The recently-leaked ‘Paradise Papers’ on tax havens seem to have revealed an interesting side to the activities of the billion-dollar US equity giant behind Pegasus Life the developer currently appealing EDDC’s refusal to give it planning permission to build 113 luxury flats for old people at Knowle in Sidmouth.
As the Pegasus Life website proudly proclaims, Oaktree Capital Management founded the company in 2012:
The Paradise Papers suggest that, at about the same time, Oaktree was setting up a joint venture with Australian and Chinese billionaires to fund a 3.2 billion dollar casino in Macau through the offices of legal firm Appleby in the the British Virgin Islands tax haven:
Appleby became alarmed about the refusal of Oaktree and its partners to allow identity checks on its shareholders – the cornerstone of global efforts to stop money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Oaktree and the others allegedly threatened to take their business elsewhere if Appleby insisted on the checks. Appleby didn’t, and the joint venture was duly incorporated in the British Virgin Isles with the shareholders remaining secret! The Casino opened in 2015.
All this is literally thousands of miles from the fond hope expressed by Philip Hammond in this week’s budget speech that local homes should be provided by small local companies with a real stake in their community.
Howard Phillips, current CEO of PegasusLife, was, until 31/08/2012, CEO of McCarthy & Stone. He led the restructuring of McCarthy & Stone’s £900M debt and under his watch the company is alleged to have engaged in the dubious practices exposed by Ch 4 Dispatches that year.
On 24 September 2012 a Channel 4 Dispatches programme on retirement leasehold was a brilliant example of television journalism that was extremely damaging to both McCarthy and Stone, and to Peverel, including their effect on this site: