Asian produce companies appear in Panama Papers
An export-focused northern Chinese vegetable producer, a Hong Kong-based produce trader and an Indonesian pineapple exporter have appeared in the controversial Panama Papers, the largest ever leak of financial and attorney-client information.
The information came from insiders at offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca, and was published in full recently by the The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Access to the full database can be found here.
In releasing the information, the ICIJ has emphasized there is nothing illegal about having an offshore account - in fact it is a logical choice for many companies - but it has drawn attention to some individuals and entities that have used offshore accounts to evade taxes or engage in Ponzi schemes.
In reporting this we too would like to emphasize that a company's appearance in the Panama Papers has no implication of wrongdoing, but given the attention given to the issue of late it is in the public interest.
At www.freshfruitportal.com, we conducted a search through the ICIJ files and found at least 80 companies in the database have some association with fruits, vegetables and produce. However, the vast majority of them are listed as defaulted, dissolved or inactive.
One company listed as active through 2015 in the database coming from 'offshore leaks' was Pacific Andes Vegetables Inc., registered in the jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands.
The company is a subsidiary of New Millenium Group Holdings (NMGH), which is owned by Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed Pacific Andes Holdings Limited, a group that is mostly engaged in fishing and the processing of seafood products.
In documents submitted to the exchange, Pacific Andes Holdings describes Pacific Andes Vegetables Inc. as a holding company for Qingdao Pacific Andes Farms Co. Limited, which grows vegetables in the northern Chinese city of Qingdao.
The vegetables are processed by Qingdao New Millennium Food Co. Limited, and the product is exported to Japan and Western Europe by NMGH.
Another Chinese group to appear in the database is Hong Kong-based Wing Kee Produce Ltd, which is linked to the larger Wing Kee Group founded by current chairman Dr. Wayne T. W. Leung.
On its website, Wing Kee says it operates from a self-owned facility in Kowloon Bay, covering 40,000 square feet of office, cold storage, and warehouse space.
"Our Group is active in many parts of the world, and our global reach is as diverse as our product range," the company said.
"Wing Kee imports and exports fresh perishables, dairy products, confectionery, seafood, frozen foods, coffees, and other premium specialties from/to around the world. Of course, our suppliers and customers worldwide span many market segments in the food industry."
Another company with leaked documents was PT Great Giant Pineapple Co., based in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
The group is a subsidiary of Gunung Sewu Kencana, and grows and sells pineapples internationally.