Investigation finds sham offshore directorship industry thriving

A joint investigation by The Guardian newspaper, BBC Panorama and the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has revealed a thriving trade in offshore tax evasion in a series of articles and films which throw a light on the unscrupulous behaviour of some UK based tax specialists

The investigation found that the so-called “Sark lark”, whereby nominee directors are appointed as company directors of essentially fake companies to assist people in the UK avoid paying tax, is alive and well and in fact thriving in places such as the Caribbean, Dubai, Cyprus and Mauritius – despite UK authorities launching a crackdown a decade ago.

According to an article published in The Guardian, there are a number of UK firms who are happy to set up these companies for clients to help them “mitigate” tax and an equal number of people willing to be paid to become nominee directors.

One example uncovered by the newspaper was a company which has been based in Cyprus, Dubai and now Mauritius. According to The Guardian, this company is associated with 12 people who between them have held directorships of 1,578 British Virgin Island-based companies.