November 30, 2021

from Morocco to the Persian Gulf, DSK’s good fortune in advising governments

By Anne Michel, Maxime Vaudano and Jérémie Baruch

Posted today at 6:00 p.m., updated at 6:15 p.m.

The desert as far as the eye can see, red sand dunes streaked by the winds where Bedouins and their camels walk, from which suddenly emerge, 20 kilometers from the capital, a few scattered constructions around a glass building. The surprise effect is strong, but the address on the registration certificate is beyond doubt: it is there, in this no man’s land incongruous in the territory of Ras Al-Khaïma, one of the seven United Arab Emirates, the wildest, landlocked between the Persian Gulf and the Jebel Jais, that is registered Parnasse Global Limited, the new company of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. A “International trading company” that the former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discreetly resided here on April 3, 2018, as revealed by the “Pandora Papers”. He is the sole shareholder and director.

What the devil did the man who rebuilt his life in Morocco come to do here, after the succession of scandals that hit the headlines of the 2010s? However, it is from his riad in Tassoultante, south of Marrakech, where he created his first company, Parnasse International in 2013, that DSK provides its political and economic advice to governments that call on its services.

What are the “Pandora Papers”?

“Pandora Papers” is a collaborative investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in partnership with 150 international media, including The world. It is based on the leak of nearly 12 million confidential documents, transmitted by an anonymous source to the ICIJ, from the archives of fourteen firms specializing in the creation of offshore companies in tax havens (British Virgin Islands, Dubai, Singapore, Panama, Seychelles…).

Five years after the “Panama Papers”, the survey reveals the extent of the abuses of the offshore industry and its limited companies. She shows how this system benefits hundreds of policymakers, and how new tax havens are taking over as old ones convert to transparency.

To read : “Pandora Papers”: a world dive into the secrets of offshore finance

Dominique Strauss-Kahn refused to answer questions from World and its partners. His entourage, however, makes it known that the choice of Ras Al-Khaïma responds not to “fiscal motivations”, but to the desire of a major client in the region to domiciliate his contracts there. However, this micro-emirate, deprived of its own hydrocarbon resources, conceals other advantages: an airtight business secret and zero taxation, which has nothing to envy to its flashy neighbor Dubai, a tax and regulatory haven. whose reputation is well established.

The RAK International Corporate Center, where more than 30,000 offshore companies are registered, in Ras Al-Khaïma (United Arab Emirates).

Confidential and virtual

Here, there is no need for an office or even a letterbox for foreigners who have their business there. Offshore is king and business is sovereign, under the protection of the royal family Al-Qasimi: a front company opens in a few hours, without minimum capital, without the need to publish the accounts, and, therefore, without paying any tax. Everything remains confidential. And virtual, as confirmed by a switchboard operator, on the eighth floor of the building planted in the middle of the desert, which actually houses the RAK International Corporate Center, a strong register of 30,000 tax-exempt companies: “Here you will not have any information, we are not a public register”, she answers by phone. The legal department only concedes that Parnasse Global Limited is “Inactive since April 2, 2021”.

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