Letter to the SRA

Sadly, my handwriting is not very good and I get bad writers’ cramp; so I am going to make some notes on the letter before writing it, the final version of which will be published here.

Here are the points

My father’s illness

  • He has Alzheimer’s and it has affected his behaviour and ability to reason
  • Berwin Leighton Paisner were made aware of this but took no action
  • Paicolex Trust Management AG were made aware of this but took no action
  • Andrew Lugg, chairman of the above said in an email to me that “he saw no reason why my father should be removed as UK representative of the trust (and settlor by two means) just because he had Alzheimer’s”
  • Just before his 70th birthday, I was called by James Penny of Barclays Wealth (who were then the trust’s wealth managers) to ask if my father was mentally able to make decisions because of his age. I said that, as far as I knew, that although he was getting older, it was my opinion that he was still fine. (Barclays had implemented a policy to check that older clients who represented another entity were still able to perform their duties, to avoid any legal claims if an “unwell” client made a wrong decision)
  • I emailed Cazenove/ Shroeders concerning my father’s illness but they did not reply or take any action to investigate the matter
  • Ron Downhill, the legal and tax advisor of the trust, was also well aware of my father’s illness but took no action to advise Paicolex that there was a distinct danger of legal repercussions if my father was not removed as UK representative of the Hender Family Settlement. By the failure to implement any change, the trustees have failed in their fiduciary duty of care to protect the assets of the trust

 

Breach of fiduciary duty to safeguard the assets of the trust

  • I discovered that a loan had been made to my brother in order to finance the purchase of a new home, before his current one was sold
  • Aquae Sullis was bought for £1,080,000 plus stamp duty of £43,200 equals £1,123,200 in February 2016
  • Hillside Cottage was sold for £750,000 in May 2017 less agency fees of £13,500 equals net proceeds of £736,500
  • Deficit of £386,700
  • Loan to buy new home was therefore not properly secured and, if defaulted upon, would diminish the assets of the trust
  • Do not believe that any security was actually given
  • Fundamental breach of fiduciary duty of trustees to safeguard assets of the trust
  • Complained to Andrew Lugg, chairman of Paicolex
  • After a so called investigation, they found that my complaint was not upheld
  • Soon after, Thomas Meier “retires”
  • Gaby Kaiser informed me that Thomas Meier’s retirement was “nothing to do with my complaint
  • Both Berwin Leighton Paisner and Paicolex Trust Management AG therefore ignored the fundamental breach of fiduciary duty of trustees to protect assets of the trust
  • Treatment of my loan where I gave more than 100% security for my loan inconsistent with the actions taken to secure my brother’s loan
  • Inconsistent treatment of beneficiaries, which is contrary to trust instrument 

 

Failure of duty of care by Berwin Leighton Paisner

  • The Hender Family Settlement is a client of BLP
  • I am a beneficiary of the Hender Family Settlement
  • Therefore, I am, by default, a client of BLP
  • Berwin Leighton Paisner owe me a duty of care as a beneficiary
  • Paicolex Trust Management AG owe me a duty of care as a beneficiary
  • ALL of my issues were dismissed
  • Therefore, Berwin Leighton Paisner have failed in their duty of care to me as a beneficiary
  • Paicolex Trust Management AG, as trustees of the Hender Family Settlement, have failed in their duty of care to me as a beneficiary of the settlement

Gaby Kaiser – Breach of duty of care

  • Head of professional risk at Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • Has been receiving all of my emails that were sent to Lisa Mayhew
  • Fully aware of all of my issues
  • Fully aware of my father’s illness
  • As head of professional risk, she has taken no steps to insist that my father is removed as UK representative of the Hender Family Settlement
  • This is a breach of her professional duty of care

 

Lisa Mayhew – breach of duty of care

  • Managing partner of Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • Takes full responsibility for actions of all staff including subsidiaries
  • Is aware of all issues that I have complained about
  • Is aware of issues concerning my father’s Alzheimer’s
  • She owes me a duty of care
  • By failure to respond to any of my emails or to act on my concerns, particularly with reference to my father, she has failed in her duty of care to me, as a beneficiary of the Hender Family Settlement

 

Clare Edwards – breach of duty of care

  • Is a trust officer of Paicolex Trust Management AG, the corporate trustee of the Hender Family Settlement
  • Took my father’s calculation of the loan due, by me, to Adriatic Sea Corporation at face value without checking with anyone
  • Demanded the immediate payment of the uplifted amount from me, despite being contrary to the loan agreement that I signed
  • Is a qualified solicitor from UK
  • Owes me a duty of care, as a trust officer, to treat me fairly
  • She failed in her duty of care to me, as a beneficiary of the Hender Family Settlement

 

Ron Downhill – breach of duty of care

  • Consultant and former partner
  • Tax advisor to the trustees of Hender Family Settlement, Paicolex Trust Management AG
  • Legal advisor to the trustees of Hender Family Settlement, Paicolex Trust Management AG
  • Was aware of my father’s Alzheimer’s condition
  • Owed a duty of care to advise trustees that there would be legal repercussions if my father instructed them to make a wrong decision
  • Failed in his duty of care to the trustees and to the beneficiaries of the Hender Family Settlement

 

Ron Downhill authorisation of illegal act

  • Was tax and legal advisor to trustees
  • Only he could sign off a transaction, to ensure that it complied with all statutes
  • Advised the trustees that the set off arrangements at source for repayment of my loan was in compliance with the above
  • He advised me in 2015 that such a set off at source was not compliant with HMRC rules
  • By signing off an illegal transaction, he has put me, as a beneficiary, in a position that I am forced to breach HMRC rules regarding set off at source
  • By signing of an illegal transaction, as tax and legal advisor, he failed in his duty of care to the trustees and me, as a beneficiary

 

Tax evasion

Berwin Leighton Paisner, like many other corporate firms, assist their clients to evade tax. I have personal knowledge of this, as I was the Finance Director of Premium Credit Limited, a subsidiary of Vendcrown Limited, the vehicle used to act as the management buy out vehicle from HSBC Insurance.

There were four “founder directors”, one of which refused to get involved in any tax evasion. The other three were my father, William Thomas Hender, Leon Du Toit Stoffberg and Michael Harold Cobb. The first evaded tax from HMRC whilst the latter two evaded tax from The South African Revenue Service or SARS.

Corporate law firms have always denied any liability to tax evasion, instead blaming the people who instructed them. This is a complete get out and does not reflect the facts.

Yes, these tax evaders instructed the law firm, in this case, Berwin Leighton Paisner, to ensure that they paid no tax at all and a strategy was prepared by Berwin Leighton Paisner to enable them to do so; I have full documentation of this as I hold a copy of the management buyout “bible”, named Project Vendcrown.

But, although the tax payers instructed Berwin Leighton Paisner to prepare the strategy, it was actually Berwin Leighton Paisner  who carried out the steps that would result in no tax being paid. Yes, the tax payers should also be held culpable but Berwin Leighton Paisner are just as guilty, as the tax payers were not in the position to carry out the mechanics of the tax evasion, as they had no legal training; they were after all, businessmen.

In order to secure the tax evasion strategy, Berwin Leighton poached Thomas Meier from HSBC Trust Management and formed a company called Paicolex Trust Management AG (Paicolex), a corporate trust company in Switzerland. Paicolex now has a number of subsidiaries, all based in tax shelters, such as the Isle of Man.

Ignoring the detailed steps, Paicolex now has trusts for William Thomas Hender, Leon Du Toit Stoffberg and Michael Harold Cobb, all offshore. The trust for William Thomas Hender, my father, was called the Michael Cobb Settlement for William Hender’s children (now called the Hender Family Settlement), with the assets of the trust within Adriatic Sea Corporation Limited, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The Hender Family Settlement started off with funds of approximately £15.5m, £0.5m of which was settled by William Hender personally and £15m being diverted via Michael Cobb to Adriatic Sea Corporation. The reason why Michael Cobb was used was that he was a South African citizen and thus the proceeds escaped UK capital gains tax.

As to Leon Stoffberg and Michael Cobb, whilst being South African citizens, they were not liable for UK capital gains tax but are liable for South African capital gains tax, as SARS has stated that any beneficiary of a trust, who also benefits from the income so derived, is liable for income tax on the entire income of the trust, whilst also subject to capital gains tax on the gain that created the trust. (FULL DETAILS OF LDS AND MHC TRUSTS AND BVI COMPANIES TO BE INSERTED HERE)

Thus Berwin Leighton Paisner were fully complicit in evading UK tax for William Hender and fully complicit in evading South African taxes for Leon Stoffberg and Michael Cobb.

I reiterate that although these gentlemen instructed Berwin Leighton Paisner, they did not have the ability to carry out the necessary steps needed to evade all of the taxes. It was Berwin Leighton Paisner who performed these duties and therefore the personnel involved, including Ron Downhill (who was then a partner of Berwin Leighton Paisner) should be held to account for their actions.

By creating tax evasion strategies, Berwin Leighton Paisner can save their clients millions of pounds of tax and their clients are quite willing to pay the sizeable fees that Berwin Leighton have charged for countless years.

William Hender was concerned that the trust may be attacked by HMRC and took legal advice from a tax barrister; he said that it was 50:50.

I even spoke to Ron Downhill myself on the matter and he said that “if Bill Hender was assessed for tax and penalties, then the trust would pay the liability“. I do not know what your feelings are but, to me and many others, that sounds like an admission of guilt.

With Berwin Leighton’s assistance, the trust has even undertaken tax evasion on behalf of the Hender children, my daughter included.

In the trust deed, it is stated that there should be no diminution of capital by way of capital payments to any beneficiary. It is also HMRC’s standpoint that with regards to distributions, all income must be distributed first and only then may capital be distributed, which would be untaxed.

In order to avoid income tax on the children or their parents, Berwin Leighton devised a scheme where capital could be taken out for the purpose of the children only. By 31st March 2016, this amounted to £302,596, all of which was untaxed.

I am actually a beneficiary of the Hender Family Settlement and you may wonder why I have elected to advise you of all of this, given that the income from the settlement is my sole source of income and that any charge on my father by HMRC will be paid by the settlement, the assets of which will then diminish, as will my income.

The reason is quite simple.

My father uses the Hender Family Settlement as his own piggy bank. It is legally not his money but treats it as though it was. He cannot legally undertake any money transfers but, as he controls the trustees, like puppets on a string, he can do whatever he wants to. Paicolex agree to this as a quid pro quo for their very high “trustee fees”, which are totally unjustified.

My father has instructed the trustees to lend money to my brother, with little or no security, which is a fundamental breach of the fiduciary duties of the trustees to protect the assets of the trust. I have detailed this above and when I uncovered it, I complained to the chairman of Paicolex, Andrew Lugg and to Lisa Mayhew, managing partner of Berwin Leighton. Shortly afterwards, the main “trustee” representative, Thomas Meier was forced to retire.

Compare this to the loan that was granted to me following my divorce. The trustees insisted that they had full security on the loan, security which I was happy to give, as I had no desire to default on the loan.

It just goes to show that the trustees, at my father’s behest, are totally inconsistent to the attitude of protecting the assets of the trust and its subsidiary. This inconsistency is based on my father’s favouritism towards my brother and the acrimony that exists between my father and I.

I have contacted Thomas Meier at his new consulting business, TEM Consulting, and is willing to provide a statement as to the “behaviour” of my father in his dealings with the trustees and that all instructions given by my father were always adhered to

Although I do not deny that it was my complaint to both Berwin Leighton Paisner and Paicolex that facilitated his departure from Paicolex, Thomas Meier does recognise that I was left with absolutely no choice but to do so because of the complete intransagence of both Berwin Leighton and Paicolex in considering my requests that I made from time to time.

I was and still am unhappy with my current circumstances, due to the knowledge that, at any time, my income could be cut off at any time, which would make me destitute. Add to that my past desire to move from my isle of wight home to a much smaller property, in order to get away from the horrible memories of what took place in my house and to, at the same time, enable me to fully pay off the balance of my loan with Adriatic Sea Corporation, the Hender Family Settlement’s investment subsidiary.

This request was denied at the behest of my father, as there is now no relationship between him and I.

This has been further compounded by the fact that a trust officer, Clare Edwards, took my father’s calculations of what I owed to the trust at face value and without checking with anyone; this amount was approximately £50,000 higher than the actual amount.

I am a Chartered Accountant and have tracked every single pound of every transaction, for which I was assisted by the trust and subsidiary. It was accepted by Thomas Meier, as he knew me to be a man of honour and extremely experienced but not long after he left, this new erroneous amount came to the fore.

Indeed, not long ago, I was told, not asked by the chairman of Paicolex that the (erroneous) loan would be repaid and that it would be repaid over 12 years by setting off, at source, instalments of the loan against my gross income.

This set off at source is not only illegal and contrary to HMRC statute but is against the provisions of the loan agreement that had no repayment date.

Indeed, it was the tax advisor to the trustees, Ron Downhill of Berwin Leighton, who signed off this transaction. I enquired in 2015, if such a transaction could be done, but he rightfully reminded me that there could be no set offs at source, as I would be assessed, by HMRC, on the gross amounts anyway; his copy email of 26th October 2015 refers. Indeed, I was offered an income tax “insurance policy”, in case I got caught and assessed by HMRC.

Due to my father’s unprecedented control over my life and Berwin Leighton’s and Paicolex’s refusal to remove my father from his role as UK representative to the trust, my future is in the “lap of the gods” . They know that he is now a very sick man but have done absolutely nothing.

Although day to day investment decisions are made by Cazenove and Shroeders, he holds regular investment meetings with the banks, which are normally attended by representatives of Paicolex. If that is not a clear example of how my father behaves with regards to the trust, I do not know what is.

Even if he is removed, he will be replaced by someone with loyalty to my father, such as his financial advisor, John Marriott, who will act as a conduit to my father.

VERY LITTLE TO DO WITH THE TRUST IS DONE AT ARMS LENGTH.

Indeed, although he is not supposed to be a settlor of the trust but was described by Ron Downhill of Berwin Leighton as the “moral settlor”, he has even filed a letter of wishes with respect to the trust, a letter, I might add, that the letter of wishes was drafted and filed by Berwin Leighton, as was the original trust instrument that “created” the tax evasion vehicle in the first place.

That will do for now. The formal letter has to be clear and succinct. It will take me a few days to sort it and then it will go. I will be demanding the striking off of the following for bringing the legal profession into disrepute:

  • Lisa Mayhew, managing partner of Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • Ron Downhill, consultant tax advisor to the Hender Family Settlement, operating through Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • Clare Edwards – Trust officer of Paicolex Trust Management AG

Sadly, I cannot touch anyone else at Paicolex because they are hidden behind the veil of Swiss law that promotes the ability for anyone who is wealthy to evade tax. The fact that they have engaged with banks around the world to be far more transparent, that is a mere smoke screen. Like everything sadly, it is all down to money these days

I am sure that Leon Stoffberg is winging his way from South Africa as I speak to try and knock some sense into my father

I expect all parties to make all the promises in the world but they will all renage on them. Even my own blood father who made a verbal contract to buy Rosanna a new home renaged on that. If he is prepared to do that, I cannot trust anyone

 

 

 

 

 

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