A few days ago, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released a batch of documents dubbed Offshore Leaks. Like the Panama Papers, they help expose the shady yet legal underground world of offshore tax havens, complex trusts, LLCs, public shells, and many other fancy terms you’d hear while inside the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club locker room.
Here’s a description of the project via the ICIJ website:
The database contains information on almost 320,000 offshore entities that are part of the Panama Papers and the Offshore Leaks investigations. The data covers nearly 40 years – from 1977 through 2015 – and links to people and companies in more than 200 countries and territories.
The real value of the database is that it strips away the secrecy that cloaks companies and trusts incorporated in tax havens and exposes the people behind them. This includes, when available, the names of the real owners of those opaque structures. In all, the interactive application reveals more than 360,000 names of people and companies behind secret offshore structures. They come from leaked records and not a standardized corporate registry, so there may be duplicates. In some cases, companies are listed as shareholders for another company or a trust, arrangement that often helps obscure the flesh-and-blood people behind offshore entities.[…]
ICIJ is publishing the information in the public interest. While many of the activities carried out through offshore entities are perfectly legal, extensive reporting by ICIJ and its media partners for more than four years has shown that the anonymity granted by the offshore economy facilitates money laundering, tax evasion, fraud and other crimes. Even when it’s legal, transparency advocates argue that the use of an alternative, parallel economy undermines democracy because it benefits a few at the expense of the majority.
I’m not going to lie to you, this stuff is way over my head. I prefer my investigative reports to focus around lawmakers hoarding tickets to American Ninja Warrior, hot lesbian Kiss Cam girls, or whether or not Lucas Ross has an odd fascination Milky Way bars. However, thanks to a Twitter tip, we searched the database for Oklahoma. It pulled up the following 14 records:
I browsed through each link. One that stood out was 6305 Waterford Blvd. It’s the registered address for Robert Alexander Hefner III. He’s the patriarch and bread bringer for the Hefner family. His son is Robert Alexander Hefner IV, who as you know, is married to Crazy Carol Hefner, the wannabe socialite whose hobbies include racism, bigotry, xenophobia, and unlocking the secret Olive Garden salad dressing recipe:
Robert Hefner is a shareholder of something called Snowy River Group Ltd. It was incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 2007. The Director of the group is somebody named Lee Chong Min. He’s with a Singapore based company called CMIA Capital Partners. This flowchart will help explain how they are all connected:
Yeah, I have no clue what all that means. Let’s dumb things down a bit and look at more Carol Hefner Facebook Posts:
Anyway, have I mentioned this Offshore Leaks stuff is totally over my head, and that I really have no clue what I’m writing about or how to explain it? Instead of doing research or pulling something out of my ass, can somebody who understands business language explain what’s going on here? I doubt our local media will look into it at all, so we might as well turn to the most reliable news source in Oklahoma City – the TLO Comments Section.
Also, I should probably clarify that we’re not accusing Robert Hefner of doing anything illegal. I’m sure that being a shareholder in a Virgin Islands corporation that’s managed by a group out of Singapore is totally legal, legitimate, and ethical. I’m not sure if this disclaimer will prevent the Hefner family from suing me – or even asking to meet me in a parking lot – but I should probably throw it out there.