Paradise Papers Reveal Details of Retired General Wesley Clark’s Time with Amaya
Posted on: November 9, 2017, 01:00h.
Last updated on: November 9, 2017, 12:18h.
Former Democratic presidential candidate General Wesley Clark is one of the many influential individuals named in the recent Paradise Papers leak, with information about his time as a director for Amaya (now known as the Stars Group) showing up in the database of information examined by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The information revealed in the data does not contain any earth-shattering revelations against Clark, who once served as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO and also oversaw Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War. However, it does shed some more light on his time with what was then Amaya, including some concerns that were brought up about his involvement with the online poker giant.
Clark Seen as ‘Politically Exposed Person’
The Paradise Papers reveal that Amaya’s board of directors retained the services of offshore law firm Appleby on the Isle of Man in 2014. The company wanted to incorporate a new subsidiary known as Amaya Intellectual Holdings Ltd., which would hold the intellectual property of the Amaya Group.
In May 2015, Appleby’s New Business Committee noted that Clark was a director of Amaya, a position he had held since 2010. While Clark did not hold a controlling interest in the firm, the committee still recommended that Amaya supply additional documentation on him, as he was seen as a “politically exposed person” (PEP).
Amaya’s internal counsel complied with the request, and there is no indication that anything troublesome was found as a result of this process. In May 2017, Clark announced that he would be resigning from the board of directors after having served for seven years.
Past Board Memberships Questioned
But while this new information didn’t reveal any skeletons in Clark’s closet, that doesn’t mean his time with Amaya wasn’t without any controversy. A 2015 report from Bloomberg noted Clark’s history of joining boards of many public companies, including a large number of so-called “penny-stock” firms, most of which lost value while he was on them. That was enough for one financial expert to say his appearance on any board of directors was “a huge red flag.”
Ultimately, it wouldn’t be Clark who caused controversy at Amaya, however. In 2016, former Amaya CEO David Baazov and other executives were charged with insider trading by Quebec securities regulators. Baazov is expected to face trial this month, in what has become Canada’s largest-ever investigation into insider trading. Clark has not been accused of any wrongdoing in relation to the case.
The Paradise Papers include approximately 13.4 million documents from two major offshore service providers, Appleby and Asiaciti Trust, as well as from the company registers of 19 tax havens. The documents were obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the same publication that acquired the Panama Papers in 2016.
The newspaper then contacted the ICIJ, which has been investigating the documents since their release. A dive into the massive data dump has found references to offshore financial dealings by some of the world’s most influential people and corporations, including Queen Elizabeth II, individuals close to President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and companies such as Facebook, Apple, Nike, and Walmart.
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