New Zealand implicated in donation from a dubious trust to Order of Malta

dubious trust

Germany’s Bild newspaper says a multi-million dollar donation seen to be at the centre of the Order of Malta’s recent dispute with the Holy See came from a New Zealand registered trust.

Bild reported that the Grand Chancellor of the Order, Baron Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, accepted a 30 million Swiss franc donation (US$31 million) on behalf of the Order from what it called a dubious trust in Geneva.

Boeselager denies any wrongdoing. He told Bild that he had had lawyers check that the trust, which is now registered in New Zealand, was clean, and the Order’s government unanimously approved of the fund.

He said he did not know details about the donor, Mr. Latour — only that the money came from a wealthy French family, and that the funds had been put into a foundation before the Second World War. “Since then there has been only investment, that’s all that I know,” he said.

The trustee, Ariane S appears in the “Panama Papers”.

In a Jan 6 email to the National Catholic Register she denied that she or her organisation had any connection to the Order of Malta.

In her correspondence with the National Catholic Register, she referenced Swiss law and criminal penalties if the name of the trust or its members, or allegations about the trust, were published.

New Zealand’s trust law was thrust into the spotlight after a massive document leak from a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, showed New Zealand was being used by overseas investors to keep tax secrets.

The documents show that the law firm’s services appear to have been used to “facilitate massive money laundering, tax avoidance and criminal activity, including drugs and arms dealing”.

Mossack Fonseca has now closed its offices in New Zealand.

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News category: New Zealand.

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