Published On: Thu, Jun 8th, 2017

Well-loved counter for wealthy Dutchmen

Gregory-Elias-CNSJF-Fundashon-Bon-IntenshonTHE HAGUE – This Friday, the House of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament will hear Gregory Elias, benefactor and trust advisor who helps millionaires in tax structures.

A multimillionaire, high listed on the Rich List Quote 500 once said, off the record, “If you really have a little money and you do not want to deal with taxes, then you go to Greg.”

He meant, of course, rich people who do not want to pay taxes should see Gregory Elias in Curaçao. He is, in certain circles, the best-known financial advisor for highly wealthy Dutchmen. Legal education, creative and extremely discreet. This is exactly why the standing parliamentary interrogation committee for tax structures is interested in Elias.

On Friday afternoon, the 64-year trustee will appear before this committee of inquiry from the House of Representatives to be heard under oath. The so-called 'mini-hearing' to the alleged key played by the Netherlands in international tax evasion started Wednesday and lasts until next week. Of the 27 witnesses and experts who were called by the committee under the leadership of Henk Nijboer MP, Gregory Elias is by far the biggest name.

PANAMA PAPERS

On Wednesday, when a number of tax officials were heard, it appeared that a wealthy Dutchman who holds his assets in a trust structure for the tax is a "red flag" in the detection of tax evasion. And certainly, if that trust has gone through the former Antilles islands. According to Het Financieele Dagblad (Financial Newspaper), the name of Elias has been drawn more than three hundred times in the documents that gave rise to this mini-hearing: the Panama Papers released last month by Panamese advisory office Mossack Fonseca.

Gregory Elias has been active in the trust sector in Curacao for forty years. That country, autonomous but still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, has been interesting for fiscal evasion routes for decades.

After a study of notarial law in Amsterdam, Elias returned to his birth island in the seventies. There he was one of the founders and directors of Intertrust, now one of the leading trust offices in the Netherlands. In 2002, Dutch asset bank Fortis MeesPierson acquired Intertrust. Elias made a fortune; According to Quote, he now accounts for more than 45 million euros. In addition to his own clientele, Elias has always been strong for the tax industry of Curaçao as a whole. For example, he was chairman of the Offshore Interests Association for a long time.

FINANCIAL AFFAIRS

In 2007, Elias established a new trust company, United Trust. He was in the news several times about alleged clients' financial affairs, such as former SNS banker Buck Groenhof (last year convicted) and recently Emsley Tromp, president of the Curaçao Central Bank, being prosecuted for tax fraud.

Advice and services of trust offices are not necessarily illegal. But the purpose for the client is to pay as little tax as possible in the country of origin. Or, like United Trust, which describes on its own website: to "optimize taxes". The hearing committee will be especially curious about this statement.

In addition to his trust services, Elias is active as a benefactor for social and cultural goals. For example, his "Fundashon Bon Intenshon" has established a soccer school for poor children and has been the great man behind the Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival and the Rotterdam Film Festival for years.

That way, Elias brought great stars to his island. As a former musician and composer - as a drummer, Gregory Elias once helped compose the hit song 'Why Tell Me Why' together with Anita Meyer. He also organized the historic Rolling Stones concert in Cuba. He did that pro bono. Elias paid for everything. Apparently, it cost more than 5 million euros.

Photo: Gregory Elias (r)

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