Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠: Swiss Mystery Company Is at the Heart of a Mueller Puzzle


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In August 2016, Zamel met with former Blackwater founder Erik Prince, Donald Trump Jr., and Nader to discuss ideas that could potentially help Trump win the election. During that meeting, as first reported by the Times and later confirmed by The Daily Beast, Nader told the room that the crown princes of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE were eager to help Trump win the election.

Zamel, through his lawyer, has previously denied pitching an official plan for the campaign or working with campaign members. Two other sources close to the Trump team said they did not believe Zamel, or Psy Group, carried out an official cybercampaign. But according to The New Yorker, Zamel told Nader after the election, “Here’s the work that we did to help get Trump elected.”

Nader’s payment of $2 million after the election went through to Zamel. Exactly what for—that’s unknown. The ultimate beneficiary could offer clues.

Lawyers for Zamel—a self-styled Mark Zuckerberg of the national-security world—have previously refused to say how much of a stake he held in Psy Group and therefore how much controlling power he had over the company. But records obtained by The Daily Beast show Zamel is a director of the company that owns Psy.

Furthermore, documents reviewed by The Daily Beast and interviews with individuals familiar with Psy Group’s financial structure lay bare a complex web of companies with connections to Zamel that point to Salix.

“It’s how Joel holds his shares,” one former Psy Group employee told The Daily Beast. “They set up trusts and provide nominee services to… shield beneficial owners from their holdings. It’s completely legal.”

Psy Group, registered as Invop in Israel, has its ownership obscured by a series of offshore companies. In June 2018, after the company’s name surfaced in the Mueller investigation, employees asked an Israeli court to liquidate the company and financial records revealed that all of Psy Group’s shares were owned by a Cyprus-registered company known as IOCO Limited. Former Psy Group employees also told The Daily Beast that IOCO was “just another name for Psy.”

Since its creation in 2014, IOCO’s shares have been owned by a handful of companies registered to post-office boxes in the British Virgin Islands. Bank records show that ownership of IOCO changed hands on a roughly annual basis through a rotating cast of anonymous offshore companies.

There are few hints about who owns the handful of companies that hold IOCO’s shares, but at least one of the companies listed as a former IOCO owner has links back to Salix.

Leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca show that a company named Cornell Enterprises SA was at one point a shareholder of Prime Nominees Limited, IOCO’s sole shareholder from late 2015 through mid-2016. Salix is listed in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ Panama Papers as an intermediary of Cornell, and Cornell shared an address with Salix in Zurich, Switzerland.

Protexer Limited, another former owner of IOCO, is listed as a subsidiary of the Trident Trust Company (Cyprus) Ltd., which currently serves as a secretary on the board of IOCO.

IOCO appears to have fallen on hard times itself. In December, the company announced a voluntary liquidation by its creditors scheduled for January 2019.

Meanwhile, former Psy Group employees believe they’ve been “cleared” by law enforcement in the U.S., they told the Daily Beast, and do not expect to face more questioning. Zamel appears to still be operating his other major global consulting firm, Wikistrat, which holds contracts with the U.S. government.

Michael Novakhov – SharedNewsLinks℠

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