Transcripts we obtained from the Nevada Gaming Control Board reveal the family chose Zurich-based HSBC Guyerzeller A.G. to manage their wealth offshore in a tax-free jurisdiction. HSBC’s Suisse subsidiary was responsible for creating and managing several offshore vehicles in the British Virgin Islands and Liechtenstein.
HSBC’s Swiss private banking unit has come under intense scrutiny since a major bank leak in 2008 revealed that the same arm of HSBC had helped clients in more than 200 countries avoid taxes and hide hundreds of millions of dollars in assets.
Representatives from HSBC Guyerzeller and affiliate, Consilia Management, were named as officers of the Lalji family’s four offshore entities between 2001 and 2009. Since 2009, the HSBC affiliates have been replaced by Liechtenstein-based and Jersey-based trustees.
What you will not find are the names of the Lalji brothers.
(To see corporate filings, click on corporate or foundation name.)
Hilfreich Stiftung (Liechtenstein)
Hilfreich Stiftung, a Liechtenstein-based foundation, was set up by HSBC who effectively “controlled” the family assets. The foundation was initially set up with no beneficiaries, just classes of “potential beneficiaries.” Amin and Mansoor Lalji, the brothers in Vancouver, were named potential beneficiaries but only if they were to become non-residents of Canada “for Canadian income tax purposes.” The family also designated a class of charitable entities as potential beneficiaries.
When Nevada Gaming regulators questioned family representative, Thaddas Alston, during a hearing to obtain a Nevada gaming license about who actually controlled the foundation, Alston named the primary potential beneficiary to be Shiraz Lalji, reportedly because he was a non-resident of Canada. Shiraz Lalji is named on the gaming license for the Rampart Casino.
Read the transcript from Alston’s appearance before Nevada State Gaming Control Board.
Samoa Investment Assets (British Virgin Islands)
Incorporated in 1999, this shell corporation held the shares of Hotspur Investment Holdings, Inc.
According to Nevada records, Samoa Investment Assets’ interests in the Las Vegas casino and resort were transferred to Hilfreich Stiftung in 2011.
Hotspur Investment Holdings, Inc. (British Virgin Islands)
This shell company was also created in 1999 to hold the cash and investments of the Stiftung, shares of Hotspur Global, and other investments. According to Nevada records, Hotspur Investment Holdings, Inc. interests in the Las Vegas casino and resort were transferred to Hilfreich Stiftung in 2011.
Hotspur Global Limited (British Virgin Islands)
Incorporated in 1999, its sole assets (as of 2003) were the common shares of Hotspur Resorts.
As of 2012, this intermediary company owned assets of Hotspur Resorts Nevada, Inc. and Hotspur Resorts Nevada, Ltd.
Hotspur Resorts Nevada, Inc. (Nevada)
This corporation held the gaming license. Seattle-based Thaddas Alston served as sole director and officer.
Hotspur Resorts Nevada, Ltd. (Nevada)
This entity was established in 2005 to satisfy financing requirements. It held the casino and hotel facilities and all business licenses. Alston was named sole director and officer.