The tax haven bank owned by billionaire Tory donor Lord Ashcroft is being used without permission as a base to set up dozens of Scottish firms linked to a fraudster.

Amid growing concerns about the reliability of Britain's corporate register, it can be revealed that two Belize companies have been falsely using the address of the HQ of the former Conservative deputy chairman for at least six years.

The secretive Belizean businesses - Sherbrook Assets and Whitmoore Solutions - have formed at least 70 Scottish entities, most of them registered at the Fife home of convicted fraudster Anzelika Young.

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However, their own address is given at UK Companies House, the giant database of all British corporate filings, as that of Belize Bank, the jewel in the crown of Lord Ashcroft's offshore financial empire.

A spokesman for both Lord Ashcroft and Belize Bank has denied any connection with Sherbrook Assets or Whitmoore Solutions. He said Companies House would be "informed of these misrepresentations".

Lord Ashcroft

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Tax and crime experts have long expressed fears about the quality of information logged by Companies House about overseas companies, including those used to set up Scottish limited partnerships, effectively creating "offshore" businesses in the UK.

Such Scottish firms, which can pay no tax, file no accounts and have secret owners, are being marketed as off-the-shelf vehicles for tax avoidance in the former Soviet Union.

Asked about the inaccurate addresses for the two Belize firms, Gary Deans, an accountant who advises Oxfam Scotland on tax evasion policy, said: "This is just more evidence that the system is not working. Overworked officials at Companies House are simply recording data from forms and are unable to check their accuracy."

It is believed there are some 27,000 UK corporate entities with owners or partners from opaque Caribbean jurisdictions where, as in Belize, there is no requirement for corporations to reveal their ultimate owners. This figure includes a current tally of around 18,000 Scottish limited partnerships, according to analysis of Companies House data.

Insiders stress that it is extremely difficult for Companies House staff to check the bona fides of the tax haven "parents" of such businesses, up to and including their addresses are accurate.

Belize does not have an open and free-to-access register of companies. Belize corporations have no requirement to reveal their directors. The Herald was unable to contact Sherbrook Assets or Whitmoore Solutions for comment because they have not provided an accurate address.

A Herald investigation has identified 72 Scottish limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and one Scottish limited partnership (SLP) which were set up by Sherbrook Assets and Whitmoore Solutions with both companies using the same address, Belize Bank Limited, 60 Market Square, Belize City.

Some 52 of the LLPs are registered at a former council flat in Rosyth, 84 Park Road, where Latvian-born Anzelika Young lives. Ms Young - whose maiden name is Trifonova - was sentenced to 250 hours community service for mortgage fraud in February 2012 at Kirkcaldy Sherriff Court.

The house in Rosyth 


Sherbrook Assets and Whitmoore Solutions have also acted as the partners in a number of English LLPs. Mrs Young has signed the accounts of an LLP registered at her home on behalf of both Belizean companies, according to Companies House filings. She did not return calls from The Herald for comment.

Companies with similar names - Sherbrooke Assets or Whitmore Solutions - and using the Belize Bank address have also created other Scottish and English partnerships. There is no way of verifying if they are connected.

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A spokesman for Lord Ashcroft identified the creator of Sherbrook Assets and Whitmoore Solutions as an agency which he said had no connection with Belize Bank.

He added: "The multiple filings at Companies House under Sherbrook Assets suggesting correspondence addresses at the Belize Bank are completely incorrect. Companies House will be informed of these misrepresentations."

SNP MP Roger Mullin has been trying to convince the UK Government to review Scottish limited partnerships. He said: "I am awaiting a response from the speaker of the House of Commons to a request for a debate on partnerships. "These new revelations add to the importance and urgency of dealing with this matter."