP, etc.

The popularity of LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS in the UK & Republic of Ireland was explained to us by the low cost of their annual maintenance, as there is not legal requirements for them to file Annual Financial Statement and in most cases absence of Annual Return filing requirement (unlike LTD). But we could not expect that this form of company (LP) will be abused by its owners in unlawful ways.

How the company formation agents can be responsible for this is they do all KYC checks before any trading starts? Please clarify to us any logic behind the accusation for LAS INTERNATIONAL being the formation agents of companies such as BITSANE and defrauding thousands of people? This information came to light after any formation/filing services were provided to this company and any further services were terminated with immediate effect for such clients. We always responded to any police investigative queries with requested KYC information and never supported any unlawful business activities of our former clients.

We had enhanced Due diligence for all international clients and collected all required KYC information. If any of our clients was ever reported to us as being under suspicion of being involved in unlawful activities , their services were terminated with immediate effect , as this is a breach of our Terms & Conditions. Yes, we cooperated with professional intermediaries-resellers (such as Lawyers and Accountants) from worldwide, who requested and purchased our services for their multiple individual clients. Many of them were from Eastern Europe and are considered as “high risk”. The Company/LP/Partnership’s structure is always decided by the client/owner and we never been involved in this decision making process.

Due to negative publicity and abusive use of LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS by international clients we stopped providing this type of entities with any further filing services.

——-
I personally was not approached by anyone in relation to the legal proceedings against this company [Bitsane]. But if there was any police request in relation to this company, we would have provided them with all relevant information that is allowed to be disclosed to certain authorities. We found out about this issue from media publications and terminated any further services with immediate effect.”

All KYC information was obtained by our team before any services were provided to these clients and this company was formed in 2016. Declaration of Beneficial Owner is part of any KYC compliance process (if this was applicable ). According to GDPR we are only allowed to disclose this information to specific authorities.”
Yes, we assisted with filings of incorporation forms for Scottish Limited Partnerships years ago. At that time, we did not expect that this type of company will be abused in such way, as we attributed their popularity to the low annual maintenance cost (absence of annual filing requirements for Limited Partnerships).

Usually, we were notified by a police department on investigation process against some companies that used our mail-forwarding address or sometimes this information comes to us from media publications. As I mentioned before, we terminated our services with immediate effect for such companies as this is breach of our Terms & Conditions. We would never provide any service to a company that was used for unlawful activities, as this was not the original reason declared to us by the clients, prior the company’s formation/filings.”

Due to negative publications and frequent police requests in relation to Limited Partnerships we terminated any further formation filings for this type of companies. LAS International (former name) and LAS Fiduciary filed for voluntary dissolution during last year. This also relates to our partner’s company Company Formation Advice Ltd.

Logan Williams contributed to this story.

Bellingcat is a non-profit and the ability to carry out our work is dependent on the kind support of individual donors. If you would like to support our work, you can do so here. You can also subscribe to our Patreon channel hereSubscribe to our Newsletter and follow us on Twitter here.

The production of this investigation is supported by a grant from the IJ4EU fund. The International Press Institute (IPI), the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and any other partners in the IJ4EU fund are not responsible for the content published and any use made out of it.

The Richest Hospitals Received Billions In Pandemic Aid — While Poorer Providers Struggled8 hours ago

Profitable and wealthy hospitals received a larger share of pandemic aid than they may have needed while hospitals that struggled financially were forced to reduce staff and scale back services, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis and healthcare experts.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) chose to disperse the first few rounds of the roughly $175 billion in relief funding based on hospitals’ revenue, believing this would be a proper signal of a hospital’s size and therefore need. However, many wealthy or profitable hospitals received funding they did not necessarily need, while hospitals in more dire straits often didn’t receive the aid necessary to maintain key services or even stay afloat, according to the WSJ analysis of federal financial disclosure reports.

“Congress delegated extraordinary discretion to HHS to allocate $178 billion in provider relief.  The previous administration felt urgency to get money out the door, and doling-out funds as a percent of historical revenues was one way to do this. But this means that some of the richest providers captured a large share of that relief,” Jason Buxbaum, a Harvard University doctoral candidate in health policy and previous policy analyst at the National Academy for State Health Policy, told the DCNF. “Allocations arguably got better over time, with an increasing share of funds directed to some of the poorest and hardest-hit hospitals.”

As the pandemic continued, the allocation metric was shifted from revenue to hospital need, yet many hospitals with high caseloads still did not receive the proper funding to remain financially viable, Buxbaum said.

“As taxpayers, we ought to know what we got for this money, and we still don’t know,” Buxbaum continued.

Many large or wealthy hospitals reported profits from patient care while they were receiving aid, and some were already in a good financial position to deal with COVID-19, according to the WSJ, with over 1,200 hospitals that received $16.7 billion collectively in aid identified as profitable. Many were able to invest the relief funds, while others built new facilities and expanded their campuses. (RELATED: Are Hospitals Actually Being Overrun By COVID-19?)

For example, Inova Health System, a Virginia healthcare network which received $186.1 million of federal pandemic aid, reported a $255.5 million profit in 2020 and 2021, the WSJ reported. The hospital expanded its operations after receiving the aid, investing in stocks and a new healthcare center.

“Inova appropriately leveraged Provider Relief Funds in a thorough and transparent manner, consistent with federal intent to support expenses and lost revenues associated with the pandemic response,” an Inova spokeswoman told the WSJ.

Hospitals that did not receive enough funding were forced to lay off nurses and make budget cuts, according to the WSJ. Some of the hospitals that reported the highest number of deaths were the hospitals that did not receive enough funding at the start.

“It’s a bit like your low-lying house is about to be flooded, and the National Guard shows up and drops off some sandbags for you, but also brings a bunch to the homes on higher ground that are not particularly at risk,” said William Schpero, a health economist and assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medicine.

After the start of the pandemic, relief funds were eventually shifted to hospitals with a higher number of COVID-19 patients, but the funds still missed a few struggling hospitals, according to the WSJ. The analysis concluded that the pandemic relief did not initially correlate with the number of cases in the areas surrounding hospitals, resulting in staff reductions, scaling back of services and ongoing closures.

“Our agency is working on multiple audits focused on whether or not this funding was correctly distributed to health care providers (such as whether the funding was correctly calculated and disbursed to eligible providers),” Katherine Harris, senior public affairs specialist for the HHS Office of Inspector General, told the DCNF.

Health care workers use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine on a Covid-19 patient who is having difficulties breathing in a Covid-19 holding pod at Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, California on January 11, 2021. (Photo by ARIANA DREHSLER/AFP via Getty Images)

Though many hospitals did not receive adequate funding, those that prepared for the pandemic by borrowing money to increase cash reserves while also reducing their spending ended the pandemic on strong footings, Ge Bai, a Professor of Accounting at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Visiting Scholar for the Health Analysis Division of the Congressional Budget Office, told the DCNF.

“For some hospitals, their operations might be very bad already. It’s a double whammy. Their operations were bad, and they may have not received enough funding,” Bai said. “These hospitals did not have a strong financial footing before COVID, and COVID financially exaggerated their financial vulnerability.”

Gerard Anderson, professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University, told the DCNF that hospitals were able to recover despite the distribution of pandemic aid.

“Any payment system that was developed as quickly as possible will always have some flaws, but overall hospitals were able to recover from the lost revenue as a result of the federal funding. It would not have been possible to determine need at the speed in which the money had to be dispensed,” Anderson said.

study, co-authored by Bai, on COVID-19 and hospital financial viability in the U.S., showed that “although hospitals experienced a sizable reduction in operating margins in 2020, their overall profit margins remained similar to those in prior years, suggesting that the COVID-19 relief effectively offset the financial losses for hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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