This 38th post in the “Divorce & Hidden Money” series shows you how your divorcing spouse can open secret offshore bank accounts. The post also talks about presenting evidence in court about the offshore bank accounts.
I. FOUR STEPS FOR OPENING A SECRET OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT
Your divorcing spouse can open a secret offshore bank account by:
- establishing a shell company;
- hiring a straw person to act as the shell company’s nominee director;
- telling the nominee director to open an offshore bank account titled in the name of the shell company.
- & by finally transferring money into the offshore account.
By following these steps your divorcing spouse could secretly own offshore bank accounts. Your divorcing spouse would however, have to control the nominee directors of the shell companies. Some methods for controlling nominee directors are discussed by The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ webpage “How the nominee trick works.” Meanwhile, “The Anonymous Panama Corporation” webpage seems to sell shell companies via the Internet. Besides shell companies, this webpage apparently offers nominee directors.
II. PRESENTING THE COURT WITH EVIDENCE ABOUT OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNTS
If your divorcing spouse has secret offshore bank accounts, you will need to collect evidence about the offshore bank accounts. You will need the following documents for each of your divorcing spouse’s offshore bank accounts: monthly bank account statements; signature cards; account opening documents; etc. You must also authenticate these documents and present them to the Court. The Court can then consider these offshore accounts when it distributes marital assets to you; awards you alimony &/or child support.
The best way to collect offshore bank account information will usually be through legal assistance requests/letters rogatory. The Court presiding over your divorce can issue letters rogatory. Your letters rogatory would ask the foreign courts with legal authority over the offshore banks, to help you collect evidence. Pursuant to your letters rogatory, foreign courts may direct the offshore banks to supply you with documents about your divorcing spouse’s offshore bank accounts.
The letter rogatory reproduced below was issued by the Family Court in San Isidro, Argentina. The wife in that family court case sought alimony. The wife apparently suspected her husband had offshore accounts at Merrill Lynch/Bank of America in New York City at Avenue of the Americas & 42nd Street: