Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Unlicensed football agent hides behind UK bearer share company

In yet another example of how the UK operates as a secrecy jurisdiction, journalist David Leloup has revealed how a non-FIFA licensed football agent, Lucian D'Onofrio (pictured above) used a UK letterbox company with a single bearer share as a means of hiding his identity as recipient of a €1.5M commission on the transfers to FC Porto of French centre back Mangala and Belgian midfielder Steven Defour from Standard Liege last summer.

Bearer shares are simply a share document indicating that the person having possession of the document has title to the related shares. Bearer shares differ from normal share instruments in so far as there is no requirement for a record to be kept of who actually owns the shares or how and when they took possession of the shares.

This lack of records makes bearer shares anonymous and therefore useful for money-laundering, tax evasion, and other corrupt practices. Bearer shares have been banned by most jurisdictions, but their use is allowed under section 779 of the UK Companies Act 2006. This is one of the reasons why we consider the UK a secrecy jurisdiction.

Read more about David LeLoup's findings (in French) here.


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