I closed my last article with the conclusions of Magistrate Aaron Bugeja on the testimony of the representatives of ATC Administrators Inc, which the magistrate concluded as being ‘indefinite’.
In fact, the magistrate based his conclusion on document he said was dated 8 August 2013. Actually it was dated 9 August. This document was an acknowledgement and declaration, that the beneficial interest in, and ownership of, 1 share was exclusively vested in Brian Tonna.
This document was signed by Leticia Montoya and Yvette Rogers for ATC Administrators, and by Luis Quiel as Attorney.
When shown and questioned on the document, Leticia Montoya stated that the document showed “what could be my signature”. This, in my opinion, means that she was doubting her own signature.
Yvette Rogers, the other signatory on this document, said when questioned that she had no information about Egrant Inc, including who the owners were. In fact, she said that she was not even a director of the company.
In a comment in the report on the fabrication of the declarations of trust, the magistrate concluded that the fact that the micro-jacket number of Egrant had changed from 807956 to 807956S – which is the number used on the allegedly ‘forged’ declarations of trust presented to the Court by Pierre Portelli – clearly shows, that the fabrication could not have been made, neither at Pilatus Bank, nor at Nexia BT, because they were still using the old number and were therefore not aware that the number had changed as a result of changes in the internal system at the Panama Public Registry.
In my opinion, the fact that the numbering system did not allocate the number 807956 to a new client, and that the number, with or without the S, still identified with the company Egrant Inc, could not be considered as a justification for attributing the forgery to a third party, who neither worked at Pilatus Bank, nor at Nexia BT, presumably referring to either Daphne Caruana Galizia or Maria Efimova.
I am very surprised that the magistrate was unaware that the Public Registry of Panama, uses a Company Number which in this case is 807956, together with a Native Company Number which is 807956S, that is, with an additional ‘S’ after the number.
Is this being gullible and accepting false information passed on to him by the investigators, based on a false perception that no one will even bother to study and challenge the conclusions of a 1501 page Inquiry Report?
The documents that follow the end of this article were sourced from the Panama Public Registry on 7 February 2017, for Egrant Inc, Aliator S.A., Dubro Limited S.A., Cheswick Inc., and Eastshore Inc. (the subscribers to Dubro and Aliator) confirm that the inquiry was wrong in its interpretation of the jacket reference numbers.
Note also that Jaqueline Alexander was a director of both Dubro and Aliator, contrary to what the magistrate said in justifying his conclusion on the declarations of trust dated 20 August 2017, that Jaqueline Alexander could only sign for Dubro, but not for Aliator, as she was not a director of this company. In fact, the words used by the magistrate in his comments, were “Min iffalsifika (falsified) d-declarations of trust”, and later “Min iffabrika (fabricated) id-declarations of trust”, failed to note that Jacqueline Alexander could only sign for Dubro.
This statement has also to be seen in the light of an email sent by Karl Cini on 23 April 2017 at 16.51 (footnote 169 to Point 261 on page 1264) to Leida de Leon, asking her to issue an official statement from Jaqueline Alexander on behalf of Dubro and Aliator, that she never made or signed declarations of trust dated 20 August 2015, in the name of those companies in the interest of Michelle Muscat. This, in my opinion, proves that even Karl Cini considered Jaqueline Alexander as an authorized signatory for both Dubro and Aliator.
I would like to raise the following comments on what I consider as inaccuracies in the declaration issued on 9 August 2013, attributing ownership of 1 share in Egrant to Brian Tonna. This document was used for the conclusion by the magistrate and his forensic accountants, that Brian Tonna was clearly the sole owner of Egrant Inc.
This document is signed by Leticia Montoya and Yvette Rogers ‘for and on behalf of ATC Administrators Inc’, without any mention of the capacity under which they were signing for the company.
The persons signing are not identified with their personal identification document reference (passport or identity card), and the delegated responsibility for their signing, (office held, board resolution, proxy, etc.). Furthermore, the signature of the attorney, should be accompanied by personal identification, attorney seal/reference number of practicing warrant, and reason for his/her signature, that is, ‘as witness’ to the identity and signature of the delegated signatories.
The absence of all the above on the document is conspicuous by its absence. It is therefore highly questionable as to whether this document should have been accepted for the purposes of the inquiry, let alone for being the key document for the conclusion by the magistrate.
The magistrate may perhaps have not realised either that in the memorandum and articles of association of Egrant, filed in the Panama Public Registry, these identification requirements are noted in the registry for Jaqueline Alexander and Vera De Nelson. In fact, the formal document states in reference to each of them, “who is duly empowered for this act as recorded at the Public Registry”. The same is noted about the attorney at law representing MF Legal Services, Josette Roquebert. This document, as is normal legal practice, carries the Seal of the Panama Registry.
Who are ATC ADMINISTRATORS INC?
The company is registered in Panama, and acts for a large number of companies, including the British Virging Islands companies belonging to Keith Schembri (Colson Services) and Malcolm Scerri (Selson Services).
The company is owned by Faith Foundation, which is also registered in Panama, and which is a shareholder of a maze of other foundations and companies registered throughout the world, and affiliated with politically exposed persons.
A foundation would normally be run by a Board of Trustees with absolute secrecy. Foundations, by their very nature, are considered by worldwide regulatory authorities as a high risk for money laundering. They are habitually subjected to enhanced due diligence: a much more detailed onboarding review, than what would be normal.
It is extremely difficult to look through to the identity of the ultimate owners of foundations. This is obviously the purpose for these types of set-ups and the multi-layering of ownerships: the tower of companies owning each other. Obviously, no one with good business intentions would resort to such set-ups.
Changes to the Panama law impacting on corporate governance for Egrant, and more specifically for Bearer Shares and Declarations of Trust
The magistrate, together with Deputy Commissioner Ian Abdilla, who was the key police officer assigned to this Inquiry, had a very long video conference on 21 June 2018, with Fernando Berguido Guizado, a lawyer in Panama.
Dr Berguido said that he is specialised in commercial incorporate law. I will here focus on a few key questions and answers, and I will leave it to anyone interested in this interview to refer to pages 1172 to 1194 of the Inquiry.
The interview covered all the basics of setting up a company, shelf companies, subscribers to the memorandum and articles of association of a company, the right to become shareholders, transfer or assignment of subscription rights, declarations of trust, details to be included in a share certificate, the company register of shares, types of shares – nominative and bearer, custodians of bearer shares and nominee companies.
It is here pertinent to highlight the entry into force of Law 47 of 2013 as from 6 August 2015, that is, 14 days before the date of the original declarations of trust which, in my opinion, were removed and replaced with the ‘fabricated ones’ and with ‘forged signatures’.
Please note that this is the period in 2015 during which, a lot of email correspondence was being exchanged between Nexia BT and Mossack Fonseca on many issues, and Karl Cini seemed to have gone into panic mode, and even consulted two local lawyers on some documentation.
My next article, number 6, will delve deeper into the implications of the updated Panama Law with regards to Egrant Inc, particularly in respect of the Declarations of Trust.