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Complex Financial Investigation Unveiled: Seychelles Probes Alpha Consulting Amid Global Media Spotlight

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) of Seychelles has embarked on a comprehensive investigation into the allegations surrounding the operations of the International Corporate Service Provider (ICSP) known as Alpha Consulting, headquartered in the vibrant capital city of Victoria.

This inquiry was triggered by a series of collaborative exposés jointly published online by renowned media entities, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), and the investigative powerhouse, Finance Uncovered. These revelations were further amplified by the recent airing of a documentary by SBC.

In an official press release dated November 2, the FSA unequivocally expressed its disapproval of any illicit business activities conducted by licensees and the misuse of registered entities for clandestine purposes. The regulatory body underlined that both local and international media reports had brought to light suspicions of a licensed firm, an ICSP, and other legal entities engaging in a scheme designed to shroud the actual ownership of limited partnerships registered in the United Kingdom.

“The reports allege that the firm has aided in the formation of over 900 UK partnerships under the legal framework of the UK, purportedly exploiting legal loopholes to obscure the identities of their true owners. The media accounts also identify certain individuals, who are reportedly of Seychellois legal and natural origin,” noted the FSA.

These media accounts assert that Alpha Consulting facilitated the establishment of companies capable of operating in the UK while maintaining the secrecy of their ultimate beneficiaries, thanks to a century-old UK law.

The joint investigation conducted by the BBC, Finance Uncovered, and SBC delved into internal Alpha documents and sifted through thousands of company records, ultimately unearthing individuals who had surreptitiously benefited from the services rendered by the offshore firm situated in the idyllic Indian Ocean island nation.

BBC’s in-depth coverage unveiled that Alpha, led by the Russian entrepreneur Victoria Valkovskaya, played a pivotal role in creating 927 limited partnerships, accounting for one in five such registrations in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland since 2017.

In the midst of these allegations, Valkovskaya denied any wrongdoing and asserted that she promptly forwarded suspicious transaction reports (STRs) to the Financial Intelligence Unit after receiving pertinent information from investigative journalists. Finance Uncovered also emphasized that there is no implication of illegality on the part of Valkovskaya or any other individuals associated with Alpha Consulting, nor any involvement in the operational management of these businesses, as final decisions rested with Alpha Consulting’s end clients.

The FSA, taking a resolute stance, affirmed that if this ongoing investigation uncovers evidence of regulatory violations, it will pursue appropriate enforcement actions in accordance with the law against those found responsible.

Furthermore, in alignment with other relevant authorities in Seychelles, the FSA is committed to robustly implementing the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations. It seeks to ensure that licensees and supervised entities remain in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations. The Authority stressed its unwavering stance against activities that could undermine the jurisdiction’s financial stability and reputation, and its commitment to collaborating with international bodies to mitigate inherent sector risks, including but not limited to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing concerns.

It’s noteworthy that Seychelles, an archipelago situated in the western Indian Ocean, found itself back on the EU blacklist last month, despite being rated as “partially compliant” by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes just two months prior. This development prompted Seychelles to call for a reevaluation of the European Council’s listing criteria for non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, following its addition to the EU’s blacklist in October of the same year. The primary reason for this blacklisting stemmed from challenges encountered in responding to information exchange requests.

Chief Creator

Creator-in-Chief of The Seychelles Times

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