ONE of Scotland’s secretive “tax haven” companies has stolen the identity of a legitimate metals trading firm.

The website of a Dundee-registered Scottish limited partnership (SLP) called Redway Sales has been using the personal details of managers from an entirely different business, The Herald can reveal.

There is no way of asking Redway Sales why it has acted in this way, as the business, like all SLPs, is effectively allowed to operate with secret owners under a century-old loophole in Scots corporate law.

Redway Sales, like most SLPs, has no physical presence in Scotland or contact details.

The SLP has now pulled its website in which it claimed to be an established trading company, using the names and biographies of people working for a respected London business with which it has no connection whatsoever.

The SLP had claimed on its site to have been working since 2012. In fact, it was established only in September 2015, by two partners, Vectorex Inc or Geotrans Inc, both registered on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

Such SLPs, with opaque owners registered in traditional tax havens, are routinely marketed in the former Soviet Union as “Scottish zero tax offshore companies” and have been widely abused by organised crime groups for money laundering and corruption.

The Herald has discovered several SLPs registered in provincial Scotland whose websites appear to be very similar to those of other businesses.

The Redway Sales site, which used a Russian internet domain, lifted pictures and biographies from the site of an English business called Tangent Trading, only changing the name of one of its photographed members of staff.

Tangent’s director Julian Taylor said: “For the record I confirm I have never heard of, nor had any contact whatsoever with, Redway Sales L.P or with either Vectorex Inc or Geotrans Inc.” Mr Taylor added: “The use of our names is disturbing.”

Scottish law enforcement and politicians have become increasingly concerned by the behaviour of SLPs.

Graham Vance, a veteran detective who now works for the police, government and industry-funded Scottish Business Resilience Centre, called on the agencies that set up such businesses to carry out as much due diligence as possible.

He said: “Agents should do as much as they can to make sure everyone and every organisation is legitimate because criminal organisations in the UK and beyond will seek to exploit the SLP process for money laundering and illegitimate trading purposes.”

SNP MP Roger Mullin has renewed his efforts to get the UK Government to review SLPs.

Oxfam Scotland, meanwhile, is campaigning for their reform amid growing concerns SLPs are being openly used as tax avoidance vehicles.

The Sunday Herald yesterday exposed two SLPs that were offering to open Swiss and other offshore bank accounts for their clients.

Oxfam’s Ryan McQuigg said nearly 2000 people had signed a letter from the charity to politicians demanding action.

Mr McQuigg said: “By supporting our campaign, the Scottish public has made sure politicians had no choice but to pay attention to this crucial issue. Current action on this issue in Holyrood and Westminster is the direct result of public action. The problem may not be solved (yet), but it is on the table.”