Image copyright Times of London Image caption The fraudster set up Mount Gibraltar Ltd in 2007
A Canadian businessman who’s tried to distance himself from money laundering has lied about a secret offshore company he set up in 2007, a high court judge has ruled.
Air Force Major-General (retired) Alex Nigel Simpson was granted lifetime anonymity when he set up Mount Gibraltar Ltd in the Cayman Islands.
He claims to have lost money in the mining sector but newspapers claim his company made millions.
In 2008 the Financial Services Authority (FSA) warned him about the company’s existence, and got a copy of his “nominee certificate”.
He changed its name to Mount Gibraltar Wealth Management and subsequently, through a “scheme of shifting companies, a fresh nominee was put in place”.
For two years, the libel case was fought in the high court, with Major-General Simpson claiming he was used by others to “prove financial connections or connections to the money laundering”.
The man who persuaded him to set up the firm claimed to be unaware of what Major-General Simpson’s company was doing.
Mount Gibraltar later moved its head office to Gibraltar and was used by Major-General Simpson to channel millions of pounds out of Switzerland to Dubai.
But his efforts to convince the court he would not have wanted it to lose his anonymity failed, and he was named in court papers.
In 2016, despite being “besieged by negative publicity” Major-General Simpson went to London to testify in the libel action at the High Court.
However, the following day, after being told to appear in person he refused.
He was subsequently named as the owner of Mount Gibraltar Limited in a writ served on the Royal Mint in the US.
His claims about his financial background were denied by former Colombian finance minister and Canadian dual-national David Tejada.
In his evidence, Mr Tejada said: “How can Major-General Simpson live as if he had not committed the same crimes and has had a clean record?”
Major-General Simpson said he never obtained the beneficial ownership details, or offshore trust details, for the entities he invested in.
He said he only withdrew these funds to meet his banking obligations.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Supperstone acknowledged that Major-General Simpson was called as a witness.
“However, it is also my judgment that an exceptionally large part of Major-General Simpson’s evidence requires further scrutiny, in particular given that [his] evidence was to be relied upon at a time when the entire issue of offshore companies and secret beneficial ownership of offshore companies is at the centre of public debate,” the judge said.