Panama Papers Reveal Secret Assets of Etisalat Chairman, Hakeem Belo-Osagie

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Wealth owned by former Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Hakeem Belo-Osagie, is domiciled in trusts and shell companies in some notorious tax havens around the world, with some in Jersey in the Channel Islands.

The Channel Islands are a tax haven and an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French Coast of Normandy.

Mr. Belo-Osagie, now Chairman of Etisalat Nigeria, was listed by Forbes Magazine as the 41st richest man in Africa with a net worth of $600 million as at November 2014.

One of the tax-haven Trusts in Jersey is known as the Belo-Osagie Trust 2 which actually is a front office for a shell company called Clerkenwell Management Limited.

The relationships of these two entities and other offshore subsidiaries are buried in complex layers of secrecy.

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Documents show that Clerkenwell Management Limited is “an entity 100% owned by the Belo-Osagie Trust 2 (the “Trust”)”.

However, Mr. Belo-Osagie is not listed as a trustee. The trustee of this Trust is a company named Chesham Limited which registered office is given as 13 Castle Street, St. Helier, Jersey JE4 5UT, Channel Islands.

Chesham Limited was incorporated in Jersey on September 7, 2007, with registered number 98642.

It has as its directors Charles Guy Malet de Carteret, Christopher John Blunt, Hugh Duncan Cathcart, Simon Paul Alan Brewer and Wendy Joy Burnett. These people appear to be nominee directors.

In tax havens arrangement, nominee directors are usually used as fronts for beneficial owners of entities.

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Mr. Belo-Osagie “of 21 Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi Lagos Island, Nigeria” is listed in the documents as the settlor of the Trust.

The Etisalat chairman and his Ghanaian wife, Myma, are named as beneficiaries of the Trust.

But in convoluted and confusing legal arrangements, the same documents which described the couple as “settlor” and “beneficiaries”, state that Mr. Belo-Osagie and his wife “are not direct owners and are members of a discretionary class of beneficiaries. The ultimate controlling party is the Trustee (Chesham Limited).

But further checks by this newspaper revealed that Chesham Limited is in turn 100 per cent owned by Sanne Fiduciary Services Limited.

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