The Panama Papers – the largest document leak in history – reveal how those operating at the highest levels of wealth and power make use of shadowy offshore shell companies and tax havens. The list includes entities connected to the likes of China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and, according to an analysis by The Real Deal, a number of prominent real estate figures who ply their trade in New York. We piched up the Jewish real estate
Witkoff, best known in New York for developing high-end condo projects such as 150 Charles Street and 10 Madison Square West and owning commercial assets such as the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel and the Woolworth Building, appears to have links to an offshore entity in connection with a project it worked on in London, the redevelopment of a landmark office building known as Devonshire House.
Officers of the entity, registered as Devonshire Realty Investment I Limited, include Scott Alper, the firm’s president and chief investment officer, and James Stomber, the general counsel and COO. Witkoff’s partners on the project included Investra Capital, a Dubai-based real estate investment and development advisory firm. Zaid Randeree, a managing director at Investra, is also listed as an officer of the offshore entity. Witkoff sold Devonshire House for close to $600 million in 2013 to Spain’s Amancio Ortega, founder of Inditex, the company that founded fashion brand Zara.
Alper told TRD that the move to register the offshore entity was “standard operating procedure on foreign invesment” and that all U.S. taxes were paid in full.
Ofer Yardeni’s Stonehenge Partners is a major Manhattan landlord with a $3 billion portfolio of over 3, 000 apartments and 3.5 million square feet. Stonehenge appears to have acted as an intermediary for Atzmon Levi, an individual who appears to be in the diamond business, when he set up an offshore entity known as Meshushe Limited back in 2002, according to the Panama Papers. Stonehenge is listed as the so-called “master client” of the entity. The company’s recent real estate deals include the 2015 acquisition of the Bradford, an Upper West Side rental property at 210 West 70th Street. A spokesperson for Stonehenge did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Nakash family
Many members of the Nakash family, best known as founders of the jeans brand Jordache, are identified in the Panama Papers as having entities offshore. The Nakash brothers — Joseph, Ralph and Avi — are all listed as officers of offshore entities, some dating back as far as the late 1990s, the documents show. Other family members, including Danielle Nakash-Levy and Amy Nakash-Zacci are also listed as officers. In recent years, the family firm, Nakash Holdings, bought dozens of hotels, offices, residential and retail properties nationwide, including several in New York. Joe Nakash is also an investor in the New York Wheel, a 630-foot-tall observation wheel being developed on Staten Island. The family also owns the famed Versace mansion in Miami, which it bought for $41.5 million in 2013. A call to the Nakash offices was not immediately returned.