We had a client contact us through our live chat about opening a bank account and our virtual office services. He introduced himself with an alias, which is not uncommon, since most clients are hesitant with their personal info before they get to know us. He had very meticulously taken steps to ensure that his location and identity were veiled, using an alternate email address, country, and proxy IP address to show that he was in different parts of the world.
As we talked, he told us that he had already incorporated anonymously in Panama a few months ago with a well-known, local legal services company. He had originally intended to continue working with them, but they hadn't responded to his numerous emails in over 2 weeks.
When he told me the name of his Panama Corporation, I did a quick, routine check on the government's website, and found a very distinctly non-Latin name as the president. By this time, we had switched our communication over to Skype voice chat. "You said you incorporated with nominee directors, right?" I asked him.
"Yes, why?" he asked back, puzzled.
"What does the name John Doe (name changed for privacy reasons) mean to you?"
He paused, flustered. He had gone through many steps to make sure his true identity was hidden, so he couldn't understand for the life of him how I found out his real name. If it was so easy for us to find his name within 2 minutes, imagine how quickly a hounding auditor would find out his real personal information.
Imagine John Doe's surprise when he found out that he paid someone else $800 extra for nominee directors, only to have his name plastered on the internet and government documents in connection with his imaginary anonymous corporation. This puts him in a worse position than if he were to just incorporate in his home country.
You're probably wondering how one of the largest and most well-established legal service providers in Panama made such a simple mistake. Even worse, we've seen many other 'anonymous' corporations from various legal service providers with the same error. It starts to seem like it's all done on purpose to hook the client with a seemingly low price, and then upsell to a corrected 'anonymous' corporation.
In the isolated case of our John Doe, the legal service provider didn't even bother to respond to their client, so this theory might be giving them too much credit.
We cannot speak for the motives of other legal service providers, but we can explain in simple terms how John Doe could have maintained true anonymity from the get-go without extra charges.
By law, Panama corporations must have a minimum of three people. The corporation must have at least 3 directors, and 1 person to fulfill the titles of President, Secretary, and Treasurer, also known as the officers. The same person could be a director and occupy one or more of the officer positions. The names, passport numbers, and addresses of these individuals are registered with the government of Panama and put online for anyone to see.
With our anonymous corporation service, our clients would not have to worry about giving out any of their personal information. We provide all the nominee directors and the officers. The beneficial owners have proof of ownership with their shares that are not publically registered but have been entered in the protocols of a notary public for protection in the case of dispute. Control of the bank accounts and other corporate assets is exercised via a power of attorney that is also publically unregistered but has been entered in the protocols of a notary public.
Had John Doe read the above two simple paragraphs, he would have never consented to putting his personal information as the President of his supposedly anonymous corporation.
Each person is a unique case, and few people have the time to study all the legal documents trying to figure out the ideal method to protect their assets and minimize their tax exposure legally. Use our Online Chat and we'll help you become the master of your own offshore strategy while it's fresh on your mind. Our experienced offshore analysts will help you ask the right questions and give you the exact information that you need to know, without wasting your time going through laws that may not even be relevant to your situation.