Over 130 companies have an Israeli connection in the global list of more than 100,000 offshore companies that are used as tax shelters around the world.
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The list, published Friday by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, includes names of shareholders, managers and directors. The companies with an Israeli connection have either Israeli board members, shareholders or an Israeli address.
While offshore firms are often used legally to avoid taxes in a company's or person's home country, such firms sometimes play a role in unreported financial activity. In Israel, it's legal to own offshore companies and bank accounts as long as the activity is reported to the Israel Tax Authority.
On the global list, several offshore companies are owned by Arcadi Gaydamak, who appears under his Hebrew name, Aryeh Bar-Lev. In 2009, one such company sold land in Moscow for $30 million to the Israeli construction firm Osif shortly after Gaydamak acquired a controlling stake.
The list also includes companies owned by an arms dealer, Brig. Gen. (res.) Shlomo Elia, as well as by businessmen Yakir Sha’ashua and Eli Antebi.
Also on the list is Shmuel Donnerstein, owner of the Rav Bariach security-door firm, and his partner Yoram Yossifoff. According to the British newspaper The Guardian last November, Yossifoff is an "expert in what he calls 'creative tax planning'" in the property business.
Also listed are Yossi Hachmi, who made his fortune in insurance in Israel and moved to London, and his son Tal Hachmi. In 2006, Hachmi founded more than 20 companies in the Virgin Islands and began investing in real estate in London. The list also includes Israelis working as agents for actors and models.