The Offshore Investigation Vehicle is an international corporate structure spanning three seas, set up to model and explore offshore finance. It operates at once as a guide and a shield, providing access to a hidden world of financial opportunities and insiders’ knowledge, while guaranteeing the secrecy of the actions undertaken there.
The vehicle exists through legal documents, created by the proxies and service providers engaged in its setup. The degree of secrecy this provides changes depending on from where it is observed: onshore or offshore, externally or from within.
The research, setup process and offshoring tactics are compiled into a book, and available as a PDF publication.
Onshore, at the top of the Vehicle, is Empire Management Limited, a UK-based private company. Offshore, Empire Management controls Invest. One Limited, a Seychelles International Business Company (IBC) directed by a ‘puppet’ director, called Mark Andrew Derek Farmer. MAD Farmer was hired by an offshore service provider engaged by Empire Management. Finally, Invest. One holds an account in Puerto Rico with Euro Pacific Bank.
Offshore, under Seychelles law, IBCs are exempt from both taxation and public disclosure of any company information, thus hiding Empire Management’s ownership of Invest. One. Taken at face value, the two companies are unrelated.
Onshore, the legal requirement to file corporate resolutions with Companies House, the UK’s registrar of companies, is used as an online virtual gallery to display the Offshore Investigation Vehicle’s actions and intent. An opposite approach to the secretive one facilitated by offshore jurisdictions.
The Offshore Investigation Vehicle aims to utilise, and thereby expose, the inner workings of offshore finance: the laws that legalise it, the proxies that facilitate it, and the sea of shell-corporations that inhabit it. The vehicle is a collective umbrella that allows a community to engage with, consider, and discuss this inherently hidden and inaccessible system. It is an inversion of the purposes of offshore and, through this, a step towards its neutralisation.
The intent is that such exposure be subversive, fun, even grotesque, rather than gloomy and disheartening. After its set-up, the Vehicle was opened to others as a container for a community of interested financial explorers. Such community consist of 58 people, and it was formed through corporate law, playing with its norms and the company’s legal structure: shares were issued; meetings called; resolutions voted on.
At the first general meeting of Empire Management, the company at the top of the structure, the Vehicle’s objectives were collectively set by its shareholders.
The first is to launch Offshore Spring/Summer 2018, an untaxed beachwear business which visually reveals the Vehicle’s offshoring tactics by using them. The goal is to sell out, so that investors make a profit of 100% on their investment, while 0% taxes are paid.
The second is to produce The Offshore Economist, a publication focusing on the ruptures and loopholes exploited by those invested, and investing, in offshore finance. The Offshore Economist pursues an aesthetic of offshore through visual forms, written fiction, poetry, legalese and an ever-shifting, surreal layout.