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A sting, a Picasso and, guess what, offshore tax havens

Paul Hodgson | March 13, 2018

You know a firm is out of control when it switches from real estate investments to Picassos to launder money, because real estate is too risky and art is the “only market that is unregulated.”

The U.S. Department of Justice unveiled a multicount indictment on March 2 against a London brokerage firm, Beaufort Securities, five of its brokers, an uncle, an art dealer, and a series of related offshore management firms. On the same day, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) slapped operating restrictions on the firm and placed it and its sister firm, Beaufort Asset Clearing Services Limited, into insolvency. The offshore firms were located in Mauritius, Budapest, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. That the indictment comes as a result of a sting by undercover FBI agents does not detract from the DoJ’s findings that the brokers had been engaged in these activities routinely, and the firm had clearly countenanced them, over a number of years.

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